Dr. Maria Pramaggiore: Fueling Passion for Film

Film is a complex art form and a cultural institution whose influence spans the 20th century and transcends it. The opening line from a highly acclaimed textbook–co-authored by the Department of English’s Maria Pramaggiore–describes the foundation of the Film Studies program, an increasingly popular area of study among CHASS students here at NC State.

Dr. Pramaggiore (known affectionately in the classroom as Dr. P), Professor and Director of Film Studies, has combined her enthusiasm for cinema and education to develop the program that routinely receives praise from both students and faculty alike. She established film concentrations for the undergraduate and graduate levels, and has designed and taught more than 20 courses. Of her job, Dr. Pramaggiore says there is nothing she’d rather be doing than “helping students fuel their passion for film–and, by extension, for art and life–to develop and defend their own ideas, and to tap into their greatest intellectual and creative strengths in the process.”

In an effort to provide students opportunities to use what they’ve learned in the classroom to analyze and appreciate various forms of art, Dr. Pramaggiore has dedicated much of her time to introducing and screening documentaries on campus and throughout the Triangle. One such screening, associated with the annual international Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, was recently hosted at NC State in April. The campus screened the award-winning documentary “To Be Heard,” a story of three teens from the Bronx who find their voice and their calling through poetry. Filmmakers Edwin Martinez and Deborah Shaffer, along with one of the film’s subjects, Pearl Quick, were on hand for a Q&A session.

From Dr. Pramaggiore, students learn lessons in scholarship, research, and community involvement. These lessons are evident in the feedback she receives at the end of each semester. An example: “Dr. P teaches her students how to think about, write about, and critically evaluate art. These are life-long skills that will not be forgotten.”

In addition to her teaching load, Dr. Pramaggiore is currently examining the ‘Irishness’ of Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film Barry Lyndon. She’s also studying the emergence of a new family brand of reality TV in the program “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” and is working on a book about the role amateur filmmakers are playing in the creation of personal and collective histories.

The CHASS community congratulates Dr. Pramaggiore for her recent nomination for the Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence.

by Lindsay Williams, CHASS communication intern

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