Article Written by Kevin Sloter. Photo by Kevin Sloter.
Dr. Brad Chisholm knew from a fairly young age that he wanted to study films as art. It was around the same time that he knew that he wanted to hand down his film knowledge to other people who were interested in learning about film.
“I was a freshman in College. I think I started college with the idea that maybe I’d go into journalism, but I was a little unsure as most people are when they’re starting college, or just figuring stuff out”, said Dr. Chisholm.
Dr. Chisholm talked about how he knew in his sophomore year of college that he wanted to study films after taking a film studies class. Before that, he did not even know someone could study films as a career.
The General was one of the films he said made him want to study films as an art form. The General is an old silent film from 1926 starring Buster Keaton. He said that Keaton was one of the best physical comedians and that he was amazed at how well every physical gag in the movie was constructed. This movie also made it clear that there are decades’ worth of amazing movies back during Keaton’s time that would have been available to him if he simply took the time to look for them. A lot of the stuff Keaton and other directors did at that time was the first of their respected genre and that really intrigued him.
It was in another film class in college that Dr. Chisholm found out he enjoys teaching people. He also found out in this class that talking in front of people comes easily to him. It was something he could see doing as a part of his career.
“I gave a presentation in a film class where that was required of all students in the class. We all had to do an oral report, so we had to stand in front of the class and share what we had studied. When I did it I realized how much fun I was having” said Dr Chisholm.
While a lot of people get nervous about public speaking, Dr. Chisholm is not one of those people. Instead, he said he was finding it hard to stop talking about the movie to the class. In his eyes, he kept on finding something more to say. He said that passion for talking about movies has not gone away and will never go away.
Dr. Chisholm is the Chair of the Theater and Film Studies Department. He has a doctorate in Film Studies as well. He has been at Saint Cloud State since 1993, making this his 30th year at this college. He is looking forward to about five more years here.
When Dr. Chisholm is making his classes, he tries to show a new film every week that best demonstrates what the topic for that week is. Dr. Chisholm tries to put 14 to 15 different topics in every class. For film history for example, Dr. Chishom says there are many turning points or movements that happened throughout history, so his goal is to find a movie that really showcases that movement to the best of that movie’s ability. An example would be a classic Western shown during the time he is going over the Western movement that happened in America.
One person Dr. Chisholm will always be happy to show in class and see in the theater would be movies by director Alfonso Cuarón. He said that is very careful not to put stuff in his films for no reason and nothing in his films is a mistake.
Being a film historian at a museum is something Dr. Chishom would want to do if he was not teaching. Working with old equipment and film archival would be at the top of Dr. Chisholm’s list.
“I would be working in a film museum, where I would be putting together programs of films and having guest filmmakers come and speak to the public. I would also be keeping a collection of films or film-related things. For instance, in the last ten years, I’ve become really interested in finding the oldest movie equipment ever invented, so I’ve been going to Europe in my summers and tracking down really old cameras and really old projectors” said Dr. Chisholm.