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COOL CLASSES: “Speculative Filmmaking”

In this visual studies course students learn the craft of digital video production and post-production through the creation of short video projects focused on the genres of speculation, especially about the future of humans and human societies, as a creative framework.

Course title: “Speculative Filmmaking”

Taught by: Visiting Assistant Professor of Visual Studies M. Asli Dukan

Says Dukan:

Our class is “Speculative Filmmaking,” essentially a video production class geared towards creating short, speculative films. I hope the students not only get a good foundation in creating videos from pre-production, to production, to post-production, but also have an opportunity to use the framework of the speculative to create personal and visionary stories. 

During the first session of our “Speculative Filmmaking” class, I described it as somewhat of an experiment. While I have been teaching film and video production classes for years, I never did one where the class focused on making only speculative films. For some people this could be any of the genres that tend to fall under the “speculative umbrella”—scifi, fantasy, horror, dystopian, near-future, even Afrofuturism—but what I really hoped for was that not only would the students re-examine and re-envision the genres, but also subvert them. 

From some of my past film work, I have researched, for instance, the genre of science fiction and have realized that at its founding core, it is an imaginary genre that is in service to capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism. I argue this primarily because it is a literary formation whose development coincided with the development of those dominant, extractive, and exploitative world systems. Taking a survey of almost any period (pulp, golden age, cyberpunk) or form (literary or cinema) would provide ample evidence towards this argument. So, I wanted the students to not just place themselves into these genres to tell their own stories, but to confront, subvert, and, in a sense, abolish the genres themselves as they tell their own speculative and visionary stories.  

Screenshots from student work in the class:

Learn about other courses offered by the Visual Studies Program.

Cool Classes

A series highlighting interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford College experience.