On March 17th, 2015, U.S. filmmaker and critic Kevin B. Lee gave a Masterclass on his work at the School of Media, Film and Music, University of Sussex, UK. This podcast offers the audio recording of the whole of his talk (video versions of sections of it are available here: http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/conversations/; and here http://filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com)
Lee is a renowned pioneer of the online video essay form (creative, critical digital remixes of footage from the audiovisual works they treat), with well over 200 such works to his name. 
Recently, he and others at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have developed a form of filmmaking they call Desktop Documentary, which uses screen capture technology to treat the computer screen as both a camera lens and a canvas. Desktop documentary seeks both to depict and question the ways we explore the world through the computer screen. 
The Masterclass straddled a screening of TRANSFORMERS: THE PREMAKE (2014), Lee’s innovative essay film in this idiom. The ‘Premake’ produced and studied viral fan footage of the making of Michael Bay’s blockbuster TRANSFORMERS 4: THE AGE OF EXTINCTION and examined the ways in which this operated as a public publicity vehicle for the film.
TRANSFORMERS: THE PREMAKE is online here: http://www.alsolikelife.com/premake/.
In this talk Kevin discusses (and plays an excerpt from) the following video: "What Makes a Video Essay Great?" which can be accessed online here: https://vimeo.com/115206023.
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On the longest day of the year, June 21, 2014, I interviewed film studies writer and thinker extraordinaire Adrian Martin. Our conversation took place in the quietest spot we could find in the historic center of Milan late on a World Cup match night. We were both visiting that city for the conference of the Network of European Cinema and Media Studies (NECS), and had been part of a workshop panel that day on videographic film studies, or "audiovisual approaches to audiovisual subjects." We discussed Adrian's turn to audiovisual essays (many made with Cristina Álvarez López) as well as his work more generally, and talked about his new book Mise en Scène and Film Style: From Classical Hollywood to New Media Art (forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan, later in 2014). Adrian's latest De Filmkrant column 'Serve Yourself' offers an extract from the book as a preview of it: the column is on-line here: http://www.filmkrant.nl/world_wide_angle/10805. In the interview, Adrian talks in detail about a particular audiovisual essay -- Intimate Catastrophes -- which he co-edited with Cristina Álavarez López for the Transit: Cine y otros desvíos website.

For more about this interview, and for related links, please visit the main FILM STUDIES FOR FREE website: http://filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com/2014/06/happy-holidays-round-up-adrian-martin.html.

Adrian Martin is Professor of Film Studies at Goethe University (Frankfurt), and Monash University (Melbourne). He is published internationally and has been translated into over twenty languages, with regular columns in De Filmkrant (Holland) and Caiman (Spain). He is the author of six books (Phantasms, Once Upon a Time in America, Raúl Ruiz: Magnificent Obsessions, The Mad Max Movies, Last Day Every Day, What is Modern Cinema?) and is Co-Editor of the online film journals LOLA (http://www.lolajournal.com) and Screening the Past (http://www.screeningthepast.com/), as well as the books Movie Mutations and Raúl Ruiz: Images of Passage.

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On March 24, 2014, Catherine Grant interviewed Dr Austin Fisher, Senior Lecturer in Media Arts at the University of Bedfordshire, UK, author of Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western: Politics, Violence and Popular Italian Cinema and editor of the forthcoming volume Spaghetti Westerns at the Crossroads: Studies in Relocation, Transition and Appropriation (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015), among other publications.

The interview took place in Seattle, USA, shortly after the close of the annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, where Austin was contributing to a number of workshops and panels as co-chair (with Iain Robert Smith) of the SCMS Scholarly Interest Group in Transnational Cinemas. Austin talks about this topic in the interview and connects it to his longstanding interest in Italian cinema and the spaghetti western. He was also in the US as an invited speaker (with Sir Christopher Frayling) at an event at Texas Tech, in Lubbock, Texas, to celebrate 50 years since the release of A Fistful of Dollars.

Austin is also author of a video essay on The Searchers (see below), and in the interview he talks about the experience of making this work, a topic of particular interest at the SCMS conference where [in]Transition, a new journal (supported by mediaCommons and CInema Journal) devoted to publishing videographic film and moving image studies, was launched.

Also see 'Video Essay on Editing in The Searchers'
For more information about the SCMS conference together with related material please visit Film Studies For Free.
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A talk presented at the Audiovisual Essay Conference, Frankfurt Filmmuseum/Goethe University, November 23-24, 2013.

More information to follow shortly.

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A talk presented at a seminar on Text and the Moving Image. 16th October, 2013, in the Literature and Visual Cultures Seminar Series, Royal Holloway, University of London.

[Thanks to Sarah Chadfield and Sophie Oliver for the Invitation, and for recording the talk, and to Harriet Wragg for her presentation in the same seminar.]


“If, along the hard road to illumination, the audiovisual essay manages to find or create some new eloquence, some new sensation, or evoke some of that ‘mad poetry’ [...] found in intense theorising, […] then that’s all for the good” [Adrian Martin, 'In so many words', Frames Cinema Journal, 1, 2013. Online at: http://framescinemajournal.com/article/in-so-many-words/

Long after the advent of the digital era, the overwhelming majority of film and moving image studies scholars still prefer to carry out and publish their film critical, theoretical and historical research in conventional written formats. As digital affordances and publications continue to proliferate, however, more and more academics are turning to multimedia forms of research like digital video essays. Interestingly, some of these emerging modes are especially indebted to the 'provisional and subjective' traditions of the essay film, much studied in written film studies. Such formats can inspire compelling work not only because, with their possibilities for direct audiovisual citation, they can enhance the kinds of explanatory research that have always been carried out on films, but also because of their potential for more 'poetic', creative and performative critical approaches to our research. Yet, even as videographic film studies have the potential to challenge the future hegemony of (especially traditional forms of) academic written language, words are far from banished from these forms. Instead, as Adrian Martin has argued, "it is the economy of critical word to illustrative image, the balance and weighting of their respective functions, that is slowly altering" (ibid.). In my contribution to this seminar I will discuss the role of captioning, written quotation, and titling in videographic film studies practice, including my own, their relation to earlier traditions of written language deployment in the cinema, and their centrality to emerging notions of 'creative critical practice research'.

Some New Eloquence RHUL Talk October 16 2013 PDF by filmstudiesff

Video essays

First video (9.24): La Cueca Chilena: Raúl Ruiz's Exilic Seductions

Second video (15.56): Notes to a Project on Citizen Kane by Paul Malcolm, 2007

Third video (25.54): Film Tweets

Fourth video (28.58): Uncanny Fusion - still in draft/not yet published

Other videos referenced can be found at AUDIOVISUALCY: Videographic Film and Moving Image Studies

Dr Catherine Grant is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sussex. She is the author of numerous written studies of film authorship, adaptation and intertextuality and also of some forty film-studies videos many of which have been screened internationally at academic conferences and at film festivals and industry events (including the International Oberhausen Short Film Festival, 2012). She has curated many hundreds of videographic studies at her websites Film Studies For Free, Filmanalytical and Audiovisualcy. In 2012, she commissioned and edited an issue of the peer-reviewed journal Frames on ‘digital film studies’ (http://framescinemajournal.com/?issue=issue1), with more than twenty video-related contributions. Her article 'Déjà-Viewing? Videographic Experiments in Intertextual Film Studies', appeared in Mediascape, 2013: http://www.tft.ucla.edu/mediascape/Winter2013_DejaViewing.html.

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Dr Andrew Klevan, Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Oxford, UK, discusses the rationale behind his recent book on Hollywood film star Barbara Stanwyck (London: BFI/Palgrave, 2013) with Film Studies For Free. He also talks about some of the issues that arise when film performance is the object of study, around intention and attribution of agency and value.

Stanwyck's illustrious career began in the 1920s and spanned sixty years. During that period she starred in major films of many genres and worked with some of the most distinguished Hollywood directors. Devoting each chapter of his monograph to a significant quality of Stanwyck's performances, Klevan foregrounds crucial scenes from her exemplary films, including Stella Dallas (1937), The Lady Eve (1941), and Double Indemnity (1944). Through the lens of her achievement, Klevan examines the wider concerns of these films while revisiting classic topics from Film Studies - psychoanalysis, medium reflexivity, and the representation of female roles such as the 'sacrificial mother' and the 'femme fatale'. In paying close attention to the various aspects of Stanwyck's skilfully executed performances, this book enhances familiar understandings and aims to provide fresh illumination.

Read the accompanying entry "Magnifying Mirror: On Barbara Stanwyck and Film Performance Studies" at Film Studies For Free. And watch a short video essay on Stanwyck's performance in the mirror sequence of Stella Dallas here.

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In October 2013, Dr Catherine Grant of Film Studies For Free talked to Dr Tamar Jeffers McDonald, Reader in Film Studies at the University of Kent, UK, about her new book Doris Day Confidential: Hollywood Sex and Stardom (London: I B Tauris, 2013).This book poses as a central question, amongst others, “Why do we assume Doris Day always plays a virgin?” In previous work (the edited collection Virgin Territory, 2010, and an article on Rock Hudson from 2007 - see details here) Jeffers McDonald has examined what ‘playing a virgin’ might mean and consist of; now she turns her attention to how this dominant idea has been circulated, through studying the film fan periodicals which advanced and then froze Day’s stardom, a methodology she explores in detail in this interview. Please visit the Film Studies For Free full website entry on Studying Movie Magazines and Fan Culture! Online Research and Methodology Resources for further information about this interview.

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Welcome to the podcast channel for the Film Studies For Free website. Founded in August 2008, FSFF is a pluralist, pro bono, and purely positive web-archive of examples of, links to, and comment on, online, Open Access, film and moving image studies resources of note. FSFF is lovingly tended (in a personal capacity) by Catherine Grant, of Film Studies at the University of Sussex.