James Newton publishes on anarchist cinema

Dr James Newton, Lecturer in the Department of Media Studies, has new published a new book The Anarchist Cinema (Intellect Books, 2019).

This book examines the complex relationships that exist between anarchist theory and film. No longer hidden in obscure corners of cinematic culture, anarchy is a theme that has traversed arthouse, underground and popular film.

In the book, James explores the notion that cinema is an inherently subversive space, establishes criteria for deeming a film anarchic, and examines the place of underground and DIY filmmaking within the wider context of the category. He identifies subversive undercurrents in cinema and uses anarchist political theory as an interpretive framework to analyse filmmakers, genres, and the notion of cinema as an anarchic space.

For more details, please see the publisher’s page here:

Film staff publish on cinema’s Gothic heroines

Dr Tamar Jeffers-McDonald, Reader in Film, together with Dr Frances A. Kamm, Associate Lecturer in Film, have just edited a collection entitled Gothic Heroines on Screen (Routledge, 2019), which will be published in May.

Gothic Heroines on Screen explores the translation of the literary Gothic heroine on screen, the potential consequences of these adaptations, and contemporary interpretations of the form.

Each chapter illuminates the significance of this moving image mediation, relating its screen topics to their various historical, social, and geographical moments of production, while maintaining a focus on the key figure of the investigating woman. Many chapters – perhaps inescapably – delve into the point of adaptation: the Bluebeard story and du Maurier’s Rebecca as two key examples. Moving beyond the Old Dark House that frequently forms both the Gothic heroine’s backdrop and her area of investigation, some chapters examine alternative locations and their impact on the Gothic heroine, some leave behind the marital thriller to explore what happens when the Gothic meets other genres, such as comedy, while others travel away from the usual Anglo-American contexts to European ones.

Throughout the collection, the Gothic heroine’s representation is explored within the medium, which brings together image, movement, and sound, and this technological fact takes on varied significance. What does remain constant, however, is the emphasis on the longevity, significance, and distinctiveness of the Gothic heroine in screen culture.

As well as their introduction, Tamar has contributed a chapter entitled ‘Blueprints from Bluebeard: Charting the Gothic in contemporary film’ and Frances has contributed another entitled ‘The Gothic in Space: Genre, Motherhood and Aliens (1986)’. Lawrence Jackson, Senior Lecturer in Film and Head of Film Practice, has also contributed a chapter entitled ‘Bluebeard in the Cities: The Use of an Urban Setting in Two 21st Century Films’.

The book will be available in May, and you can read further details about it here:


KTV celebrated at the NaSTA awards

Last week, KTV, Kent Union’s television station, was celebrated at the National Student Television Association (NaSTA) awards.

NaSTA comprises over forty affiliated student TV stations from all over the UK. Each year, the organisation runs an awards ceremony in which stations submit examples of their programming for appraisal by judges drawn from the wider broadcast industry. This this there were 465 award entries, and the awards were hosted at the University of Nottingham on 26 April.

KTV won the Jisc Special Recognition Award for their innovative training schemes, and Madeleine Bolton won the Best Dramatic Performance award for the KTV produced film, Sweet Child of Mine.

Sweet Child of Mine was written and directed by student Tyler Hamblin, who is completing his BA (Hons) in Film in the Department of Film. The drama was produced as part of the KTV Film Festival, and was also Highly Commended in Best Drama category, and shortlisted for Best Writing and Best Cinematography.

The station was also shortlisted in the Highly Commended in Light Entertainment category, shortlisted for the Mars El Brogy Multimedia Award (for working with Inquire and CSR), and also won Best Sports Coverage.

To see a segment of Sweet Child of Mine, please see KTV’s YouTube channel here:

Aylish Wood Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Professor Aylish Wood, Professor in Film, will be giving her Inaugural Professorial Lecture, entitled ‘Making Waves: Taking a Software Approach to Moana and What It Tells Us about Digital Culture’, on Wednesday 8 May 2019 at 5pm.

The Disney animation Moana‘s (dirs Ron Clements and John Musker, 2016) release was accompanied by celebrations of animation software and the ingenuity of VFX practitioners. Frequently focussing on the feature’s quite fabulous looking water animation, these commentaries are a valuable starting point for challenging the extent to which simulations in cinema are, as is so often claimed, ‘realistic.’ Given their scale and increasingly detailed textures, it is easy to get caught up in the visual appeal of simulations created with VFX software. Aylish’s purpose in exploring Moana is to step around the power of this visual appeal, and map a route through to the computational and cultural influences that inform and shape simulations.

Aylish’s lecture will take place in Keynes College Lecture Theatre 1, and will be followed by a drinks reception in Keynes College Atrium at 7pm. Attendance is free, but please book your place here:

Nostalgia podcast with Lawrence Jackson

Lawrence Jackson, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of Film (Film Practice), is the subject of the latest podcast on ‘Nostalgia’, as part of an ongoing project by Dr Chris Deacy in the Department of Religious Studies.

The podcast consists of an interview with Lawrence exploring his background. Lawrence tells us why he doesn’t consider his native Guildford to be the coolest place in the country and we learn why his childhood was idyllic when growing up in the vicinity of Wookey Hole.

The youngest of three children, and the only boy in the family, Lawrence recalls the science fiction of the time, including Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who, and his love of pop music , especially the Electric Light Orchestra and we find out why he especially related to their album ‘The Diary of Horace Wimp’. We learn how Lawrence entered academia and why he believes it is important not to censure people’s ideas. He was a film buff while he was studying Modern Languages at Oxford, from where he went to Bournemouth Film School which, as he explains, produced some very talented filmmakers. He also worked for BBC Northern Ireland and he tells us about his experience of sitting on the Berlin Wall in 1989.

In terms of politics, Lawrence’s family background is right of centre and Church of England, which he explains is not his ideology, and he tells us why he reacted against Thatcher’s Britain and about the time he went to church every Sunday but later grew out of it. We also discover why he was so disappointed when John Major won the General Election in 1992.

In the final part of the interview we learn why Lawrence’s memories are predominantly positive and why it is that going to boarding school at age 13 was a key experience. He believes that he has fulfilled the dreams he had when he was young and is more of a looking forward than a looking back type of person.

To listen to the podcast, please visit:

Booking open for the Gothic Feminism conference 2019

The Department of Film and the Histories: Art, Drama and Film Research Cluster are delighted to be organising a conference on ‘Technology, Women and Gothic-Horror On-Screen’, to be held at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus on Thursday 2 May to Friday 3 May 2019.

The conference has been organised by Dr Frances Kamm, Assistant Lecturer in Film and Media,  and Dr Tamar Jeffers McDonald, Reader in Film.

Gothic Feminism is a research project based at Kent which seeks to re-engage with theories of the Gothic and reflect specifically upon the depiction of the Gothic heroine in film. The project raises questions of representation, interpretation and feminist enquiry in relation to the Gothic heroine throughout film history including present day incarnations. This project illuminates the concerns, contradictions and challenges posed by the Gothic heroine on-screen.

This year’s two day conference will consider the theme of technology in the woman-in-jeopardy strand of the Gothic and Gothic-horror film or television. The keynote speaker shall be Dr Lisa Purse (University of Reading), and topics include ‘Gothic Melodrama and Technicolour Design’; ‘Paranormal Investigations and their Implications for the Feminine Victorian Gothic’; Being a Man, Being a Woman and Being a Monster in Resident Evil: Biohazard’ and ‘Gaze, Gender, and Gothically Haunted Humanoid Inventions’. For the full programme, please see the page here: https://gothicfeminism.com/conference-programme-2019/

Tickets cost £50 waged / £25 unwaged / £5 for Kent students. Registration is open until Monday 22 April 2019; to register for the event, please visit the page here: https://store.kent.ac.uk/product-catalogue/faculty-of-humanities/school-of-arts/arts-events/gothic-feminism-2019

Maurizio Cinquegrani on the depictions of Nazi war criminals in Latin America

Dr Maurizio Cinquegrani, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, will be presenting a paper at the International Congress on Visual Culture: Latin America from the Image, the Historical Narrative and Visual Culture, to be held in San Juan at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico on Monday 15 April 2019.

Maurizio’s paper is entitled ‘Ratline Escapees and the Cinematic Landscapes of Post-War Latin America’. From Frederick Forsyth’s thriller The Odessa File (1972) to George Steiner’s philosophical novella The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. (1981), where Adolf Hitler is found alive in the Amazon jungle over thirty years after the end of the war, and to the Führer’s brief appearance in ‘Bart vs Australia’ in The Simpsons (S06E16), where he is seen struggling with his car phone in the Buenos Aires of the 1990s, the afterlife of the Third Reich has continuously been narrated or reinvented on film, literature and other media.

Based on a chapter from a monograph that Maurizio is currently writing, his paper focuses on the ways in which the presence of Nazi war criminals in Latin America, following their escape across the so-called ratlines after the war, has been portrayed on film since 1946. It explores a diverse range of case studies including classical Hollywood cinema and Latin American films, spanning across different genres including dramas, espionage, and science fiction. Two main tensions are going to be identified throughout his study: on the one hand there is vague Latin-American topography used in films exploiting post-war events to fabricate a generic cinematic space with no ties to historical accuracy; on the other, a group of films focusing on the escape and capture of Adolf Eichmann see the unfolding of a more coherent cinematic landscape.

These films will be made to dialogue with documentaries and archival footage on Jewish migration to Latin America before and after the war. Case studies include Notorious (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1946), Gilda (dir. Charles Vidor, 1946), Operation Eichmann (dir. R.G. Springsteen, 1961), They Saved Hitler’s Brain (dir. David Bradley, 1969), Boys from Brazil (dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 1978), Algunos Que Vivieron [Some Who Lived] (dir. Luis Puenzo, 2002) and Wakolda (Lucia Puenzo, 2013). Additionally, the paper is based on Maurizio’s study of archival footage held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

To find out more about the congress, please see the page here:

Richard Misek at AMiM 2019 and the ICA, London

Dr Richard Misek, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, will be participating in two events this month.

First off, Richard will be delivering a workshop at the Approaches to Multimodality in the Media (AMiM) symposium to be held on Queen Mary University of London on Friday 12 April 2019.

The workshop is entitled ‘The Audiovisual Essay: A Primer’. Inspired by the rise of remix culture in the 2000s, the ‘audiovisual essay’ (or video essay) has over recent years developed into one of the most significant new tools for conducting film and media research. Video essays allow researchers to work directly with the audiovisual media that they study and to harness the combined critical power of word, image, and montage. They also provide an effective platform for disseminating the results of data visualisation and other emergent digital humanities methodologies. The audiovisual essay now regularly features in various online academic journals including Movie, NECSUS, and InTransition, and has become widely accepted both as a platform for research and as a research methodology in itself. Meanwhile, the vast public interest in video essays promises a level of impact otherwise unimaginable to the typical media scholar: Kogonada’s work, for example, has typically gained millions of views, and even specialised scholarly videos typically gain thousands of views.

However, creating audiovisual essays is not easy. This workshop aims to help participants take their first steps in conducting ‘videographic film and media studies’. It does so by providing an overview of the basic technical tools needed to create video essays, and of the various creative and scholarly approaches that currently exist to videographic film and media studies. Due to time constraints, the workshop will not involve any hands-on creation. However, participants can expect to come out of it with an enhanced understanding of both the practical and the conceptual tools required to conduct make audiovisual essays.

To find out more, please see the AMiM page here: https://amim2019.wixsite.com/amim2019

Following this, Richard will be chairing a seminar on 18 April 2019, entitled ‘Re-framing the City on Film: Documentary as Memory’, which explores the work of Polish filmmaker Ewa Podgórska as part of the Frames of Representation festival at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London.

The event is free and tickets can be obtained here:

Call for papers: ‘Pro-Social Play’

Professor Nicola Shaughnessey, Professor of Performance in the Department of Drama and Theatre and Dr Dieter Declercq, Assistant Lecturer in Film and Media Studies, along with Dr Chiao-I Tseng from the University of Bremen, are organising an international conference entitled ‘Pro-Social Play! Storytelling and Well-being across Media Borders’. The conference will be hosted by the School of Arts from Thursday 17 October to Saturday 19 October 2019.

Plenary speakers include Charles Forceville (Media Studies, University of Amsterdam); Tobias Greitemeyer, Social Psychology (University of Innsbruck; Anja Laukötter, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin); and Harry Yi-Jui Wu, (Medical Ethics and Humanities, Hong Kong University).

The conference will also include a screening of Dark River (2017), followed by a round table discussion with Clio Barnard, the award-winning director and Reader in Film in the School of Arts, as well as workshops by artists at the arts charity People United on prosocial performances.

This truly interdisciplinary and international conference brings together scholars of  empirical and theoretical research as well as practitioners working on narrative arts for promoting pro-social behaviours and mental well-being across different media. To date, the pro-social narratives have often been studied with a focus on testing people’s media exposure and pro-social effects. Nevertheless, as explicitly pointed out by most of these studies, we also need to investigate how the narrative factors are designed, structured and mobilised in a specific coherent way to effectively achieve the intended prosocial and mental health purposes. Hence, it is crucial to advance the theoretical link between the design choice of narrative, media technological features for engaging people in difficult topics and their pro-social response. Establishing the link is precisely the main objective of this conference. This includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Narrative factors for evoking people’s empathy, achieving educational purposes
  • Link between prosocial behaviour and mental health
  • Storytelling, practical application and mental health
  • Narrative medicine​
  • Technology features of different media platforms that afford, strengthen or constrain the pro-social, persuasive functions of narratives
  • Impact of social cultural conventions on different narrative designs
  • Historical perspectives of pro-social storytelling
  • Transmedia comparison of pro-social messages, for instance, across film, TV, comics, video games, games, literature, etc.
  • Pro-social storytelling in social media
  • Pro-social storytelling through live performances and live interaction
  • Balance between emotional engagement and message credibilities
  • Empirical evidence of pro-social, persuasive functions in storytelling across media
  • Pro-social narrative designs for children and adolescents

Submissions may take the form of research papers on these themes, or workshops by artists, designers, health professionals and other practitioners working on pro-sociality and storytelling.

Please send abstracts of 300 words max. along with a short biography of 100 words max. in PDF or Word format to mail@prosocial-narrative.org by Sunday 30 June 2019.

For more details about the conference, please see the page here:

Nimasu Namsaren’s film Mavzhuda wins CUFF 2019

Congratulations to BA (Hons) in Film student Nimasu Namsaren, whose film Mavzhuda won the title Best Film at the Canterbury University Film Festival (CUFF) 2019.

CUFF is an independent festival that provides an opportunity for the students from all three universities in Canterbury – the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University for the Creative Arts – to come together through their love of filmmaking. The 2019 festival was held over the weekend of 23 and 24 March, with a series of films from our students past and present screened at the Curzon Cinema in Canterbury.

Mavzhuda tells the story of the eponymous 12-year-old girl who immigrates to Russia from Uzbekistan with her family. Her new life in St Petersburg is challenging and in order to fit in she starts to forget her own culture and language and loses the connection with her grandmother. One day after school, Mavzhuda ignores her while walking together with other kids, and the pain that she inadvertently brings to the family helps her to find her own place in the hectic world around.

Nimasu described the origins of the film: ‘The film was made during the summer of 2018 in St Petersburg, and it wasn’t a part of my degree. After taking the modules Working with Actors and Screenwriting, and attending an event for Sundance Ignite in London, I got very inspired to make this film. So as soon as I got back from uni, I started casting and planning the shoot. It’s based on my experience of volunteering as a teacher at a community centre that provides free lessons to children of migrants who come from countries like Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and China.’

What next for the future of Mavzhuda? ‘Right now, I’m applying it to different international short film festivals.’

To find out more about the Canterbury Film Festival, including details on the individual films that were shown, please see the Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/cufffilmfestival

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