Andrew Stover

Get to know some of our College of Media students! Andrew Stover is a Class of 2023 media and cinema studies major.

What made you want to major in media and cinema studies?  
Since 2016 I have been very interested in the criticism of film and of the media. This has led me down a path of writing films, creating a blog, and joining publications dedicated to media and cinema studies. The famous Media alum Roger Ebert (BS '64, journalism) is one of my inspirations, which further influenced my decision to major in media and cinema studies at UIUC. 

What is your favorite film of all time and why? 
I have two! My first choice would be The Truman Show. The focus on character development in the show makes the show enjoyable to watch till the end. My second choice is a dystopian film called Child of Men. This movie is one I love to talk about since it truly ignited my interest in film criticism. As a MACS student I enjoy deconstructing the layers of each shot and find the deeper meaning of different scenes.    

What class has been your favorite so far? 
MACS 361: Film Theory and Criticism has been my favorite. I really enjoyed the class because we explore various thematic areas. Professor Julie Turnock presented a film that was unique to what we usually covered in class. We ended up watching Bring It On. I realized the importance of watching this movie as it was a great example of cultural appropriation that was prevalent in 2000 teen movies. Another film I really enjoyed watching in this class was Portrait of a Lady on Fire. I personally believe it was the best movie ever made, every shot is impeccable and looks like a painting! Professor Turnock truly makes the class enjoyable, whether we are analyzing a modern take on films or watching a film in the auditorium at night! 

How do you develop your ideas for films? What gives you motivation? What is your creative process like? 
Every film requires a different reflection process because there are different producers, messages, interpretations. I make sure I’m in a focused mindset when analyzing my thoughts of the film and writing reviews. When I am in a calm state, I am able to efficiently express what I love about films and writing films. It also helps me maintain a positive outlook on what I want to make a career out of in this industry. 

What are you/have you been involved in? 
Since I was a transfer student, I've had limited time to really indulge myself in many RSOs, but I was able to apply and get the position for the yearlong Ebert Fellowship! I work with Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips, who is one of my inspirations. Through the fellowship I was able to gain podcasting experience at an NPR studio in Chicago, where one of the concepts I was able to talk about was holiday movies!  

Who has been an inspiration/role model to you in college so far, whether a professor, classmate, etc.?
One of my favorite things about the College of Media is its tight-knit community. As one of the smaller colleges on campus, it’s easy to create lasting relationships with friends and professors. Also, our professors are super engaging and passionate about the material they teach. Also, it’s likely that you can take another class in your major that your favorite professor teaches. Professor Derek Long teaches a production course and an animated media course that I've taken. He has inspired me immensely through his passion and his effort in class. I am glad I've taken his classes because now I have new perspectives and skills to utilize in my film reviews! 

What piece of advice would you give to someone in your major? 
Do prior research to grasp and understand what you are trying to accomplish. In a media production or criticism field you are always going to want to compare yourself. As long as you stay passionate and determined, your work will pay off. Surely, your unique ideas will resonate with someone! 

What plans do you have for yourself after graduation? 
I am looking for the opportunity to create criticism content, but I am always open to new opportunities since you should never put your eggs in one basket! Branching out to the production side of media and cinema studies would be interesting too!  

—Interview by Emily Campos, New Voices Intern

Andrew Stover