The Department of Film Studies will welcome music video director Diane Martel as 2022 Harlan J. Strauss Guest Filmmaker. Martel will lead a series of free community events over her 30-year career.
Martel, a New York native, began her creative performance career as a street artist, and she said her experience in dance and choreography influenced her career as a filmmaker the most. His first major projects were dance-focused documentaries funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and broadcast in the early 1990s on the Public Broadcasting Service.
Since then, Martel has directed music videos for Method Man, Gang Starr, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Coldplay, Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus, to name a few.
“I’ve been curious about teaching for a while,” Martel said. “I’m sure I have good ideas to explore with the students, a good story about my own journey and growth.”
Community events kick off with “The Art of Music Video” on May 2. Martel will explain how she established herself in the industry, including how to interact with music labels and work with top performers to turn their music into visual art. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Room 177, Lawrence Hall.
On May 4, Martel will explain the history and evolution of music videos over the years at “From MTV to YouTube.” She will screen and analyze music videos from various genres that have influenced the trajectory of the industry, from MTV videos of the 1980s to YouTube videos of today. The screening and discussion will also take place at 7 p.m., also in room 177, Lawrence Hall.
In the final event of the series, “Treatment Writing,” Martel will lead an interactive workshop and walk participants through the process of creating a “treatment” that outlines the concept, direction, and aesthetics of a creative media project. before it starts. The event is scheduled for May 6 at 2 p.m. in Room 41 of the Knight Library.
Martel said the events aren’t just for those aspiring to make music videos.
“What I want them to think applies to all of the arts,” she said. “I hope they will better understand how artists develop a unique and authentic voice.”
Martel will be Harlan J. Strauss’ seventh guest filmmaker since the series began. Established through a generous endowment from Harlan and Rima Strauss, the program brings veteran and emerging filmmakers to the UO and connects them with budding creators in the community. Harlan Strauss earned a Ph.D. from UO in 1974.
In addition to hosting community events, Martel will mentor Film Studies students as guest lecturers in the CINE 408: The Art of Music Video course this term.
“It’s exciting for me,” Martel said. “I’m working on a specific idea that we need to focus on throughout the week, as well as technical and historical lessons.”
Each year, the journey that accompanies the guest filmmaker is slightly different.
“The emphasis of the course is built around who we will be hosting that year,” said Priscilla Ovalle, head of the film studies department. “This course is essentially a music video production course focusing on Diane Martel’s areas of expertise in movement and performers.”
Upper division students majoring in film studies can apply to take the high-demand course, which offers a unique “professionalization experience” for 20 students, Ovalle said. Selected students must attend public events that complement the course.
“They spend a lot of time with the filmmakers,” she said. “They have class time and they have these events where they learn with their community. But then they also get smaller group mentoring opportunities.
—By Lauren Church, College of Arts and Sciences