The Virtual International Film Series was a Global Languages event series in the summer of 2020, conceived as a community-sustaining initiative in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Combining recorded faculty lectures, asynchronous film screening, and live remote community discussion, the series models durable flipped-classroom practices for film and cultural studies. Faculty members from multiple departments in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences were invited to recommend streaming-accessible films for inclusion, and these recommenders were interviewed about their selections. These interviews were edited into mini-lecture introductions for each of the eight films. Weekly remote discussions, hosted by the recommender, were open to the MIT community.
Participant faculty members chose films from one of two streaming platforms, to which all MIT community members had access: Kanopy and Alexander Street. Each spoke with Professor Emma J. Teng, Director of Global Languages, via Zoom about their selection. These recorded interviews were edited by Joseph Borkowski, Systems Administrator & Instructional Technologist, for clarity and length. These were posted on the Global Languages website and advertised via email to Global Languages and SHASS stakeholders, at least six days prior to the Friday evening discussion session. These hour-long sessions gave community members opportunity to discuss the films and the interviews in a regular, informal social setting.
Because it uses existing institutional streaming licenses and community-generated instructional content, the Virtual International Film Series is easily repeatable in a variety of contexts, whether for the original community-building purpose or in an instructional context. The individual film introduction interviews are also preserved for use as flipped-lecture resources in individual classes. Further iterations of the film series would generate more interviews and could grow a library of film- and cultural-studies content.
The 2020 film series follows, with the dates of the original discussion sessions. Please note that streaming links, available to MIT students and staff through licensed streaming platforms, may no longer function due to changes in licenses over time.