Film & Media Studies Theory

Whitman College – FMS 387

Maria Ptucha

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I was born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA. There I was lucky enough to have three formative experiences that have led me down the rabbit hole that is the Film and Media Studies Major. As far back as I can remember, my family has had Friday movie nights. Our weekly ritual spanned my obsessive re-watching of The Wizard of Oz when I was 4 as well as drifting into indie fodder in my tweens and teens (The Science of Sleep comes to mind). Part of our ritual has nearly always included a trip to Rincon Video. The owners watched me grow out of my Mary Kate and Ashley phase to where I am today. They give suggestions that are tailored to my interests and to their decades of experience. My pre-Whitman film education would have been dramatically different without The Rialto, an independent and art house movie theater in my city. Because it existed, I was able to see movies that would have been completely off of my radar otherwise. When I was young, my dad dragged me there to see Winged Migration in exchange for him taking me to see Legally Blonde 2. Since those early years, though, I love coming home to the theater and having access to limited release movies.

During my sophomore year at Whitman, I took Intro to Film Studies on a lark, but I quickly realized that I had been studying film for years. I decided to follow the “major in what you do to procrastinate” route and am happy to be on this path. Taking Post-Katrina Media last spring solidified that decision for me, and I am currently enrolled in Intro to Filmmaking and Visual Rhetoric.

But back to film and television, this summer I stayed in Walla Walla and binge watched Broadchurch, Orphan Black, The Killing and Whitechapel while re-watching Veronica Mars. I attempted to broaden my palate by finally getting around to Casablanca and the first season of The Wire. The few times I flew the coop for home and Seattle I was able to see Fruitvale Station, The East, and The Kings of Summer.

As for my aesthetic preferences, my obsession with The Wizard of Oz has led to my fascination with color in movies and television–note the surreal colors of Pushing Daisies. While I have moved into aesthetically darker shows and movies, I still find myself dazzled by the saccharine sweetness of bright colors on screens both big and small.


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