CCHU9070 Arts and Humanities
Making Movies: Creative Expression on Screen

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Creative Arts (CA)

Course Description

Explore cinema art and creative expression by making, exhibiting, and writing about short films. The first part of the course takes students through the essentials of motion picture medium in a series of exercises to examine framing, lighting, colour, focus, camera positioning, movement, editing and sound design. Observe how space, time, motion, montage, and narrative structure make imagined worlds and capture real-life action in fiction as well as non-fiction films. Students will also attend to transdisciplinary ideas and concepts in other art forms (e.g., photography, painting, literature, architecture, music) in order to effectively communicate meaning on screen. The second part of the course requires students to collaborate to put creative expression into a short film (five to ten minutes). They practice writing project proposals, scripts, storyboards, and festival publicity materials to accompany their productions. They also engage in reflections and peer critiques to consider the social-ethical implications of movies. A student-organized festival will screen completed films at the end of the semester.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate the ability to creatively engage the motion picture medium.
    2. Show mastery of the essentials of film technique and language as well as their relatedness to other art forms.
    3. Communicate effectively in groups to design and plan a film of fictional or non-fictional mode.
    4. Produce a short film and exhibit it in a festival setting that takes into account the needs of the target audience and the community it represents.
    5. Critique films made by others based on an understanding of cinematography, editing, and sound design.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Course will be offered twice
Section 1 – First semester (Wed); Section 2 – Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 10
Tutorials 8
Workshops 14
Reading / Self-study 20
Film viewing 10
Film production 40
Film Festival 4
Assessment: Reflection writing 12
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 20
Total: 138

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Oral presentation and critique 8
Instant movies 37
Short film and production portfolio 35
Film Festival 10
Reflection writing 10

Required Reading

  • Ascher, S., & Pincus, E. (2013). Filmmaker’s handbook: A comprehensive guide for the digital age (4th ed.). [The Look of the Movie, (pp. 65-74), Style and Direction (pp. 332-353), Preparing for Production (pp. 353-365), Lighting (pp. 471-480), Producing the Movie (pp. 718-730)]
  • Corrigan, T., & White, P. (2012). Film experience. [pp.282-293, 300-301]
  • Eldridge, P., & Voss, J. (2001). How to set up a film festival. From https://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-how-to-set-up-a-film-festival-2001.pdf
  • Kolker, R. (1999). Film form and culture. [Chap. 2 (pp.16-59), 5 (pp.144-162)]
  • Mercado, G. (2011). The filmmaker’s eye: Learning (and breaking) the rules of cinematic composition. [pp. 1-141]
  • Murch, W. (2001). In the blink of an eye. [p.17-28, 52-63]
  • Pearlman, K. (2009). Cutting rhythms: Shaping the film edit. [Perceiving Rhythm (pp.7-22), Physical, Emotional, and Event Rhythms (pp. 83-89, 91-152)]

Required Viewing

Selections will be from the following film titles:

  • Buñuel, L. (1929). Un chien andalou.
  • Clark, S. (1958). Bridges go round.
  • Damenz, J. (2016). Infinite.
  • Deren, M. (1943). Meshes of the afternoon.
  • Eisenstein, S. (1925). Battleship Potemkin. [“The Odessa Steps” sequence]
  • Eisenstein, S. (1928). October. [The “Bridge closing” sequence ]
  • Georges Méliès’ short films
  • He, Z. –T. (2010). Fancy high heels.
  • Hou, H. -H. (2007). Flight of the red balloon.
  • Jia, Z. (2006). Still life.
  • Lamorisse, A. (1956). The red balloon.
  • Law, C. (2010). Red earth.
  • Léger, F. (1924). Ballet mécanique.
  • Lumière Brothers’ short films
  • Marker, C. (1962). La jetée.
  • Pennebaker, D. A. (1953). Daybreak express. From https://phfilms.com/films/daybreak-express/
  • Reggio, G. (1983). Koyaanisqatsi.
  • Vertov, D. (1929). Man with a movie camera.
  • Wong, K. -W. (2013). The grandmaster

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr E.C.M. Yau
School of Humanities (Comparative Literature), Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 5110
Email: yaue@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr E.C.M. Yau
School of Humanities (Comparative Literature), Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 5110
Email: yaue@hku.hk