Christopher Jacobs

Merrifield Hall 110 (mailbox) and Sayre-Robertson Hall 302 (office)

Office hours held in Merrifield 122-C
Wed & Thur 1:00 pm


University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202

(Click links to each syllabus
or just scroll down below for basic Intro to Film syllabus)



SPRING 2013:

English 225

Three Sections – 2 pm Tuesdays (large-group meeting)
plus: 2pm or 3pm Wednesday or 2pm Thursday afternoons (small groups)


 English 235
Film-style Video Production

Wednesdays 5:00-7:30 pm Spring 2013 semester




A workshop every summer from 2006-2011
usually two weeks in June, afternoons for teens, evenings for adults


English 235
The Art of Movie Making: Film-style Video Production
Tuesdays 3:30-6:00 pm Fall 2011 semester


English 299
Special Topics: Film-Style Video Production
Tue-Wed 5-7 pm Spring 2010 semesters
Special Topics: Creative Movie Production
Tue-Wed 7-9 pm Fall 2006, 5-7 pm Fall 2007, and 5:30-7:30 pm Fall 2008 and Fall 2009 semesters
Special Topics: Advanced Movie Production
Tue-Wed 5-7 pm Spring 2008 semester

English 305
Creative Writing (SCREENWRITING)
Mon-Wed-Fri 10-11 am – Spring 2005 semester

Feature-length digital movies completed:
          -- Click title for a full individual website on each movie, with posters, photos, trailers, and production information –
Ask at local video stores in Grand Forks, Fargo, and Mayville to rent DVD copies, or check the GF Public Library.

        The Threat of the Mummy (2002) 106 min.
supernatural fantasy and sociopolitical satire, shot summer 2001
        Vengeance of the Sorceress (2002) 92 min.
tongue-in-cheek supernatural suspense action thriller, shot summer 2002
        Dark Highways (2003) 98 min.
North Dakota neo-noir suspense mystery thriller, shot summer 2003
                   NOMINEE: “BEST SCREENPLAY” – 2004 SMMASH Film Festival, Minneapolis
                   OFFICIAL SELECTION – New York International Independent Film & Video Festival,
                             New York City, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas; Rural Route Film Festival, Brooklyn NY

        Miss Mystic (2004) 95 min.
body-switching suspense thriller, shot spring 2004
                   WINNER: “BEST FEATURE” – 2004 Forx Film Fest, Grand Forks ND
                   HONORABLE MENTION – 2005 Sub Rosa Studios B-Movie Fest, Syracuse NY
                   OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2006 “It Came From Lake Michigan” horror/sci-fi/fantasy film festival, Racine WI
Music to My Ears (2006) 119 min.
          backstage musical comedy-drama, shot mainly summer-fall 2005 and January 2006
                   THIRD PLACE: “FAMILY FEATURES” – 2006 Indie Gathering, Cleveland OH
Dangers from Within (2007) 81 min.
          gothic suspense thriller, shot summer 2007
                   HONORABLE MENTION – 2008 Indie Gathering, Cleveland OH
                   2-WEEK THEATRICAL RUN – Feb-Mar 2008, River Cinema, East Grand Forks MN

Promotional video(
Quicktime files)
30-second spot2.7 MB
60-second spot5.7 MB
Written & produced by Larry Woiwode
Directed, photographed, and edited by Christopher P. Jacobs

Published articles and essays
(revised and updated versions):

A Night At The Movies (originally published in the High Plains Reader)
Writing About Film
(originally published in Northern Journalist)
The Development of the Cinema
(originally published in Guide to the Silent Years of Cinema)
D.W. Griffith—Some background on the controversial film pioneer (originally published in the High Plains Reader)
History of the Empire Theatre in Grand Forks (originally published a souvenir pamphlet)
(with lots of pictures, and now including a gallery of movie advertising materials for films that played during the theatre's first year, as well as Quicktime movie clips from the first film ever to play at the historic Empire, The Witness for the Defense (Paramount-Artcraft, 1919), directed by George Fitzmaurice, starring Elsie Ferguson and Warner Oland!)

Current Movie Reviews from the High Plains READER
Selected Past Movie Reviews from the High Plains READER

BluRay and Home Theatre basics from the High Plains READER

-- Older Movies on BluRay (pre-1980) including a list --


Excerpt from unpublished historical adventure-romance novel, The Treasure of Isis

Making your own movies

Basics of Screenwriting

Basics of "no-budget" moviemaking

RIGHT CLICK HERE and select “Save As” to download a free custom-made screenplay template for MS-Word 2000 or later that automatically formats font, indents, line spacing, and margins as you type, and numbers scenes automatically with every new slugline. Scene numbers may be removed manually, if desired, with MS-Word numbering tools. Sluglines, character names, and transitions are automatically all CAPS.
(Macros must be enabled for keyboard shortcuts to work. If they won’t work, simply select a different style format from style menu.)

Independent moviemaking in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota

Independent movies made on digital video inGrand Forks and Fargo and surrounding area
(including trailers in RealPlayer or Quicktime format and links to separate movie home pages for selected titles!)

UND Student Movie Productions made for classes and workshops




Intro class basic syllabus: (Click on Class for Online Syllabus Website)

English 225

ALLFOUR SECTIONS: Tuesdays 2-4 pm -- film screenings Merrifield-300, plus either
Wednesdays or Thursdays 2-3 or 3-4 pm -- lecture-discussion Merrifield-116

REQUIRED TEXT for 2011-12:
Richard Barsam and Dave Monahan, Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film
Third Edition with free DVDs and "Writing About Film" booklet
ISBN # 978-0-393-93279-9
(NOTE: Spring 2007was the last semester that the 7thEdition of Bordwell & Thompson's Film Art was used for this course
and Spring 2010 was the last semester that the 2ndEdition of Barsam's Looking at Movies was used.)

Syd Field, The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver ISBN # 440504910
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves ISBN # 1592400876

This class will introduce you to the basics of film production, narrative, style, editing, performance, sound, etc. It will also expose you to a variety of films produced in the U. S. and other countries from the very beginnings of the medium in the 1890s, through the so-called "silent era"of the 1910s-20s and the "golden age" of Hollywood in the 1930s-50s, up to the present. Students interested only in the latest Hollywood hits are in the wrong class. We will be viewing films to see how they function as commercial/entertainment/artistic artifacts, as well as how we might place them within certain historical/cultural perspectives, and why these ways of seeing film might be more or less important to us as viewers. You will by the end of this class become adept at viewing films with an eye toward how they affect you as a person. True film enthusiasts will want to keep the textbook and printouts of web materials for future reference and as a guide for key films to search out for viewing on your own. DVDs and Blu-rays with audio commentaries and other bonus materials are especially helpful for independent study. (You don't have to take a formal, accredited class to give yourself an education!)

No final exam, but three unit tests and a semester project (two 5-pageanalytical papers, or one 10-page research paper, or a screenplay and afinished short movie submitted on DVD, VHS, miniDV, or Digital 8 videotape).


Term Paper Assignment Options (paper details for Intro to Film)

Intro to Film Assignment Schedule (dates for film titles, readings, papers, and tests)

Film Casts, Credits, and StudyQuestions (selected films often used in Intro classes and/or for independent study)

Guidelines for Writing Papers (general guidelines for film classes)

Study Guide/Lecture Notes (slightly expanded version of class overhead transparencies)




Some links for further research, reference, and background information:
(Note that websites can change frequently and some links might be out of date—inform your instructor of any 404’s)
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Internet Movie Database

All-Movie Guide Database

American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films

Information on Film Formats and Technology

Information on Color, Sound, and Widescreen Film Processes

Information on Film Sound

The Vitaphone Project

NitrateVille” Classic Film Discussion Forum

The Writers Guild of America

Filmmaker Magazine

“Observations on Film Art” - David Bordwell’s Blog

“Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts” - John Gaspard’s Blog

Psychological representation in cinema (1926 Photoplay article)


More links on film, plus ancient history and other subjects can be found on my BIO PAGE

Useful “Usenet” Newsgroups for additional information and for asking questions of experts:
(use your newsreader or go on the web to GoogleSearch, formerly http://www.dejanews.com and select “groups”)

alt.movies.silent (also includes discussions of early sound films and filmmakers whose career spanned both silent and sound films)

This Page Last Updated January 5, 2013

Page originally created with Netscape 3.0 Gold and updated "the hard way" by typing text and hypertext markup with MS-Notepad until using MS-Word 2010 starting in 2012.

Direct Any Questions or Comments (and report incorrect or inactive links) to: christopher.jacobs@und.edu