Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Major in Film

The major in film combines the study of film history and analysis with film/video production and scriptwriting, providing a well-rounded understanding of film as a visual and narrative art form and of the process of filmmaking.

Student Experience

There are two key ways to approach film studies here at Wayne State. First, is the "arts" portion, which is focused on film and media production. Second is the "studies" approach, which features learning about media and film criticism and theory. No matter which focus a student prefers, Wayne State provides everyone with a well-rounded view of both producing and consuming media.

View the film curriculum.  View the suggested plan of work for film majors.

The reputation of the film program at Wayne is strengthened by our location in the city (ties to local media, including a studio partnership with Detroit's PBS station, WTVS, and a close working relationship with the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts), our access to camera and audio technologies, as well as our more recent role in the Michigan Creative Film Alliance. Each year, the MCFA (a consortium of Wayne State, Michigan State and University of Michigan film students) makes a film -- from writing the script right through production and marketing. In addition, each year Wayne State brings in a well-known professional to work in small classroom settings over a period of six-weeks during a regular semester as the Bob Allison (Allesee) Endowed Chair in Media Arts.

Career Opportunities

The prospects for finding a job with a film degree appear to be growing as new media is resulting in an increased call for more "video" materials. We're watching more movies in/on a number of different venues now. Students who major in film may be preparing for careers as film teachers, film librarians and archivists, film critics, script writers, or workers in film production.  Additional study at the graduate level usually is required to achieve these goals. There are a number of great grad schools for studying film, but this also depends on which aspect one is most leaning toward. Wayne State offers a Master of Arts, with a major in either media arts or media studies.


Wayne State Faculty in Film


Juanita Anderson is a veteran producer, executive producer and documentary filmmaker. She teaches advanced media arts production courses including COM 5410 Producers’ Workshop and COM 5420/7420 Directors’ Workshop; media studies courses including COM 5060 Documentary and Non Fiction Film and African Cinema (under COM 5020); and production topics courses including Documentary Production and Media and Community Engagement. Anderson also manages the Allesee master classes and the Michigan Creative Film Alliance, and fosters student opportunities for industry and community engagement. Her areas of interest and expertise include independent film/television, media diversity, public television, African American/African world culture and history, urban affairs and the arts. She is also an accomplished still photographer whose work has been exhibited internationally. She is most proud of the awards her students are winning. She has a passion for all of the arts in any combination. She is most likely to be seen at independent film screenings, art gallery openings, and dance concerts.


Kelly Donnellan (MFA, American University) is an assistant professor of media arts and studies. She teaches COM 1600 and COM 5380/7380. She has been working professionally in post-production since 2000. She held numerous post-production positions while working in L.A., including supervising assistant editor/post production supervisor for the DVD special features of The Matrix Reloaded, Animatrix and Enter the Matrix Game and assistant editor on The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie.

As an editor, Donnellan's work includes the Student Academy Award winning short documentary Dying Green. She also edited A Place to Belong: Asperger’s and a School, which aired on Toledo Public Television, and Richard Remsen: Artist, which aired on Maine Public Television. Donnellan produced, directed, edited, and shot the award winning I is Another, which is playing the festival circuit. She aspires to be as good a cook as her Sicilian grandmother.


Karen McDevitt teaches New Media Practices (COM 5280) and New Media Theory (COM 6270), which are the two core courses for the Graduate Certificate in Communication and New Media. She is also an instructor for Media Criticism and Analysis, along with Introduction to Film, both in their online formats.

McDevitt has been teaching about media (old and new) since earning an individual interdisciplinary Ph.D. from Wayne State University (2002), with a specialization in computer-mediated communication and gender studies. She has a distinct interest in media convergence from a critical-cultural studies perspective, and her research focuses on the ways in which new media are reshaping contemporary social practices.

Currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Film Theatre (DFT) at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Dr. McDevitt is also a member of the Board of Visitors for Wayne State University Press. She is a regular attendee at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New Directors Film Festival in New York, but she can be found almost every weekend at either the DFT or the Maple Art Theatre. She lives in the Village of Milford with her husband, John Evans, and their two rescue dachshunds, Anna and Otto. Prior to academia, she established a long history as a graphic artist and founder/owner of five graphic art studio locations in the Detroit metro area. While always admitting to a fervent interest in all things mediated, Karen is an especially avid fan of life online.


Marc Ruiz teaches a number of courses in the media arts and studies major - most notably the capstone course designed to introduce students to organized set structures. He has been director/director of photography (DP) on a number of national television spots for companies such as Quicken Loans and Fathead. He was a DP on a music video featuring Kendrick Lamar and was a producer on a music video featuring Nicki Minaj.