Hoose one film to analyze in depth as an example of American Independent Cinema.

Authoritative grasp of the concepts,
methodology and content appropriate to the subject discipline; indications of originality in application of ideas, in synthesis of material or in performance; personal insights reflecting depth and confidence of understanding of issues to hand.

A key requirement in both assessments is analysis rather than description. Do not just describe a film but analyse it, seek to explain it. Lack of analysis is one of the most common shortcomings in assessed work. Analysis means not just describing how a sequence is shot, for example, or how a narrative is structured or how an issue is handled. It means going beyond that to suggest what the significance is of that way of shooting/structuring a narrative/handling an issue: what kinds of meanings are constructed as a result, how the material being considered can be explained (how it is similar to or different from other forms, why it might be done that way, what kinds of contexts might explain it, etc.).

Correct referencing is crucial if you are to avoid accusations of plagiarism. But it is also a requirement in its own right for all written work. You will lose marks if you do not reference properly, so make sure you understand how to do it. It is a basic requirement that you understand the fundamentals of academic referencing procedure.

You need to reference in each of two ways:

” references to texts that you use as you go along during an essay


” a bibliography that needs to appear at the end, listing full details all of the sources used.

References made as you go along apply to everything, including the right way of citing films, TV programmes or other media. You can include films, TV shows, etc, in your bibliography at the end if you wish (or in a separate filmography), but this is not essential as the key details will be provided in the text. A bibliography for written work cited is essential in all cases.
Also, look at how references appear in the books and academic journal articles you read.

Referencing films, TV programmes, etc.

Titles of films or TV programmes should be given in italics (or underlined); titles of individual episodes of TV shows should be given in quotation marks and not italics. On first mention of a film or TV programme, you must give a date in brackets (or dates for longer running TV shows, for example, 2000-2004). If you wish, or if it is appropriate, you might also give the name of a film s director, studio or nationality (or the equivalent for a TV show), but these are optional.

Referencing books, chapters from edited collections, journal articles, etc.

Referencing sources as you go along in a piece of written coursework:

Whenever you are drawing on an argument or background information from a source, that source must be referenced. It is not sufficient just to put sources in a bibliography at the end. You must indicate in some specific detail where you are drawing on which sources. Not to do this can be to risk accusations of plagiarism, or at the least to be marked down for poor referencing. This is the case regardless of whether you are directly quoting or putting a source words into your own terms. There are two basic ways of doing this  you can do either, as long as you are consistent, but do not mix the two together or do both.

The two options are:

1. Endnotes (which appear at the end of the essay) or Footnotes (which appear at the end of each page).


1. References in brackets in the main part of the essay text.

In either case, you need to provide information that allows the reader to know who the author is, what the text by the author is, and what page or pages of the work you are referencing. You do not need to give every last bit of information about the source in these kinds of references (for example, the publisher), as some of these can be put just in the bibliography at the end. Please note: one very common error occurs in references to essays in collections of essays. You must cite the actual author of the essay you are using, as well as the editors of the collection. Do not just cite the editors of the collection, as they didn t write piece.

Titles of books, like those of films, should be in italics or underlined. Titles of chapters from edited collections or titles of journal articles should be in quotation marks and not in italics.

1. If you use footnotes or endnotes, do it this way. Place the note number at the end of the relevant sentence, after the full stop. In the note, give name, title of piece cited, and page number/numbers  for example. John Smith, Book About Film, 34-5. In this format, you do not need to provide the date or the details of publication, as they will be in the bibliography.

2. If you use references in brackets in the text, do this way. Place the reference in brackets at the end of the relevant sentence. If there is only one text by this author in your bibliography, you can just give the surname of the author and the page number: e.g. (Smith, 34-5). If you use more than one source by the same author, you need to add the date of the work (Smith, 2004, 34-5) to make it clear which of the sources you are using. The full details  the title of the work, publisher, etc, will then be available in the bibliography and not needed in the bracketed reference.

Slightly different information is given in each case, but those are the dominant conventions in widespread use.

If you use long quotations, of more than three lines or so of text, these should be presented off-set into the text: indented from the left. When you do this, you do NOT use quotation marks. An indented quotation of this kind can then be referenced by either of the methods outlined above


You must provide a bibliography at the end. This is an alphabetically ordered list of sources cited. If you want to include films and TV programmes here, do them separately, also alphabetically, in a filmography. If you do not include a bibliography you will lost marks.

A book should be cited this way:

Names of Author (surname first), Title of Book, Publisher s Name: Place of Publication, year of publication

For example:

David Bordwell, Poetics of Cinema, Routledge: New York, 2008-07-21

For the whole of an edited collection:
Chris Berry (ed), Perspectives on Chinese Cinema, BFI: London 1991
If you have only cited one essay in a collection, cite that in its own right only (don t cite the collection as well), eg:
Peter Kramer,  Disney and Family Entertainment , in Linda Ruth Williams and Michael Hammond (eds.), Contemporary American Cinema, London: McGraw-Hill, 2006
A journal article should as follows (sometimes there will be an issue number, sometimes a volume number and issue number  if the latter, give both, as in vol. 34, no. 3):
Mark Gallagher,  Masculinity in Translation: Jackie Chan s Transcultural Star Text , Velvet Light Trap, 39, Spring 1997
When citing internet sources, give the fullest details you can. Never just give a web address or url. If the piece has an author and/or title, give those in the same way as you would for any other text, followed by the name of the website and its web address. The aim is to give the reader as much information as is available to understand the nature of the source (internet sources being so variable in kind). If no author s name is given, cite it as  anon (short for anonymous).

Books to use?

General, in-depth studies of American Independent Cinema at an academic level are in short supply. One of the key readings for this module is Geoff King s book, American Independent Cinema (I.B.Tauris, 2005).

One recent edited collection is also worth obtaining: Contemporary American Independent Film: From the Margins to the Mainstream, edited by Christine Holmlund and Justin Wyatt, Routledge, September 2004.

Two general surveys that are useful for orientation more than for anything in depth are Emanuel Levy, Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Fil