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Film Studies: So you want to research a film or filmmaker ...

A user’s guide to Film Studies research databases at American University

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Sean Casey
Media Services/University Library

American University

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Film and television studies at American University

If you’re new to the American University Library’s website and have not used our resources much, this is a guide to the resources that should be considered when getting started with film studies research. Brief descriptions of the results of a sample search in various databases are used to illuminate the breadth and depth of the databases listed.

The filmmaker Atom Egoyan is the example used partly because his name is distinctive and doesn’t yield too many false hits and secondly his work isn’t mainstream or what one might consider popular so search results weren’t expected to be unmanageably large. The results should be substantial enough to indicate the strengths of some of the databases available to the AU community and encourage individuals researching lesser known films and filmmakers.

Atom Egoyan (1960-) was born in Cairo, raised in Canada,  and is an ethnic Armenian. He began making films in the early 1980s and is probably best known for Exotica (1994), The Sweet Hereafter (1997), and Ararat (2002). His films often deal with the themes of isolation, alienation, and loss. He has won many international film awards and has been the subject of considerable critical attention.  

In the sample searches the keywords “atom” and “egoyan” were searched together but not as a phrase – in order to capture all incidences of his name including subject headings that placed his last name first and articles that may have included a middle name or initial.

NOTE: Unless noted, remote access to these databases, such as from your home or office, is restricted to American University students, faculty, and staff. For a full list of our ALADIN databases (with descriptive notes), go to the Databases link on our homepage. Also note some of the databases do not contain full-text. For assistance in locating articles found in the citation-only databases, please contact the AU Library Reference Desk or call (202/885-3238).

Don't forget print
The list is composed only of electronic resources, but thorough film studies research still requires extensive use of print resources as well. For a guide to some of the standard film studies reference books available at the AU Library go to our Film and Television Studies Print Reference Guides.