Alfio Leotta

Teaching in 2020


MA RomeMA Nice
PhD Auckland

Current Research Projects

My primary research interests focus on the relation between film and tourism; national cinema; the globalisation of film production; film authorship and genre.

My first book Touring the Screen: Tourism and New Zealand Film Geographies (Intellect, 2011) examines the representation of landscape in a number of film productions shot in New Zealand which have subsequently been used as marketing tools to attract tourists to the country. I am also the author of The Bloomsbury Companion to Peter Jackson (Bloomsbury, 2016) and The Cinema of John Milius (Rowman & Littlefield/Lexington, 2018).

Currently, I am working on a research project which aims to theorise audiovisual tourism promotion as a distinct media field.
I am also interested in the study of the fantasy film with particular reference to the sword and sorcery subgenre.

Areas of supervision

  • The relationship between film and tourism
  • New Zealand cinema
  • Italian Cinema
  • Film history
  • Film authorship
  • The cinema of Peter Jackson
  • Transnational cinema
  • The globalisation of film production
  • Landscape and cinema
  • Fantasy cinema

Recent Publications


(2018) The Cinema of John Milius. Lanham: Lexington Books. ISBN 9781498543729

(2015) The Bloomsbury Companions to Contemporary Film-makers: Peter Jackson. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781623569488

(2011) Touring the Screen: Tourism and New Zealand Film Geographies. London: Intellect Books. ISBN 9781841504759

Journal articles

(In Press) Naples for urban voy(ag)eurs: tourism and the representation of space in Gomorrah and My Brilliant Friend. Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies. 8.2.

(In Press) “This Isn’t a Movie… It’s a Tourism Ad for Australia”: The Dundee Campaign and the Semiotics of Audiovisual Tourism Promotion. Tourist Studies.

(2019) 'Selling the Creative City': Wellington Tourism Film in the Neoliberal Era (with Diego Bonelli and Thierry Jutel). Studies in Australasian Cinema.

(2018) Reframing early Australasian cinema: Trans-Tasman exchanges during the silent film period (with Tom O’Regan). Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies. 6.2: 107-118.

(2018) Touring the ‘World Picture’: Virtual Reality and the Tourist Gaze (with Miriam Ross). Studies in Documentary Film. 12.2: 150-162.

(2018) Total Cinema: René Barjavel and the Future Forms of Film. Screen. 59.3: 372-380.

(2017) Editorial - Sea Change: Transforming Industries, Screens, Texts. MEDIANZ: Media Studies Journal of Aotearoa New Zealand, 17(2), 1-3. doi:10.11157/medianz-vol17iss2id187

(2016) ‘I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning’: Violence and Nostalgia in the Cinema of John Milius. Jump Cut, 57.

(2016) Imag(in)ing a Nation: Ali Mostafa and the Emergence of Emirati Cinema. Senses of Cinema 80. Available online at:

(2016) Navigating Movie (M)apps: Film Locations, Tourism and Digital Mapping Tools. M/C Journal 19.3. Available online at:

(2016) Possum’s Cinematic Space: Landscape, Alienation and the New Zealand Gothic. Journal of Short Film Studies 6.1: 45-48.

(2015) Small Nations and Global Dispersal of Film Production: A Comparative Analysis of the Film Industries in New Zealand and the UAE. The Political Economy of Communication 2.2: 20-35.

(2014) Wellington and Auckland as Australasian Media Cities (with Tom O’Regan). Studies in Australasian Cinema 8.2: 96-109.

(2013) Nostalgics, Thugs and Psycho-killers: The Representation of Neofascism in Contemporary Italian Cinema. Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies 1.2: 143-156.

(2012) 100% Pure New Zealand: the Tourist Gaze in Niki Caro’s Memory and Desire. Quarterly Review of Film and Video 29.4: 440-449.

(2011) Do Not Underestimate the Consequences of Love: The Representation of the New Mafia in Contemporary Italian Cinema. Italica Journal 88.2: 277-286.

(2010) Early New Zealand Films and Western Voy(ag)eurs. Illusions 42: 8-13.

(2009) Framing the Beach: A Tourist Reading of the Piano. Studies in Australasian Cinema 3.3: 229-238.

Book chapters

(2018) Waiting for the Great Swell of ’74. John Milius and Autobiographical Self-Projection in Big Wednesday, in True Event Adaptation: Scripting Real Lives, edited by Davinia Thornley. London: Palgrave: 33-46.

(2018) Arancini and Crime Fiction: The Aesthetics of Food in the Montalbano Franchise, in Blood on the Table: Essays on Food in International Crime Fiction, edited by Jean Anderson, Carolina Miranda and Barbara Pezzotti. Jefferson: McFarland: 39-51.

(2015) Crossing the Ditch: Trans-Tasman Film Expatriates (with Tom O’Regan), in The World Directory of Cinema: Australia and New Zealand 2, edited by Geoff Lealand and Ben Goldsmith. Bristol: Intellect Books: 228-234.

(2012) Translating Place: The Piano from Screen to Tourist Brochure, in Words, Images and Performances in Translation, edited by Rita Wilson and Brigid Maher. London: Continuum: 176-193.

(2012) Romantic New Zealand, in Making Film and Television Histories: Australia and New Zealand, edited by James Bennet and Rebecca Beirne. London: Tauris: 95-99.

(2010) From Comic-Gothic to ‘Splatstick’: Black Humour in New Zealand Cinema, in The World Directory of Cinema: Australia and New Zealand, edited by Geoff Lealand and Ben Goldsmith. Bristol: Intellect Books: 296-303.

Conference contributions

“From Wellington to Hobbiton: The Imaginary Geography of Peter Jackson’s Film Landscapes” New Zealand Studies Association, Lugano, July 2016.

“Total Cinema: René Barjavel and the Future Forms of Cinema” Screen, Glasgow University, June 2016.

The Apocalypse is Now: Violence and Barbarism in the Films of John Milius” Cinecri, Istanbul, June 2016.

“Australasia’s Two Solitudes: Reflections on the Trans-Tasman Film Exchange” (with Tom O’Regan) Cinema at the End of the World, Monash University Melbourne, November 2015.

“Marinetti Down Under: The Legacy of Futurism in Aotearoa New Zealand” New Zealand Studies Association, University of Vienna, July 2015.

“Peter Jackson and Wellywood as a Creative Capital” NECS – European Network for Cinema and Media Studies, Universita Cattolica Milano, July 2014.

“Wellington and Auckland as Australasian Media Cities” (with Tom O’Regan) Australian Media Traditions, University of Queensland, November 2013.

"Small Nations and Global Dispersal of Film Production: A Comparative Analysis of the Movie Industry in New Zealand and the U.A.E." Screen Studies Conference, Glasgow University, June 2013.

"Movie Maps: Promoting Film-Tourism through the Development of Mobile, Digital Mapping Tools". International Association for Communication and Media Research, Dublin City University, June 2013.

“Transnational Labour Mobility in the Australian and New Zealand Film Industries”. ARC Centre of Excellence in Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, June 2012.

“Nostalgics, Thugs and Psycho-Killers: The Representation of Neofascism in Contemporary Italian Cinema”. Australasian Universities Languages and Literatures Association Conference, Auckland, February 2011.

Creative work

(2015) Stefano’s Team (with Michele Fontana). Short film currently under review in several international festivals.

(2015) Canto LXXII by Ezra Pound. Short Film presented at Rebooting Futurism Symposium, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, May 2015.

Interviews and articles in the popular press

(2019) 40 Years of Apocalypse Now: Rediscovering the Genesis of a Film Classic. The Conversation (9 May 2019)

(2019) Cinema Italiano Festival New Zealand – Programme Synopsys 2019: Quanto basta/As Needed and Acqua e Zucchero/Water and Sugar.

(2018) Big Wednesday: four decades between surfing and mythmaking. The Conversation (16 May 2018)

(2018) Cinema Italiano Festival New Zealand – Programme Synopsys 2018: Let Yourself Go!/Lasciati Andare!

(2017) Down Under Film Festival Berlin – Contemporary New Zealand Film Beyond the Cinema of Unease (August 18, 2017)

(2017) Newsroom - Should NZ Sacrifice Local Stories for Hollywood Dollars? (June 08, 2017)

(2016) Interview with Wilderness Magazine – Identity Crisis (September 22, 2016)

(2016) Obituary: Marti Friedlander. Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies 4.2: 195-196.

(2016) Interview with BBC News – Do Students Pick Universities because of Movies? (May 23, 2016).

(2015) Video Interview. Ask a Researcher – How Have the Middle Earth Films Benefited New Zealand (February 2015)

(2014) Editorial for The Dominion Post (with Thierry Jutel)  - Goodbye Middle Earth (December 2 2014)

(2014) Interview with The Wireless/Radio New Zealand – Walking with Hobbits: The Road Goes Ever On (December 16 2014)

(2014) Interview with Radio New Zealand –  The making of Stefano’s Team (Leotta & Fontana, 2014) (August 3, 2014)

(2013) Interview with BBC News – Top of the Lake: Is New Zealand Greatest Actor New Zealand Itself? (August 15, 2013).

Teaching in 2020