Mary Kathryn Ware, a student in the English (BA) – Film Studies program, is passionate about film. She loves talking about it, deciphering movies piece by piece like a puzzle, analyzing what does and doesn’t work and why.
“I’m interested in thinking and learning about films while still wanting to escape into them from the stress of daily life,” she said.
“As a medium of communication, film is so common today that it’s often taken for granted. It’s an art but it’s also a business,” said Ware, who plans to graduate in 2017. The Film Studies program has provided her with analytical tools to both see and experience the different components that go into filmmaking.
She’s learned that knowledge of the history behind the industry builds a greater appreciation for film as art.
“I’ve experienced the history of film making and witnessed its journey through different political and social movements around the world,” she said. “I’ve learned that film is a product of collaboration, taking inspiration from people’s efforts and methods to see what worked. It functions as social commentary when the focus is on current events.”
She’s also learned about story and characters, and how to establish connections between these and the viewer.
“If viewers can’t relate to the characters, then they’re merely observing, not engaged,” Ware said. “It’s who we relate to that we learn from and remember.”
Ware credits the Department of English’s faculty for opening her mind to film as more than just a Hollywood phenomenon. She describes her professors as “the most approachable and knowledgeable Appalachian has to offer.”
When she graduates she hopes to work with an independent film company to learn more about the behind-the-scenes action, and to someday direct her own films.
“I’d love to see my own ideas and stories on the big screen. But for the time being I realize there are no small jobs in the film industry,” she said. “Being able to see how the pieces fit together is the first step to moving up.”