Thank You For a Wonderful Conference! ‘Stars & Screen,’ our Behind the Scenes story...

We would like to express our profound thanks to everyone who came out and worked so hard to make our ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference really terrific. Much gratitude for your wonderful presentations, films and enthusiastic reception to our symposium. Thank you for making it so special. We really appreciate all your fine efforts. The Stars & Screen conference was a great success! Many thanks for the outstanding responses we received from those attending our conference. Much appreciated. We are gratified that the many scholars, faculty, students, alumni, and parents who attended were delighted with all the wonderful presentations at our Stars & Screen conference.
Thank you to everyone who generously donated their time and support to make the ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference possible. Special thanks, gratitude and much appreciation to the Rowan University College of Communication and Creative Arts and the CCCA Deans office for generously supporting the Stars & Screen Conference with a CCCA STORI Grant to fund and enable this interdisciplinary event. Thank you!  
Rowan University will be hiring two Media Studies professors; please apply at the website.  Here are a few highlights and photos of our event:

The ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference is an Interdisciplinary Symposium dedicated to Film History, Archival Research, Cinema and Media History.

In the ‘Golden Age’ of Classical Hollywood Cinema, MGM was known as the motion picture studio with ‘More Stars Than There Are In Heaven.’ In fact, ‘Stars’ have illuminated cinematic screens for over 100 years, from classic movie stars (Bogart, Bacall, Hepburn, Chaplin) to films about Hollywood’s star factory (A Star Is Born, What Price Hollywood?) to shooting stars (Deep Impact), falling stars (Sunset Boulevard, Raging Bull), and stars in ‘space, the final frontier’ (Star Trek) in a ‘galaxy far, far away’ (Star Wars). Digital video streaming and binge watching of films and media re-imagines and creates new moving image ‘stars’ transforming the cinematic or televisual production, distribution, and viewing reception experience. The 2018 ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference explored this nostalgic re-imagining of cinematic film/media history and production of stars on screen and its cultural resonance today.

Keynote Speakers and Screenings included presentations on film/media history and screen stars from:

Thomas Schatz, Professor and Chair of the Department of Radio-Television-Film at The University of Texas at Austin and author of Hollywood Genres: Formulas, Filmmaking, and the Studio System; The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era; and Boom and Bust: American Cinema in the 1940s. He is working on a study of contemporary Hollywood, a history of Universal, and a revised edition of Hollywood Genres

Charles Maland, Professor of Film Studies, American Cultural Studies and American Literature at The University of Tennessee and author of Chaplin and American Culture: The Evolution of a Star Image; Frank Capra; City Lights; American Visions: The Films of Chaplin, Ford, Capra, and Welles; and editor of the complete works of James Agee.

Matthew Bernstein, Professor and Chair of the Department of Film and Media Studies at Emory University and author of Walter Wanger, Hollywood Independent; Screening a Lynching: The Leo Frank Case on Film and Television; editor of Controlling Hollywood: Censorship and Regulation in the Studio Era and Michael Moore. He is working on Segregated Cinema: Atlanta, 1895-1962 and a history of Columbia Pictures.

Brian Neve, Honorary Reader in Art and Politics of Film at The University of Bath, UK and author of Film and Politics in America: A Social Tradition; Elia Kazan: The Cinema of an American Outsider; and The Many Lives of Cy Endfield: Film Noir, the Blacklist, and Zulu.

Cynthia Baron, Professor of Theatre and Film Studies, American Culture, and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Bowling Green State University and author of Denzel Washington; Modern Acting: The Lost Chapter of American Film and Theatre; and co-author of Reframing Screen Performance and More Than a Method.

Jonathan Olshefski, Filmmaker and Associate Professor of Radio-Television-Film at Rowan University. His recent feature film, award-winning documentary, Quest, premiered in competition at Sundance in 2017 and went on to play in over 70 film festivals across 15 different countries winning the Grand Jury Prize at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Truer than Fiction award at the Independent Spirit Awards, where it was nominated for Best Documentary Film.

Jonathan Mason, Filmmaker and Associate Professor of Radio-Television-Film at Rowan University. His most recent short film, L’echappée is the recipient of the CANAL+ Short Film Prize, and screened at more than 50 festivals and on television in 25 countries, including the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival and Lincoln Center’s African Film Festival New York. He is currently developing the feature screenplay Schule (based on L’echappée) which was a selection of the 2017 Sundance Film Institute Writers’ Intensive.

Speakers also included an interdisciplinary panel in the Rowan Planetarium featuring astronomer Emily Rice from the Museum of Natural History in New York, David Bianculli’s wonderful discussion of the many incarnations of Star Trek, Rowan filmmaker Joseph Bierman, Rowan Planetarium Director Amy Barraclough’s Planetarium show, University of Delaware astronomer John Gizis, Rowan filmmaker Diana Nicolae, University of Delaware astronomer Jamie Holder, Rowan filmmaker Keir Politz, University of Texas/StarDate’s Casey Walker, Rowan filmmaker Maaman Rezaeetazangi, University of Delaware astronomer Stan Owocki and many others, including Rowan College of Communication and Creative Arts Dean Sandy Tweedie, who welcomed scholars to the event at our reception in the Science Hall Atrium.
Thank you for attending and speaking at the ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference! Here are just a few highlights of the many enthusiastic responses we received:
Wonderful Conference! May I take the opportunity to thank you and the faculty and staff at Rowan University who made this amazing conference possible this weekend. My panel and I were thrilled to participate, and I thoroughly enjoyed the keynotes and the panels. It was truly the first conference I have been to where all the research related to my own and I had the opportunity to fraternize easily and meet new colleagues and commiserate with old friends. Thank you again! At the Classical HW SIG meeting in Seattle I would like to encourage additional conferences like this throughout the year to allow for additional opportunities to foster new research in classic Hollywood and American cinema.’

‘I just wanted to say I think the conference was a huge success and a great achievement on your part. The quality of the papers was consistently excellent and everyone I spoke with really enjoyed it. I hope we can do it again in a few years’ time. I had a really fantastic time and I think you did the department and Rowan extremely proud. Thanks so much for putting this all together! It was really wonderful. I saw such a fantastic range of papers at Stars & Screen! Many, many thanks to all the participants and for organizing the event. I hope we get to do it again sometime soon!
It was a wonderful conference. I had such a great experience with so many fantastic people. Congrats on a great event.’ ‘Amazing conference!’
‘This is really, really great! Thanks for the terrific conference you put together. The papers were of a very high caliber indeed and I learned a great deal from them. The intimate size was perfect for catching up with old acquaintances and the chance to talk with new ones. The warmth and consideration you demonstrated really set the tone for the entire event. So thank you again for all your hard work, and your smart and kind approach to the event.’ 

Really enjoyed the wide array of fine presentations today at Stars and Screen conference at Rowan University today. I’ve added so many films to the must-watch & must-watch-again-more-attentively-this-time lists. Thanks for everything!

Nice job! Terrific conference!’ ‘Really wonderful conference! Congratulations!

‘Thanks to you and all your colleagues for the good conference this weekend. I heard a bunch of good papers!’ ‘Every panel I saw was incredible – Wonderful!’  

For years we have wanted to host a small, warm, intimate, high-quality Film and Media History Conference here at Rowan to showcase all the fine work in the field, as well as at our university, to foster greater dialogue and collaboration across different disciplines and institutions. In October of 2017, we requested STORI grant funds to organize an innovative new interdisciplinary research initiative which increases the visibility of Cinema and Media History in our field, as well as Rowan University, the College of Communication and Creative Arts, and the Department of Radio, Television and Film. We have been working in partnership with colleagues at other institutions on an interdisciplinary ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference. We received STORI grant funds to organize an innovative new interdisciplinary research initiative on ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference for film and media historians, scholars and researchers to present scholarly research findings, analysis and scholarly writing, and present research findings growing out of this meeting to advance new interdisciplinary research knowledge across the humanities, sciences, visual arts and social sciences and foster greater understanding among new scholars in interdisciplinary research fields.
 We explored and pursued this innovative new interdisciplinary research initiative on the scholarly study of film/media history in the national, international and regional academic community, aware that there is significant interest in emergent interdisciplinary research exploring and researching the history of cinema, screen media, visual culture and the moving image. Moreover, we recognized the need for a small, intimate interdisciplinary research conference dedicated to conducting and evaluating primary research from major national film/media archives examining the history of film, screen media, convergent visual culture, cinema genres, stars, directors, analyzing how and under what circumstances films and long form screen media were made, historically examining the filmmaking industry and media production process over time, how motion pictures and screen media related to or were influenced by cultural history, society or current events, historical studies of film/screen culture drawn from primary archival-based research, historical studies relating to the history of cinema, the moving image, visual culture, popular screen studies, and current history of film/screen media/visual culture, convergence, and filmmaking. 
We thus worked in partnership with colleagues at other institutions, such as the University of Delaware and Museum of Natural History, to create, organize and launch an innovative new interdisciplinary research initiative to plan, organize, curate, program and publicize the conference, select a venue, seek additional funding, invite scholars, researchers, professors, archivists, writers, curators, and filmmakers to present innovative new interdisciplinary original research for this conference. In less than a year, we developed and organized the scope and focus of the research symposium, conceived and sent out a call for papers for scholars to present research, reviewed submissions and research presentations for the program. Then we developed, organized and finalized the program and made arrangements for the research conference. In late Fall 2017–Spring 2018, we formed an organizing committee, program committee and advisory board for the conference, developed a theme for the event, selected a venue, selected and invited keynote speakers, and established preliminary plans for the symposium. We then announced and disseminated a Call For Papers for the conference, publicized the event, reviewed/selected submissions, launched the website, secured the venues, and began organizing the program and symposium. We would love to have another conference in the future growing out of the ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference, if there is interest in the field and we are able to receive financial support again.
Our ‘Stars & Screen’ Film & Media History Conference was very successful, drawing 100 attendees and presenters from across the country and around the world, and allowing film historians, researchers, media scholars, and aspiring students passionate about cinema and media history to present research at a scholarly research symposium and stimulate, disseminate, encourage, foster and promote research and scholarship while also raising scholarly awareness of research on film/screen media/visual culture history and enabling intellectual exchange promoting scholarship and teaching. Our hope is for this scholarly research symposium to lay the groundwork for innovative new interdisciplinary film/screen media/visual culture history research exchanges in the future, enable research, scholarship, and future conferences/symposiums growing out of this research symposium to advance and foster greater understanding among other scholars and researchers and provide a venue for film/screen media/visual culture historians to conduct, analyze, present, disseminate, promote and publish their research and work in the field. In our innovative new interdisciplinary scholarly research area in the national, international and regional academic community, there is great and significant research in the field related to motion picture and screen media history research, archival study and analysis of research relating to the history of film/screen media/visual culture and the moving image.
The creation of this innovative new interdisciplinary research initiative on film/screen media/visual culture history for a scholarly conference dedicated to conducting and evaluating primary research from major national film/media archives draws on and extends the valuable exposure that will further advance and enhance the profile and visibility of our field of Film and Media History, as well as the scholars, teachers, students and institutions involved, such as Rowan University, the College of Communication and Creative Arts, and the Department of Radio, Television and Film in the field of film/screen media/visual culture history, criticism and cinema/screen media studies as we move into the next phase of our dynamic growth. Thank you!
Wishing you a fine semester. All best wishes!

Organizer and Conference Chair, Stars & Screen Conference
Professor of Film History, Rowan University

More information and the conference program are at the website: