Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Cinema 120 - Film Aesthetics - Ben Sampson

Course:Film Aesthetics
Professor:Ben Sampson
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Photo of Ben Sampson

Welcome to this fully online section of Cinema 120 -- Film Aesthetics. My name is Ben Sampson and I'll be your professor for the course. I worked in the film and television industry for 5 years before returning to school and getting my MA and PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA. I have been teaching film courses full time at different colleges and universities across the Los Angeles and Southern California region for last five years, including UCLA, CSULA, Moorpark College, and College of the Canyons. Teaching and cinema are the two passions of my life and I love the opportunity to explore movies with students every day. I'm excited for this semester!

Course Description

Cinema is possibly the most significant art form of our time. During this course, you will learn how to look at film by studying its form (formal analysis) and noting how it relates to its content. You will be introduced to the various components of film form narrative, mise-en-scène, cinematography, acting, and montage, in order to understand them individually and how they work together to form a kind of language. Upon completing this course, you will be able to: 1) interpret and evaluate cultural questions, values, assumptions, symbols, and technical advances in selected films; 2) analyze the cinematic elements within a film; 3) evaluate visual storytelling; and 4) appraise how a story is told through cinematic structure. In other words, you will turn from being a passive spectator to an active one, learning to see the motion picture both as a medium of mass communication and as a developing art form.

What to Expect in this Course

This clas sis built around weekly screenings, lectures, and discussions. The Weekly Chapter outlines will be the main weekly work for this course and they will prep you for the forthcoming week's film screening and discussion. There will be a handful of untimed, open-note quizzes (online via Canvas) throughout the semester as well. In addition, there will be Film Adaptation Project due near the end of the semester as well as a Final Exam. 

Textbook Information / Link to ZTC Textbook

Looking at Movies (3rd Edition). Free online copy of the text book:

Other Relevant Course Information

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore) or by clicking on . The phone number is 661-362-3259. Also, the National Suicide Hotline number is 1-800- 273-8255. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can it call when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

College of the Canyons cares about your emotional and physical health. Learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including free counseling and mental health services available during this time by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center website or by calling them at: 661-362-3259.

The National Suicide Lifeline number is 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK). Please call it if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress - it could save someone's life.

You can also use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. It's free, available 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 10/26/2021 Sub#: 456