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Northwestern School of Communication

Chuck Kleinhans Essay Prize

The Chuck Kleinhans Essay Prize is named for film scholar, artist, activist, and radical iconoclast Chuck Kleinhans (1942-2017), Associate Professor Emeritus of the department of Radio-Television-Film, in which he served for nearly thirty years. Professor Kleinhans was an exceptional teacher and scholar who championed the intersectional, the interdisciplinary, and the independent in filmmaking as well as film studies. He wrote and researched voraciously about a plethora of subjects including melodrama, the films of the L.A. Rebellion, working class Hollywood heroes, and the aesthetics and politics of pornography. He also made his own experimental and documentary films and co-founded the influential film studies journal JUMP CUT with his life partner Julia Lesage in 1974. By taking JUMP CUT to a free online format in 2001, Chuck and Julia served as pioneers of the contemporary open-access scholarship movement.

The Kleinhans Essay Prize, awarded to an outstanding work of undergraduate film scholarship, was established to honor and perpetuate Chuck’s legendary and boundless enthusiasm for the work of emerging scholars. As his colleagues Catherine Grant, Michael Renov, Brian Winston, and Patricia Zimmerman attested soon after his death in December 2017, Chuck “reveled in the brilliant new ideas” of young scholars and was a "remarkable and hugely influential mentor to many important scholars" in film and media studies.

For more information, contact the Screen Cultures Director of Graduate Studies.