I joined the Cinema Department in 1990, seven years before it became the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Back then, it was without question the top film department in the country, and I am pleased to say that it remains the best place to learn about film in Canada. Our faculty has more than doubled, and we have added three dynamic graduate programs. Moreover, we have integrated digital production techniques into our filmmaking and animation classes; and state-of-the-art digital projection facilities into our screening rooms.
At the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema we live and breathe movies. This is the largest, University-based centre for the study of film animation, film production and film studies in Canada. Each year it accepts some 200 students from across Canada and many other countries into its undergraduate and graduate programs. Students are taught by internationally renowned film artists and scholars, all of whom are extremely active in their fields.
Cinema may have peaked as an art form of the 20th century, but in the 21st century it has become much more than that. As film evolves into new media that we can watch just about anywhere, the study of film history becomes ever more important. The ability to make films, including animated films, and to be able to understand their secrets, are critical tools in contemporary culture. The question “What is Cinema?” continues to be asked, and our mission is not to answer the question, but to continue reinventing cinema and revisiting the cinema that came before.
Students in all undergraduate programs take film studies courses and become familiar with global cinema and its critical role in culture and society. Students in the Film Studies program are able to develop their critical thinking in the context of a wide-ranging curriculum covering history, theory and method. In all our programs, the emphasis in the classroom is placed decisively on helping students enhance their individual talents and ideas. Our award-winning students are extremely active, organizing screenings and publishing their work. Our graduate students travel widely to speak about their research and show their work.
Housed in a downtown Montreal office building, the School is located at the heart of a city obsessed with cinema. Our film studies scholars teach and publish on a wide range of topics of importance to filmmakers and film viewers everywhere, and also of importance well beyond cinema. Our film production and film animation faculty work in a variety of genres, and their films are screened around the world. As the School develops new academic exchanges in China, Cuba, France and Germany, our international reputation is steadily growing. Graduates of our programs can be found throughout Quebec, Canada, and the world making movies, teaching cinema, and deeply involved in the world of film and media.