Film research interests
Browse the research interests of staff in the Film programme.
For detailed research interests and lists of publications, click on the staff name which will direct you to their respective staff page.
The Film Programme at Victoria University of Wellington has a broad range and depth of research expertise in film theory, film history and creative practice. More specifically, academic staff are actively involved in the following research areas:
- Documentary Cinema
- Ethnographic Film
- Fantasy Cinema
- Film Authorship
- Health Humanities and Screen Studies
- Horror and Serial Killer Films
- Italian Cinema
- New Zealand Cinema
- Posthuman Screen Theories
- Screen Tourism
- Stereoscopic (3D) Media
- Virtual Reality
- Women's and Queer Cinemas
Documentary is experiencing a renaissance of interest in recent years as the genre continues to expand in its use of creative techniques and approaches, viewing platforms and formats, production technologies and subject areas. Film Programme staff have extensive experience as creative practitioners in the roles of producer, director, sound recording and design and cinematography. Programme members also contribute to the academic discourse on documentary cinema.
Ethnographic films are non-fictional films like documentaries but with a traditional focus on non-western cultures and world views. Ethnographic film is often associated with anthropology and visual approaches to understanding cultures. Film Programme staff have worked on award winning feature ethnographic films and contribute to the academic understanding of modern ethnographic film theory and practice.
Recently fantasy cinema has gained unprecedented popularity with some fantasy film franchises becoming worldwide pop culture phenomena. Staff have expertise in both the history and the critical analysis of the fantasy film and have contributed to contemporary academic debates about this genre.
Film authorship involves examining the creative ‘identity’ of a film director, writer or producer across their body of work. Staff have research expertise in figures such as Chantal Akerman, Susanne Bier, John Carpenter, the Coen Brothers, Clint Eastwood, Peter Jackson, Michael Mann, Lucrecia Martel and John Milius.
Health Humanities and Screen Studies
Health humanities explore health, wellbeing, illness and disability through the methods and materials of the creative arts and humanities. Staff in the programme focus on the representation of health on the screen and on the creative responses, whether fictional or documentary, which enhance and transform our understanding of wellbeing.
Horror and Serial Killer Films
The horror film represents our worst social, cultural and biological fears about monsters and ourselves, while the serial killer is a contemporary monster who may live next door. Staff have expertise in researching the aesthetic trends of these genres.
Italian film has a very long and rich history as one of the largest and most influential national cinemas in the world. Since the emergence of the medium Italian film-makers have gained global critical and commercial success influencing film movements worldwide. Staff in the programme have expertise in both the history of Italian cinema a
d the representation of specific aspects of Italian culture and history such as fascism, political terrorism and the mafia.
New Zealand Cinema
Despite its small population, Aotearoa New Zealand has a thriving film industry and recently locally made productions have achieved international success and recognition. Staff have extensive expertise in both the history of New Zealand cinema and the contemporary local industrial context. More specifically, by examining the work of influential film-makers such as Peter Jackson, staff’s research has shaped the understanding of the relationship between New Zealand and the global media system.
Posthuman Screen Studies
Posthuman cinema targets the transformative changes to human experience introduced by, for example, robotics, climate change, and enhanced intimacy with technological objects like smartphones. These unsettle basic assumptions about the dynamic between humans and the more-than-human world, which posthuman cinema and related media confront. Staff have expertise in the theories and cinema that represent posthuman screen studies.
Screen tourism refers to the various tourist activities associated with the screen industries. Staff have expertise in researching the social, cultural and economic factors that inform the convergence between screen media, digital culture, mobility and tourism practices.
Stereoscopic (3D) Media
Stereoscopic (3D) media is any format that combines two images to create three-dimensional scenes, such as nineteenth century stereoscopic photography and digital 3D cinema. Staff have expertise in creating stereoscopic media as well as researching their wide ranging impacts. Staff also contribute to the Stereoscopic Media website.
The University has strong expertise in the creation and study of virtual reality across a range of disciplines such as health science, psychology, media and design. Film Programme staff have worked on award-winning creative VR projects, contributed to academic understandings of VR’s possibilities, and helped shaped the Wellington VR community.
Women’s & Queer Cinemas
Women’s cinema studies spotlights the contributions of women to cinema culture, attending both to the representation of women in film and women filmmakers’ achievements across a range of key production roles. Queer cinema studies challenges the normative conventions of mainstream cinema, highlighting influential films by and about queer people. These research areas target alternative cinemas, which Staff have a range of expertise in.