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Introduction to Cinema [IN-PERSON]

Starts July 7

8 sessions: Wednesdays, July 7-August 25, 7-9pm

This course introduces students to the elements that create an extraordinary film and features narrative film lecture and discussion, readings, and viewings of classic films, plus easy DIY exercises to experiment with these concepts on your own video or smartphone camera. You’ll never view movies the same! 

The course will cover:

  • Visual literacy – why images and stories are so important to human beings
  • History of film’s development – the bizarre and compelling way society and technology came together to make it possible for film to be born
  • Mise-en-scène – the elements the director and creative team bring to create the world of the film
  • Editing and its birth in the Russian Revolution
  • Cinematography – the language of magic
  • Genres – what makes a film fit a genre and what happens when the rules get broken
  • Thrillers and the genius of Alfred Hitchcock
  • Film production overview

NOTE: this in-person course will be held at FilmNorth, 550 Vandalia Street, Suite 120, Saint Paul, MN 55114. To ensure COVID-19 safety, no other classes or workshops are scheduled at FilmNorth during these course times. With enrollment limited to 8 students, this course will be held in our large classroom, equipped with a professional grade air purifier and hand sanitizer. FilmNorth will follow the State of Minnesota guidelines for mask wearing in effect at that time.

Tuition: $270 regular | $205 member | $155 low-income

As a child, Barbara Wiener first wanted to be an astronaut but discovered that motion sickness would be a hindrance to successful completion of the training. Instead, she found herself drawn to telling the stories of the world around her. Barbara believes human beings are hardwired as a species to respond to stories and images in emotional ways. That means our modern media has significant influence to shape how we see ourselves and others. She believes sharing visual stories has the power to create the world we want to live in. That’s where making films comes in.

Barbara’s career in film and television and teaching has spanned 31 years. She was a senior and executive producer for 14 years at Twin Cities Public Television and has completed many independent feature documentaries since that time. Her arts and cultural documentary and performance work has received many awards including six Midwest Emmys and a Ciné Golden Eagle for her documentary film, Ida’s Story. Her work been seen in broadcast and screenings around the world, including the Walker Art Center’s Women with Vision, the New York International Film Festival, Chicago Silver Screen Film Festival, Women in the Director’s Chair, Denver Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival, which featured a piece called Curious George Goes to Hell made with storyteller Kevin Kling.

In 2000 Barbara founded TVbyGIRLS, a nonprofit that collaborates with and mentors teen girls using the tools of filmmaking to develop critical thinking, leadership, and social change film work. Films made by collaborations with girls have been seen by audiences around the world and been awarded with four Telly Awards and a nomination for a student Emmy award. TVbyGIRLS is presently working on developing a compassion-building program with films for use by teachers, parents, and youth leadership groups, using new VR technology.

Barbara also teaches college students to think about films and our society at North Hennepin Community College and does work with AJ+, Zinc Video, and Pear Video in Shanghai, China. She is currently working on a short film about a Keiseki restaurant in Minneapolis, a series of portraits of visual artists for Inclusivi-tee, and a film on a family’s journey through their dad’s transgender process.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those wishing to cancel a registration prior to the class registration deadline, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received after the registration deadline but prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.




July 7 @ 7:00 pm
August 25 @ 9:00 pm
Event Categories:


Barbara Wiener
Registration Deadline
Maximum Enrollment
Class count or Info
8 sessions: Wednesdays, July 7-August 25, 7-9pm