Wednesday 29 October 2008

Two more E-Journals: Forum and Other Voices

Film Studies For Free brings you very glad tidings of two more graduate E-journals: Forum and Other Voices.

To take the former first, Forum is a peer-reviewed journal for postgraduate students working in culture and the arts. The journal is based at the University of Edinburgh.

Film and film-theory related articles worth checking out in Issue 1, Autumn 2005 - Origins and Originality are as follows:

Film articles of note in Issue 4, Camp! (Spring 2007):
Further film articles in the Current issue Issue 6, Desire (Spring 2008) -
And there's a Back Special Issue: Evolutions Conference with a couple of film-related pieces as follows: As for Other Voices, it is an 'independent, award-winning, electronic journal of cultural criticism' published at the University of Pennsylvania. Founded in March 1997, Other Voices regularly publishes 'provocative essays, interviews, roundtable discussions, lecture transcriptions, audio lectures, multimedia projects, translations and reviews in the arts and humanities.'

The Other Voices Search Results page for ALL 57 articles referencing the keyword 'film' is HERE. Film Studies For Free (or its human avatar, at least) hasn't yet personally checked out all 57 listed... but links to ones that it did take a look at and are very much worth listing are given below:

Enjoy, or as Lacan himself would probably put it (if he were as confused as FSFF about transitive and intransitive verbs), Jouissez!

James Bond Production Designer: Audio Slideshow

Sir Ken Adam at the Imperial War Museum's ongoing James Bond exhibition

Four minutes to spare? Then Film Studies For Free respectfully recommends that you spend them visiting the BBC site where they have a great little audio slideshow in which Sir Ken Adam, the production designer of James Bond films (and many other films besides), 'shares his thoughts on two of his most celebrated [Bond] sets'. Check out the link HERE.

It's been posted to the BBC pages in connection with the publication of Ken Adam Designs the Movies, James Bond and Beyond by Ken Adam and Christopher Frayling (by Thames and Hudson). See the Commander Bond fansite HERE for further info.

Eight more minutes to spare? See a great YouTube video about Adam's work HERE.

A Simple Plan: Ben Goldsmith on the Windfall Fantasy Film

Film Studies For Free is preparing a long, long, long post on freely-accessible, online, film-studies writing of note by particular named authors (a snappier title will hopefully occur to this befuddled author soon). But, in the process of preparing it, I stumbled across one piece that merited a much more urgent flagging up, especially given FSFF and almost everyone else's 'sideline' interest in the global financial crisis and the upcoming US elections.

Ben Goldsmith, he of the wonderful weblog I Screen Studies, has recently posted a version of his published article 'Something Rotten in the State of Minnesota, or The Morality of Backwoodsmen: A Simple Plan' on his site. Here's how Goldsmith introduces his views now on Sam Raimi's 1998 film and his revisiting of the essay about it:
I remember I really didn’t like this film when I first saw it, but something kept drawing me back, and I went to see it three or four times at the movies (very unusual for me). I made copious notes, and delved into work on chance and fiction, and even came up with a sub-genre: the windfall fantasy, of which A Simple Plan is a variant: the windfall fantasy gone wrong. Reading this again almost a decade later, I remember how much the film affected me, stuck in my mind. It speaks to me now in a different way, as we experience what may well be the end of the Long Twentieth Century (Giovanni Arrighi). The film bespeaks the moral decay at the heart of America. [Hyperlinks added by FSFF]

As someone who had a very similar reaction, way back when (pre-9/11!), to A Simple Plan, I very much rate Goldsmith's article on it. Much more good Film-Studies work, like this, is needed now on the economic aspects of the American (and Northern Hemispheric) Imaginary. And how much more wonderful it would be if that work, like this essay, were also freely accessible to all who might be interested in learning from it.

So, Hail to I Screen Studies and to its very generous Chief!

P.S. A propos of all this, please do check out Dina Iordanova's fab, recent, blog post 'And End of an Era? Popular cinema, Gordon Gekko’s ‘Greed is Good!’ and the collapse of Wall Street. More about DinaView: Film Culture Technology Money anon.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Atom Egoyan (Adoration) and Directors' Notes (Appreciation)

A quickie today. Film Studies For Free hopes you'll check out the great, 10 minute long, podcast (and streaming audio) with Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan, whose new film Adoration showed at last night's London Film Festival. The podcast is brought to you by Directors' Notes (see below for more info). As for Adoration, Sandra Hebron, artistic director of the LFF (see a video interview with her HERE), writes,

This twelfth feature from Atom Egoyan begins with a teacher setting an assignment to a class of high school students, and this seemingly everyday exercise is the catalyst for an exploration of the ways in which we make connections – with each other, with our families and our personal histories, with new technology and the modern world. When Sabine (Arsinée Khanjian) asks her class to translate a news story about a terrorist who plants a bomb in the airline luggage of his pregnant girlfriend, this has a profound effect on one of the students, Simon ([Devon Bostick]). Re-imagining this to be his own family's story, he begins to perpetuate this fictitious history via internet chatrooms. [...]

Ambitious in structure and scope, Adoration unfolds as a multi-layered mystery story in which chronology is fractured, and narrators sometimes unreliable. The rich visual texture of the film reflects this, combining sumptuous 35mm photography with images from the internet and mobile phones. Woven through with themes of terrorism, prejudice and fear, Adoration is unfailingly intelligent and unquestionably timely. [with hyperlinks added by FSFF]

There's a good detailed review of the film by Cinematical. Other good links to Egoyan include: his company website; Girish Shambu's Senses of Cinema essay on the director ('The Pleasure And Pain Of "Watching": Atom Egoyan's Exotica'); a very good survey piece at the Canadian Film Encyclopedia/Film Reference Library; another one at; and another, really excellent, very detailed, and more 'academic' one at Bright Lights Film Journal, by David L. Pike. Some great YouTube videos related to Atom Egoyan are HERE. And a really interesting Cineaste interview with Egoyan online HERE at The Free Library.

Film Studies For Free urges you to explore what's on offer more generally at Directors' Notes; it's a nicely organised site that brings weekly podcasts with indie directors and other film personnel, along with up-to-date and varied reviews, and other news and articles. RSS feed available HERE.

Saturday 25 October 2008

Assorted e-journal and website recommendations

As it is so nice and sunny today, and Film Studies For Free's author (not pictured above) likes the outdoors as much as, if not more than, the dark confines of the cinema, or the equally artificially-lit terrain of her happy, new-media, hunting grounds, she will strive to keep her extraneous comments to a bare minimum as she snappily shares with you the following nods to excellent online resources, before heading for the nearby hills...

Tuesday 21 October 2008

New Links to Free Film Studies E-books

Thanks to some rifling around at the great search tool The Online Books Page, the always bountiful Film Studies For Free can now proudly present you with some wonderful new links to the following, online and freely accessible, Film Studies E-books (most of these 'scholarship editions' were made available online by the mighty University of California Press - thank you UC!):

These join Film Studies For Free's existing links to the following great books:

Happy E-reading, folks!

[Addendum - at 16.43: An old friend from my early Kent days, Dr David Sorfa [now Managing Editor of the peerless (...but peer-reviewed!) Open-Access journal Film-Philosophy, and Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Liverpool John Moores University], got in touch with two further and very welcome additions to the E-books list. Both these classics are offered up courtesy of the Centre for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan:

Díky moc / Arigatou gozaimasu / Thank you very much!]

Saturday 18 October 2008

'If it doesn't spread, it's dead': Michael Moore, Henry Jenkins, and Sheila Seles

As many of you will already know (Film Studies For Free hopes), the best English-language Media Studies blog in the whole World Wide Web is Henry Jenkins' Confessions of an Aca-Fan. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Two of the Aca-Fan's most recent posts ('Why Universities Shouldn't Create "Something like YouTube" (Part One)' and 'Why Universities Shouldn't Create "Something like YouTube" (Part Two)') are such important contributions to debates about the future role of the internet in university-level education (and beyond) that I feel they should be required reading for anyone at any level in the academy responsible for determining future policies about 'user-generated content' and other related matters.

Film Studies For Free will leave that resounding recommendation with you for now. Today's blog post is concerned more with a slightly different intervention from Jenkins and the MIT Comparative Media Studies lab, on 'spreadable media'.

In the Aca-Fan's post on April 24, 2007, 'Slash Me, Mash Me, Spread Me...', Jenkins wrote the following about 'the sensibilities of a generation of popular artists who have grown up in an era of cult media' and participatory culture.

They know what fan creativity can accomplish and they want to be part of the game rather than sitting on the sidelines.

At the same time, we can see this as reflecting the growing appreciation within the media industry of what often gets called "viral marketing": that is, they recognize the buzz that comes when grassroots intermediaries embrace a property and pass it along to their friends. C3 research associate Joshua Green and I have begun exploring what we call "spreadable media." Our core argument is that we are moving from an era when stickiness was the highest virtue because the goal of pull media was to attract consumers to your site and hold them there as long as possible, not unlike, say, a roach hotel. Instead, we argue that in the era of convergence culture, what media producers need to develop [is] spreadable media. Spreadable content is designed to be circulated by grassroots intermediaries who pass it along to their friends or circulate it through larger communities (whether a fandom or a brand tribe). It is through this process of spreading that the content gains greater resonance in the culture, taking on new meanings, finding new audiences, attracting new markets, and generating new values. In a world of spreadable media, we are going to see more and more media producers openly embrace fan practices, encouraging us to take media in our own hands, and do our part to insure the long term viability of media we like. [All hyper-links added by Film Studies For Free]

In her most recent posting (October 17, 2008) on the group blog Convergence Culture Consortium -- 'Looking a Gift Economy in the Mouth: Michael Moore's SLACKER UPRISING' -- Sheila Seles very valuably takes up this matter of 'spreadable content' in relation to the kind of online, free, film content with which Film Studies For Free, not idly named, is hugely concerned: specifically, in Seles' post, the free online distribution by documentarian Michael Moore of his latest film Slacker Uprising (get it HERE only if you reside in the USA or Canada).

I haven't seen this film yet, but Seles asks some very important questions about Moore's distribution tactic, and she compares the case of Slacker Uprising with that of other films distributed in this and similar ways, such as Robert Greenwald's Iraq for Sale, which used to be (putatively) legally available completely for free via Google Video (the much linked-to page suggests it's now been removed).

Film Studies For Free urges you to read Seles' fascinating post, and asks its readers earnestly for any opinions about her concluding argument in it, in the context of wider debates about spreadable culture: will 'Slacker Uprising [...] provide an interesting example of the impact of quality and branding as we try to articulate tangible distinctions between "free" content and content that will spread'?

We might wonder also if, to borrow Seles' post's titular metaphor (and 'mashup' along the way two old proverbs and a cliché), are these 'gift horses' for courses, or is there no such thing -- in indie-film download-land, at least -- as a truly free thoroughbred?

Answers, please, in an email or on a comments page.

Friday 17 October 2008

David Lynch on creativity and Ed’s Co-ed from The Bioscope

I just had a transcendentally enjoyable afternoon watching two videos: the first one I'll discuss (actually the one I viewed second) was an (at times) insightful, and always highly engaging, free online recording of David Lynch's beatific guest lecture at the University of Oregon on November 8th, 2005, which I can thoroughly recommend to Film Studies For Free's (small but growing) 'bliss-seeking' readership. The link is HERE; there are various viewing options but I found the RealPlayer one to be the most straightforward on this occasion (and it also allows you to record the video, if you want). There's also a podcast version HERE.

Following a lovely introduction by Associate Professor Kathleen Rowe Karlyn, the video shows Lynch amiably and very capably addressing a large gathering of fans and sceptics on the subject of “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain,” with shorter speaking turns taken for part of the (nearly) two-hour long session by his fellow promoters of Transcendental Meditation, Drs. John Hagelin and Fred Travis.

Much of what Lynch has to say, of course, treats the topic of TM. Lynch is also widely-known now (as well as for his films) for his eponymous Foundation which promotes this practice in the declared interests of 'world peace'. But there is plenty in the Lecture about his films and filmmaking practice more generally, too, thankfully, hence FSFF's recommendation. If you want to skip the 'science', Lynch answers great questions from the audience for the first fifty minutes and then returns for some more questions one hour and thirty-two minutes in.

A particular highlight for me was Lynch's response to a question (about 28 minutes in) about Mulholland Dr. (USA, 2001): 'What the hell is the box and the key?'. Lynch continues with an anecdote about the turning of the TV pilot version of his script into the full-length movie version. This, in turn, is immediately followed by a nice story I hadn't heard before about Lynch meeting Federico Fellini just before the latter's death in 1993.

It turns out, though, that Lynch has done this same gig numerous times, including at other universities. So, if you are a true believer, or you just really want an overload of “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain,” or if, like me, (for a [meagre] living) you study what directors repeatedly say about their work, you could try out the Google Video of the talk as given on the day after the UOregon lecture at UC Berkeley, click HERE. Or, there's a Google search page HERE giving a list of all the other, online and free video versions of this talk out there in cyberspace.

I came across the Lynch video at the University of Oregon Scholars' Bank link because of a recommendation to check out another film stored in that online archive by Luke McKernan over at The Bioscope (see my earlier post about this fabulous blog HERE). The Bioscope is currently posting reports from the 27th Annual Pordenone Silent Film Festival/Giornate del Cinema Muto. In the report from Day 4, McKernan discussed, inter alia, a silent film made at the University of Oregon in 1929: Ed’s Co-ed. He warmly recommends it thus:
There is not a trace of amateurism about Ed’s Co-ed. The story is that of every college movie you ever saw - country boy Ed comes to college, is picked on by other students, he falls for the girl but is rejected by all after he admits to a crime to cover up for someone else who actually committed it, his talents are recognised (he plays the violin, he’s top in all his grades), he wins through at last. It’s so like every college film made that you could be fooled by its ordinariness, but this is a college film that actually came from a college, and it is a treasure trove of period attitudes, codes, fashions and language.
McKernan gives the great link to the streamed and downloadable versions of the film in the UOregon website. I thoroughly enjoyed this film (before Film Studies For Free's Lynch marathon) though would have loved to have seen it at Pordenone with the live accompaniment from Neil Brand (piano) and Günter Buchwald (violin).

Sunday 12 October 2008

Raúl Ruiz, and other directors, in webcast conversations via University of Aberdeen

The Directors Cut - Raúl Ruiz in conversation with Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli from 3sixty-tv/vimeo

The very enterprising and generous Department of Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen began its 'Director's Cut' series of public interviews last year, and is now set to launch this year's series, including conversations with Hans Petter Moland, Pawel Pawlikowski, and Jane Treays (also see HERE). The informative press release for this year's series is HERE; please visit the series' website for other details.

All of last year's interviews have been made available online in wonderfully long webcasts. These are very substantial free resources, indeed. Alongside Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli's great conversation with Raúl Ruiz (HERE), there are interviews with Allan Shiach (HERE), John Akomfrah (HERE), and the fabulous Nicolas Roeg (HERE). There's an interview with David Attenborough archived on a different page (but that one took a long time to load, so I haven't fully checked it out).

The Director's Cut series of interviews was the highly laudable initiative of Alan Marcus, Reader in Film and Visual Culture at Aberdeen, and a filmmaker himself. Film Studies For Free takes its deeply grateful blogger's hat off to Dr Marcus, and to Film at Aberdeen, for enabling these conversations, as well as for ensuring their online availability to a much, much wider (indeed, global) audience.

Friday 10 October 2008

Assorted recommendations

Thanks for some very nice email responses to Film Studies For Free's last posting. Today, FSFF brings you a round up of links to some great online resources.

  • First of all, a very good, film-related, online, Open Access journal that I didn't have in my earlier list: Limina, a refereed academic journal of historical and cultural studies based in the Discipline of History at the University of Western Australia. For a good sample article, please try Tama Leaver's 'Rationality, Representation and the Holocaust in Life is Beautiful'.
  • Next, please check out a great website run by the International Documentary Association (IDA) which has lots of items of academic Film-Studies interest: The best features (from FSFF's point of view) are lots of freely accessible, online video clips, and a very good selection of magazine articles drawn from the IDA's print publication Documentary (link to latest issue on documentaries related to elections HERE, and to the magazine archive HERE).
  • Via, a great link to audio and video recordings of the 2006 and 2007 Futures of Entertainment (1 & 2) conferences at MIT, including papers given by Henry Jenkins (see also HERE), Jason Mittell (see also HERE), and Danah Boyd ( see also HERE). I do hope that lots of other conference organisers will note just how great it is to be able to access international conference papers in this way, from anywhere in the world, albeit only with the right technology, of course. See the Convergence Cultures Consortium weblog for updates about Futures of Entertainment 3.
  • Somewhat tardily, I just discovered that you can subscribe to a truly excellent weblog by Moving Image Source (now added to Film Studies For Free's blogroll). FSFF has previously commented on the parent site's great resources (including wonderful podcasts). The weblog has very high quality material, indeed: for example, see this great posting 'This Way, Myth' by Jonathan Rosenbaum (also see HERE).
  • Finally, for today, my recommendation of two of the most useful weblogs (for Film Studies academics, at any rate) that I've yet come across with a focus on film industry research.
    • The first is Bigger Picture Research - a 'A no-nonsense look at film biz research from around the world' - which is expertly run by Jim Barratt (also author of a soon to be published study of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste (1987) by Wallflower Press). Bigger Picture Research has fantastic links, is frequently updated, and is beautifully (and most unfussily) set out. It does what it says on its tin, and more: in other words, it has an admirably global focus and reach. There is no better website that critically and concisely examines the commercial and industrial discourses of film. Please do subscribe (get the feed HERE)and support this blog!
    • The second is a link I've only just thought of adding to FSFF's lengthy blogroll, which is r a t h e r strange; as a researcher into contemporary cinema and the impact of new technologies on old film practices and discourses (like auteurism), it's the blog I've been following the longest (since its inception in May 2005). The aforehinted-at website is CinemaTech, a blog that focuses precisely on 'how new technologies are changing cinema - the way movies get made, discovered, marketed, distributed, shown, and seen'. It's run by Scott Kirsner, a prolific film journalist and digital film commentator. It's not as 'links-oriented' as Bigger Picture Research, but (like that blog) does give good opinion, as well as accurate news coverage, in very rapid response to film-industry developments. FSFF apologises profusely for waiting until now to link to CinemaTech. Please help to assuage its guilt by (co-)adopting this wonderful blog (get the feed HERE). Thank you.

Now, back to the global financial crisis... Have a good weekend, won't you.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Film and Media Studies e-journals for free: online graduate-student work

Many of the writers on open-access research and scholarship have noted that there is a continuing reluctance among senior and established academics to publish in online scholarly journals. See, for instance, the excellent, detailed discussion of the academic unease around the 'legitimacy' of e-journals by Peta Mitchell ('The Politics of Open-Access Publishing: M/C Journal, Public Intellectualism, and Academic Discourses of Legitimacy' - link HERE). Mitchell notes that
[A]ll studies into online scholarship agree on this point—the authors of articles in open-access journals are, more often than not, comparatively young [...]. [W]hile “younger authors were more likely to be positive about the outcomes of OA [Open Access] publishing,” “older respondents were more likely to worry about the quality, for example, that papers will become less concise” ([Nicholas, David, Paul Huntington, and Ian Rowlands. “Open Access Journal Publishing: The Views of Some of the World’s Senior Authors.” Journal of Documentation 61.4 (2005): 497–519.] 512). [...]

Opinion is divided as to whether this situation has changed in recent years following the exponential growth of open-access publishing. Certainly, the abovementioned 2005 study indicates that most respondants did not see open-access publishing as “radical” or as having no career advantage (Nicholas, et al 507). However, this is tempered by the fact that authors from countries that had a “poor commitment to OA publishing”—notably Australia, North America, and Western Europe—"associated OA with ephemeral publishing, poor archiving and no career advantage” (517). Moreover, as the authors of the study note, “perhaps the biggest finding to emerge from the study is the general ignorance of OA publishing on the part of relatively senior scholarly authors” (515). [...]

The ongoing nature of the open-access debate reveals the core of the problematic facing open-access journals: that while it is now deemed safe to use online scholarship, it is still not entirely safe to produce it.

Despite these residual qualitative doubts, Mitchell notes that all 'stakeholders' in academic publishing have acknowledged that 'open-access journals are cheap, fast, and quantitatively sound'. It is precisely these qualities that can make them an ideal vehicle for those who need quickly to get their work out in public; indeed, e-publishing can provide an ideal 'shop window', akin to the giving of a good conference paper, for early career academics.

There are already quite a good number of open-access e-journal 'outlets' run primarily for and by established film and media studies academics. As well as linking to a large number of online film magazines in its listing of 'Online and Open Access Film-Studies Related Journals and Magazines, Film Studies For Free currently connects to the following active, fully peer-reviewed, and free-to-access e-journals ':

16:9 (Eng-lang articles in Danish Film Studies Journal); Americana (Hollywood) : the Journal of American Popular Culture; Consciousness, Literature and the Arts;; Culture Machine; Fibreculture Journal; Film-Philosophy; Framework [online sections]; Genders; Image [&] Narrative; Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media; International Journal of Žižek Studies; Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies; Journal of Moving Image Studies (archive online); Journal of Religion and Film; Jump Cut; M/C Journal: A journal of Media and Culture; Media History Monographs; Mediascape; Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication (first issue 1 online); P.O.V (A Danish Journal of Film Studies - peer-reviewed since December 2007); Particip@tions; PsyArt; Scope: an on-line journal of film studies; Screening the Past; Senses of Cinema; Trama y Fondo (in Spanish); Transformative Works and Cultures; ; Vectors; Wide Screen (new journal calling for papers); World Picture Journal.

I hope to return to discuss issues of (and matters concerning) the above-listed journals on future occasions, but I wanted to focus, in what remains of today's blog entry, on profiling three of the best examples of e-journals that are produced primarily by Film and Media Studies graduate students. I think they are producing some of the most interesting models for online, Open-Access work in our discipline(s) (and all are linked-to by Film Studies For Free).

According to its website:

  • 'Flow is an online journal of television and media studies launched in October 2004. Flow’s mission is to provide a space where researchers, teachers, students, and the public can read about and discuss the changing landscape of contemporary media at the speed that media moves. Flow is a project of the Department of Radio-TV-Film at the University of Texas at Austin. Flow is coordinated and edited by graduate students in the Department of Radio-Television-Film and is published bi-weekly.'

The site adds:

  • 'Accompanying the challenge of publishing material at that demanding pace has been the related project of building and operating our own delivery system. With over 500 columns in our archive, representing the work of over 200 authors, ensuring the stability of this venture is one of our primary concerns.'

The main advantage of Flow is clearly its prodigious responsiveness. But there's another feature that I really like; while the journal seems not to be conventionally (or 'fully') peer-reviewed, its excellent comments feature means that the exchanges provoked by the journal are open and critical - work published there can be publically and thus very usefully challenged. For example, see Flow Journal, Vol. 8, Issue 7: this issue featured columns from Jane Feuer, Aaron Delwiche, Leigh Goldstein,and Alexander Cho. Flow staff writer Leigh Goldstein's great piece"Soft Selling Intergenerational Intimacy on the First Season of Mad Men" examined 'the unmasking [in that series] of society's discomfort with representations ofchildhood sexuality'. It sparked nine very well thought out comments which were reproduced on the same webpage, including a very interesting comment from the renowned film and TV studies academic and theorist Karen Lury, who has also contributed her own work to Flow (also see HERE), alongside another fascinating point posted by the great Julia Lesage. You can't get better, or more instant and transparent, review by your 'peers' (or, indeed, by your 'betters') than that! Flow is well worth a (free) subscription, in Film Studies For Free's humble opinion.


After a four year hiatus (of the kind that is sadly still all-too-common in the volatile world of academic e-publishing), SYNOPTIQUE: The Journal of Film and Film Studies, a film journal written and published by graduate Film Studies students at Concordia University in Montréal, is back.

Synoptique gives a dazzling account of its rationale, which should be read at length; but here's a little taster:

  • [I]t is only with the frame of a film community that we can think about film. And its education. We wanted to create an online resource of student work at Concordia. For students at Concordia. To give expression to the intellectual character of M.A. Film Studies at this University by publishing what was rapidly becoming a lost history of ideas. Students work here for two years, take classes, write theses, go on their way, leave faint traces, might never take a stand or apportion an opinion. We wanted to discover what tradition we had inherited, what debates we were continuing, which debates we weren’t inventing.

The editors hope that Synoptique will be a 'quarterly, academically-oriented, online journal about film culture.' The latest articles (issue 11) have been 'exposed to a peer-editing system.'

While the articles do have a slight 'graduate flavour' in places, they are very well-written and edited, and are as compelling and interesting as you would hope any article in a film journal would be - some very nice essays, in particular, on childhood in avant-garde films, Lynch's Inland Empire and Potter's Orlando, among others (in English and French). Synoptique also has options for leaving public comments, although its traffic is not currently as lively as that of Flow. Film Studies For Free wishes it all the best: it deserves a long and garrulous life.

Another journal that has successfully relaunched recently is Cinephile (formerly UBCinephile). Cinephile is a free, (now) peer-reviewed journal of film studies edited by graduate students in the Film Studies program at the University of British Columbia. The journal

aims to provide a forum to discuss aspects of film theory, history, and criticism, and is intended to provide a platform to share research papers, book reviews, and reports that engage with debates appropriate to film, media, and cultural studies. As a peer-reviewed journal, Cinephile endeavors to promote the Film Studies portion of the program as an inclusive but discriminating environment which is dedicated to publishing work of the highest scholarly quality and appeal

The previous three volumes of (UB)Cinephile can still be accessed online and they are well worth checking out (see HERE or HERE). There are thoroughly stimulating, and highly original articles by (then) students honing their skills (and sharpening their talons), and UBC faculty --

e.g. Lindsay Steenberg - "Framing War: Commemoration, War & the Art Cinema"; Christine Evans - "'I am not a fascist, since I do not like shit. I am not a sadist, since I do not like kitsch': Sadism, Serial Killing, and Kitsch"; Brock Poulin - "Reading Against the Gore: Subversive Impulses in the Canadian Horror Film" ; Brenda Wilson - "Blurring the Boundaries: Auteurism & Kathryn Bigelow"; Jennie Carlsten - "Violence in the City of God: The Fantasy of the Omniscient Spectator"; Renee Penney - "Bloody Sunday: Classically Unified Trauma?"; Jennie Carlsten - "'Somehow the Hate has got Mislaid': Adaptation and The End of the Affair"; Christine Evans - "I'm in Love! I'm a Believer!: Structures of Belief in Jonathan Glazer's Birth"; R. Colin Tait - "'Jesus is Never Mad at Us if We Live with Him in Our Hearts': The Dialectical View of America in David O. Russell's I (Heart) Huckabees"; David Hauka - "Christ, that Hurts!": Rewriting the Jesus Narrative - Violence and the Language of Action Cinema in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ"; Katherine Pettit - "Metamorphic Death: Post-Mortem and Spirit Photography in Narrative Cinema"; Jennie Carlsten - "Containing Their Rage"; Andrew deWaard - "The Global Social Problem Film" ; Tara Kolton - "Representations of Western Tourism in Cinema" Brenda Cromb - "War Films Without War"; Christine Evans - "Medea’s Family Reunion"; R. Colin Tait - "(Zombie) Revolution at the Gates"

-- as well as by possibly even more redoubtable figures, such as Slavoj Žižek ( "The Family Myth in Hollywood"; see also HERE).

In the (re)launch issue of Cinephile (on a new website, equipped with an RSS feed to keep you updated, as well as with a comments facility), there are some wonderful articles by familiar names (both from previous issues of (UB)Cinephile, as well as those of such well-established luminaries as Barry Keith Grant). But there are also some very worthy pieces by some new(er) names (such as the timely and important 'Cinema from Attractions: Story and Synergy in Disney's Theme Park Movies' by my fellow blogger Andrew Nelson, a PhD student in Film at the University of Exeter). In any case, the result for Cinephile continues to be a stream of highly invigorating articles, written in a throroughly engaging, and occasionally even entertaining, way. Inspiring, indeed.

Also, look out for Tischfilmreview, to be launched later this year by the world-renowned Tisch School of Film and Television, NYU. Like Flow, Synoptique and Cinephile, its anchor in an educational institution of excellent repute would seem to be a great way of guaranteeing the ongoing archiving of the work it publishes, as well as of raising the profile of those whose work it will showcase online. We may go on to see the birth of literal-but-virtual 'Schools of Thought' in film and media studies (hmm: always remember Birmingham...). Maybe these newer, online ones are being forged in a more 'open and accessible' environment than was previously possible for participants in our disciplines, if only technologically.

Do, then, consider yourselves urged to visit the Cinephile, Flow, and Synoptique websites. And also, as (if not more) importantly, please think seriously about submitting your research 'outputs' to them for consideration for publication, as well as to the other e-journals mentioned earlier in my discussion, and permanently linked to by Film Studies For Free. It may seem a volatile 'marketplace' out there in cyberspace, as elsewhere. But do you really have anything to lose except your reluctance?

[If you know of any free film and media studies e-journals to which Film Studies For Free is not yet linking, please let me know and I'll check them out. Thanks]

Monday 6 October 2008

Type casting ... and Bette Davis

Fun little item on the BBC website today about how typefaces are chosen for movie posters. Sebastian Lester, a typeface designer, runs through the typographic design rationales for a whole host of movie campaigns, including the soon to be released Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster, UK/USA, 2008).

Here's some of what Lester has to say about the poster for that movie:
The [Neutraface] typeface used in the new James Bond poster has its roots in the early 20th Century and the architectural lettering styles of that period […]. Geometric fonts like this have a sense of efficiency and modernity about them which is universally appealing.

Bette Davis fans are currently celebrating the centenary year of her birth on April 5, 1908, but today is the anniversary of that great actor's death in 1989. I thought I'd mark the occasion by providing a short webliography of related scholarly and other online resources of note.
Film Studies For Free will be back imminently with a post on online, open-access, graduate film and media studies journals.