Communication Studies (CMNS) 610

A Study of Canadian Feature Film Policy--By Canadians, about Canadians, for Canadians (Revision 2)

Permanently closed, effective December 12, 2014.

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Delivery Mode: Grouped study.

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Completion of MAIS 601 and/or MAIS 602 preferred or permission from the instructor. Students must have well-developed graduate level research and writing skills.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Integrated Studies

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**Note:Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


Note: For this course, students are required to have a microphone for their computers, so that they may participate in online audio conferences via Elluminate.

Movies both create and powerfully reflect national identities. Films from the United States, Britain, France, India, and Australia showcase their country's cultures and values and, as important by-products, invite tourism and stimulate trade. Many nations, through combinations of funding and regulation, go to considerable lengths to support and protect their film industries.

Communication Studies 610: A Study of Canadian Feature Film Policy-By Canadians, About Canadians, for Canadians is created to advance the task of bringing academic rigor to the study of domestic films in terms of their role in defining national identity in both English and French Canada. In a larger sense, it is also a study of how the invention of the Hollywood movie, one of the world's most powerful brands, has overwhelmed the development of viable, sustainable film production in most other countries. The course is designed to stimulate the development of new research and analysis of the Hollywood challenge, both cultural and economic, with which federal and provincial governments in Canada have grappled for generations.

In this course, students will have online access to feature film producers and directors, as well as to journalists, authors, and policy makers who have reported on and helped to create the environment in which Canadian films are produced.

Course Objectives

This course provides you with the opportunity to

  1. learn about the strengths, weaknesses, and potential of the Canadian film industry from people who are involved in that industry.
  2. understand why measures to support a feature-film industry in English Canada have largely, to date, failed.
  3. learn about the dramatic differences between the evolution of the film industry in English and French Canada.
  4. learn how a small number of Hollywood "moguls" invented the movies, and developed a powerful marketing machine that controls the great majority of screen time in most countries in the world.
  5. learn how most countries, through taxes, through legislation, and through quotas have tried to limit the overwhelming presence on their screens of Hollywood movies.
  6. contribute to the research and the discussion about what measures, if any, should be taken to support a Canadian film industry.

Course Outline

Part I The first part of the course focuses primarily on a number of topics that will give you the foundation for the work that you and your fellow students will do in the second half of the course.

Part II The second part of the course will look at the subject of Canadian film through an examination of the films themselves.

Part III The course will conclude with two online discussions.

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Integrated Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Course Activity Weighting
Online Participation 15 %
Assignment 1: Movie Review 15 %
Assignment 2: Short Essay 20 %
Assignment 3: Major Paper 50 %
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for Communication Studies 610: A Study of Canadian Feature Film Policy-By Canadians, About Canadians, for Canadian include the items listed below.


  • Magder, Ted. Canada's Hollywood: The Canadian State and Feature Films. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.
  • Spencer, Michael, and Suzan Ayscough. Hollywood North: Creating the Canadian Motion Picture Industry. Montreal: Cantos International Publishing, 2003.
  • Wood, Chris, and Peter S. Grant. Blockbusters and Trade Wars: Popular Culture in a Globalized World. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2005.


  • Goin' Down the Road. Dir. Donald Shebib. Perf. Doug McGrath, Paul Bradley, and Jayne Eastwood. Chevron Pictures, 1970.
  • Bye Bye Blues. Dir. Anne Wheeler. Perf. Rebecca Jenkins, Luke Reilly, and Michael Ontkean. Festival Films, 1990.
  • Mon oncle Antoine. Dir. Claude Jutra. Perf. Jacques Gagnon, Jean Duceppe, and Olivette Thibault. National Film Board of Canada, Janus Films, 1971.
  • Barney's Version. Dir. Richard J. Lewis. Perf. Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, and Jake Hoffman. Serendipity Point Films, 2010.
  • Incendies. Dir. Denis Villeneuve. Perf. Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, and Maxim Gaudette. micro scope, 2010.

Athabasca University Printed Materials

Reading File: The Reading File contains selected articles from various sources that are required reading for this course.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, June 1, 2009.

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