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Thesis Prep for MFA in SNHF

This guide is designed to provide students in FILM 591 with access to resources that will guide and inform thesis preparation.

Print Resources

Graduate Writing

The Graduate School offers free tutoring services for graduate writers. The program is designed to help graduate students improve the overall quality of their writing. The tutor can offer help, suggestions, and advice on all writing projects, from dissertations and theses to term papers and resumes.

MLA Formatting & Style Guide

Library Databases- Locate Articles

The MSU Library subscribes to over 150+ databases. Below is a small list of the some of the databases that may be most beneficial in your research. All MSU Library indexes and databases can be accessed online. Students, faculty, staff and others directly associated with MSU are allowed off-campus access to our database collection by logging in. If you have problems with this process, call the Reference Desk at (406) 994-3139.

The following resources have a focus in Film:

Sample MFA Theses in Film Studies

Below is list of sample MFA Theses found in our Dissertations and Theses: Full Text database which are included to serve as exampls of the "art school" thesis approach. The MLA citations and abstracts are included below for your reference. In order to access one or more of the theses, copy the title (found in quotation marks) and paste it into the CatSearch tool at the top of this LibGuide or on our Library homepage.

Alternatively, feel free to explore other MFA Theses in the Dissertations and Theses database by clicking on the following link:  I suggest searching MFA Thesis AND film.

  • Drljaca, Igor. "Foreign Memory (Krivina)." York University (Canada), 2010. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
    • Abstract: This paper is the supporting document for my MFA thesis, the feature film Foreign Memory . The paper explores the genesis of the film (the theoretical framework and the formal influence) and recent cinema from the former Yugoslav Republics, before discussing the various stages of production which accompanied the film's creation. My analysis is broken down into two sections, phase I (Bosnia) and phase 2 (Toronto). The paper will detail the mechanical and structural aspects of this particular project, and offer some insight to anyone embracing a similar process-driven (by process-driven, I mean that the project had no pre-meditated screenplay in the conventional sense, but the story and scenes emerged through the experience of rehearsing, staging and shooting the film) approach in the creation of their first low-budget feature film.
  • Boyd, Elanor. "Instances Instantiate." University of California, San Diego, 2013. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
    • Abstract: Ela Boyd's video installation work explores issues of representation and visual perception in terms of the body, time and space. In her Visual Art MFA thesis exhibition catalog essay, Instances Instantiate, she considers the ways in which instances of multiplicity instantiate the actuality of simultaneous modalities of embodied presence. Outlining her research and practice, Boyd looks to constructions of cinematic production, (character, set, context and linear succession) as an analogy for our experience of perceiving, apprehending and simulating a continuous reality. Whereas the formal aspects of film/video media, such as frames, pixels, editing/remixing and spatial presence substantiate properties inherent to space-time outside of our perception of it. Boyd utilizes Gilles Deleuze's philosophy of film and Henri Bergson's philosophy of time to evince her own ontological theory of multiple selves existing in various modalities simultaneously. Expanding upon this theoretical trajectory to posit multiple selves as proliferating via mediated spaces and "time-traveling" within conscious apprehension and projection. She looks at the metaphysical body, the cinematic/iconic body and the fantasy body (imagined or dream self). Boyd uses the body-in-space to address what is considered to be actual/viable embodiment, new forms of intersubjectivity and to generate a sense of a de-centralized presence. Through film theory and her own artistic practice, Boyd unfolds three temporal scenarios; multiplicity, parallel and potential. Lastly, expanding upon the ontological implications of flattened, extended and multidimensional/conceptual space, Boyd is able to advance her theory of embodied perception.
  • Gruihn, Rebecca. "Birdbath." York University (Canada), 2011. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
    • Abstract: In writing this support document, I hope to investigate the creative process of making my MFA thesis filmBirdbath , a twenty-minute fictional film that explores the dynamics of a lower income family living in rural southern Ontario. This film was made in a social realist style, most directly influenced by the work of Andrea Arnolds and Lynn Ramsay who have both developed and challenged this style of filmmaking through their intimate, loving and respectful exploration of the lives of women and children living in lower income groups. These two filmmakers come from a long history of social realist filmmaking in the UK, which has inspired much of my filmmaking to date. Through the process of making Birdbath , I hoped to discover whether this form of filmmaking can successfully tell a subtle and nuanced story of familial relationships in small-town Ontario.
  • Woykin, Cameron. "Margot's Picture." York University (Canada), 2011. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
    • Abstract: Margot's Picture is a dramatic short film that offers a candid perspective into family ties, intimacy and the fragility that looks out from the masks we sometimes hide behind. I directed the four-day shoot, which was filmed on location in Toronto and Etobicoke in early March 2011. The project marks my first collaboratively written screenplay--co-written with friend, and York MFA-Screenwriting student, Nicolas Drapeau. Through the hyper-naturalist lens of an iPhone4, Margot's Picture unfolds an intimate character study of a woman struggling to negotiate family life when a secret from her adolescent past is unearthed. Sparked by a pulverized vintage camera, the plot unfolds in reverse chronological order, winding back the narrative twenty-four hours--when happiness was found in aversion.

Citation Management Tools

There are several citation management tools available to you. Citation management tools help users:

  • easily import citations from databases, websites, and other information sources
  • manage, categorize and organize citations and references
  • quickly create bibliographies

Take a look at the links below for some available citation management tools: