A gateway to the Cinema & Media Studies major, this course explores a range of cinematic styles and media practices: from historical and contemporary feature films to experimental shorts, documentaries, and Reality TV. For Spring 2021 only, the course has been organized to make the most of an extraordinarily bad situation that is the pandemic and remote learning. To that end, we will be partnering with the Seattle International Film Festival, the Seattle Black Film Festival, the Festival of (In)appropriation, and other film festivals for a series of special events: screenings, discussions, guest speakers – whatever can be arranged virtually. Emphasis will be placed on discussion and analysis of specific examples as much as possible. But all of us will be in unfamiliar territory, "attending" virtual festivals, encountering films from different parts of the world in various languages and forms. By necessity, then, this class takes a collaborative approach to learning based on our different questions, experiences, and perspectives. We won’t all see the same films. (In a way, we never do.) But we'll share what we have seen and read to build a larger picture of the festivals, their films and audiences, and the questions that they raise for us. Fair warning: This is not a “special topics” course on film festivals. Rather, it takes the festival as a key site of convergence for questions of cinema and media studies more broadly. Important note: Attendance at all virtual festivals is required and assignments will be based on festival films, which are not available elsewhere (no exceptions).