David Romberg

Assistant Professor, Film Studies
Media & Communication
Walson Hall


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  • M.F.A., film and media arts, Temple University
  • B.F.A., fine arts, Temple University

Teaching Interests

As both a filmmaker and an educator, I am interested in how experimentation in film production can challenge dominant or mainstream narratives and forms in media, embracing alternative voices and modes of production.

In my courses I ask students to consider how they can evolve artistically, often at the expense of feeling uncomfortable in unfamiliar territories—crucial attitudes, in my view, for creative discovery and formal innovation. Providing such safe spaces for experimentation and reflection, my classes encourage students to explore their own hidden potentials. I ask my students to try to push themselves a bit further each time and try something they have never done before.

The best way I could describe my classes is as workshops or spaces that promote learning by encouraging controlled “mistakes” and, more importantly, taking intentional risks. For example, in my cinematography classes, I often lead students into discovering by themselves why a specific lighting approach, camera movement or lens choice might not work for a specific scene but nonetheless could potentially become, in the right context, a powerful and personal filmic expression. I try to emphasize the importance of a personal voice in which there is no right or wrong way to do something.

Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests

I make films that combine documentary and fiction modes of storytelling through community-based collaborative modes of production. I am particularly interested in telling stories that meditate on the meaning of home or refuge in the context of immigration, political turmoil and displacement. Below are brief descriptions of two films that are currently in post-production:

Set on a mysterious island in Brazil, Man of the Monkey is a surreal and emotional journey film, unraveling a labyrinth of interconnected stories, mythologies and uncanny characters that are all searching for refuge in a lost paradise. Among them, an exiled artist haunted by phantoms of the past, an aging prisoner who built his home inside an abandoned prison and a suspected Nazi who was most likely also a Jew.

A modern retelling of an old Tupinamba myth, The Return, is the story of an indigenous Tupinamba princess who is reincarnated 3000 years in the future to restore the forces of nature and save the world from destruction. Set on the small island fishing village of Aracatiba in Brazil, The Return is a docu/fiction film which blurs histories, myths of Ilha Grande with imagined projections of its future.

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