Lecture Series 2 - Going to the Movies For a Century: From the Birth of Hollywood to the Present

Oct 20 to Nov 24, 2022

Gregory Breen's 6 part presentation is on the History of Film-making. Be intrigued as you learn how Cinema got its start, how it grew, its innovations, its politics, and its filmmakers. Learn how the rise of digital streaming has impacted the 21st century distribution model and how that has changed the medium and helped establish new filmmakers.
Series Coordinator:
Diane MacIntyre

Oct 20, 2022 - The Birth of Hollywood

Zoom re-play 7:00 pm Oct 25

In the first week we will look at how the world capital of cinema came to be.  Beginning with how innovators in Europe and France turned technical engineering into art with the creation of the film camera and the cinematograph leading to a new commercial artform, Cinema. We will investigate how enterprising people built studios for production in a small town in California called Hollywood that would go on dominate the world.

Lecturer - Gregory Breen (see his biography, below)


Oct 27, 2022 - Censors in the Studio: The Hays Code and Decency in Film - Part 1

Zoom re-play 7:00 pm Nov 1

In week two we will look at censorship and controversy in early Hollywood. As Hollywood became a dominant industry in the United States political interests began to intrude and calls for regulation of film’s content became louder. In response the studios created the Motion Picture Production Code – known as the Hays Code – after its first head William H. Hays. It was a body controlled and run by the studios that enforced decency rules in motion pictures and had an enormous affect the output of Hollywood. It has even been said Hays and his replacement, Joseph Breen, were the most inflectional people in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s.

Lecturer - Gregory Breen (see his biography, below)


Nov 3, 2022 - Censors in the Studio: The Hays Code and Decency in Film - Part 2

Zoom re-play 7:00 pm Nov 8

Jumping off from last week’s lecture we will look at how politics effected Hollywood from the beginnings; how President Woodrow Wilson’s screening of Birth of a Nation at the White House echoed in history, through the propaganda films produced during World War II and the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. We will jump off from there and look at how politics invaded the Hollywood system in the 1970s with the radical rise of “New Hollywood” and the Movie Brats.

Lecturer - Gregory Breen (see his biography, below)

Nov 10, 2022 - The Filmmakers - Part 1

Zoom re-play 7:00 pm Nov 15

In Week 4 we will look at the filmmakers - some known today and other sadly forgotten - who changed cinema. The people who made film, that built and then broke the mould. We will look at how they worked, what they made and how it was received. We will look at early Hollywood and talk about the great directors of the silent era, the Code era and Hollywoods golden age.

Lecturer - Gregory Breen (see his biography, below)


Nov 17, 2022 - The Filmmakers Part 2

Zoom re-play 7:00 pm Nov 22

Picking up from last time we will look at the influence of outside Hollywood, how the new waves in Europe and Asia changed how Hollywood ran and how its filmmakers worked. We will look at "New Hollywood" in the 1960 and 70s and how that birthed a new studio system in the 1980s. From the 80s, we will see how the 70s repeated itself in the 1990s and how the new blockbusters appeared in the early 21st Century - all through the stories of the people who made the films.

Lecturer - Gregory Breen (see his biography, below)


Nov 24, 2022 - The Films

Zoom re-play 7:00 pm Nov 29

In our final lecture we will look at the films that broke the molds the individual movies that changed the language of cinema. How early films innovated editing and close ups to tell their stories. How sound and the colour offered new avenues to explore. We will look at how certain films evolved and changed genre and how films where watched and sold changed because of one single picture.

Lecturer - Gregory Breen



Gregory Breen is a filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland working in Toronto. His short films have screened at festivals in Europe and Canada. Gregory completed his first feature film, The Long Night, in 2017. He teaches video production at Humber and received his Master's in Media Production from Ryerson in 2020.