2020 Awards: Best Monograph
Winner (Best Monograph 2020)
Austin Fisher (Bournemouth)
Blood in the Streets: Histories of Violence in Italian Crime Cinema (Edinburgh, 2019)
Austin Fisher's study of crime films in Italy's anni de piombi or Years of Lead is an excellently written and exemplarily conducted investigation into a large corpus of films. Its research methods - organised analysis of Italian newspaper reviews and their discussion of the films' seriality, as well as critical reception patterns in US newspaper reviews - consistently impress. The book should prove to be a landmark study in the field, for scholars and students.
Runner-up (Best Monograph 2020)
Sarah Street (Bristol) and Joshua Yumibe (Michigan State)
Chromatic Modernity: Color, Cinema, and Media of the 1920s (Columbia, 2019)
As the authors of previous studies of cinematic colour, Sarah Street and Joshua Yumibe were ideally placed to jointly take on the major project of 'Chromatic Modernity', whose funding by the Leverhulme Trust also allowed postdoctoral researchers to access archival and library resources across Europe and the US. This is a wide-ranging, finely illustrated and truly interdisciplinary historical study as worthy of an art history award as a BAFTSS one!
Honourable Mention (Best Monograph 2020)
Cecilia Mello (University of São Paulo)
The Cinema of Jia Zhangke: Realism and Memory in Chinese Film (Bloomsbury, 2019)
Cecilia Mello's study of Jia Zhangke, China's leading independent director, brilliantly counterbalances the impulses towards realism and intermediality she finds in Zhangke's work. Its foreword by Walter Salles backs up Salles's and Mello's claim that Zhangke is the most important world film director of the twenty-first century so far, and Mello's thorough knowledge and understanding of Chinese cultures of this period underpins the book's location of memory between the realist impulse and the impure multilayeredness of Zhangke's films.
2020 Awards: Best Edited Collection
Winner (Best Edited Collection 2020)
William Proctor (Bournemouth) and Richard McCulloch (Huddersfield)
Disney’s Star Wars: Forces of Production, Promotion and Reception (Iowa, 2019)
This impressive book opens up discussion beyond the filmic aspects of the Star Wars universe, addressing audience reception, theme parks, computer games and Disney princesses; the sections on transmedia and race are particularly enlightening. A particular strength is the way in which all the chapters work together to produce a volume that is cohesive, comprehensive, and well balanced.
Runner-Up (Best Edited Collection 2020)
Nea Ehrlich (Ben Gurion) and Jonathan Murray (Edinburgh College of Art)
Drawn From life: Issues and Themes in Animated Documentary Cinema (Edinburgh 2018)
This collection addresses an under-studied area of research, and is carefully structured to advance the reader’s knowledge. It includes theoretical approaches as well as practice-led research, enriching its contribution to scholarship on animated documentary cinema. It ill suit many reading lists on the topic because of its clear narrative, contextual and historical information, and variety of case studies.
Honourable Mention (Best Edited Collection 2020)
Louis Bayman (Southampton) and Natália Pinazza (Exeter)
Journeys on Screen: Theories, Ethics, Aesthetics (Edinburgh, 2018)
Journeys on Screen is a strong volume with varied focal points. It includes a comprehensive selection of chapters on Eastern European cinema, but also extends its lens to Latin American cinema and Indie US cinema, among others. There is work from a diverse range of scholars at different stages of their careers, and the conversation between established academics and early career researchers is fruitful and impressive.
This collection is important in its timeliness and address of current political issues. Its case studies skillfully combine textual analysis with critical reflection on national identities in the global context.
2020 Awards: Best Practice Research Portfolio
Many thanks to our independent panel of judges, and to BAFTSS EC Member Agnieszka Piotrowska for her work looking after our Association’s Practice Awards:
Eylem Atakav, University of East Anglia
Charlotte Crofts, University of West England
Ian McDonald, Newcastle University (moving image – documentary & fiction)
Kiki Tianqi Yu, Queen Mary (moving image – documentary & fiction)
Shreepali Patel, Anglia Ruskin University
Agnieszka Piotrowska, University of Bedfordshire (Chair)
Category: Essay/Experimental Winner (Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020)
This is a really haunting and also very timely film, with a very strong research statement, which interweaves memory, archive and voiceover to explore the liminal spaces between present and past and the borders between cultures and nations. An original idea around collaborative work as method: both filmmakers have a relationship to Cyprus via their father's military work, and the film interrogates and unpacks the patriarchal and colonial legacies not only of their personal narratives, but also the story of Nicosia itself, as the only divided capital in Europe. A moving depiction of recollections of childhood, the film questions the concept of home; the ‘here’ and ’there’, reflecting on images of conflict and bringing together the personal and the political. It feels very apposite in our post-Brexit times.
Essay/Experimental Runner-Up (Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020)
Music and Clowns
A very moving family portrait which uses voiceovers brought to life in animation, drawing and home-movies to tell the story of the filmmaker's brother who has Down Syndrome. The statement situates this film within a political context, advocating for the Down Syndrome community in the face of increased screening and potentially higher abortion rates. As a whole the submission is exemplary practice-research, not only in terms of activist filmmaking, but also exploring documentary form and the use of animation. Powerful and carefully structured while reflecting on the concept of documentary. An impactful project both in terms of its aims, visuals and research.
Essay/Experimental Honourable Mention (Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020)
Female Human Animal
This is also a highly original and accomplished piece of research, exploring female sexuality and agency through a docu-fiction centering on writer Chloe Aridjis's opening of a retrospective of surrealist artist Leonora Carrington at the Tate, Liverpool. The film interweaves documentary enactment (people playing versions of themselves) and a kind of psychological thriller (reminiscent of De Palma's Dressed to Kill and Dario Argento's The Bird With the Crystal Plumage at points, as well as having undertones of Jane Campion's In The Cut). It takes the audience to a journey between ‘reality’ and fiction; between documentary and fiction with overtones of an experimental and surrealist visual style, including creative use of an 80s VHS camera. A thought-provoking take on modern life relationships and gender politics.
Moving Image (Documentary & Image) Winner (Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020)
This is my Face
This is a really powerful and formally innovative documentary film project. In exploring the experiences of men with HIV in Chile, the filmmaker provides a stellar example of how documentary practice-led research can produce emotionally moving and politically relevant films that are accessible to a discerning audience whilst also advancing film practice as an academic form of enquiry to produce a significant contribution to knowledge. It is a beautifully shot film and very effectively edited that allows the impactful stories and ‘statements’ produced by the men through their photographic projects to emerge without being sentimental or objectifying. This is testament to the close relationship and trust built up between filmmakers and their subjects. Overall an excellent film underpinned by a strong research statement.
Moving Image (Documentary & Image) Runner-up (Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020)
Rules of Engagement
A beautifully shot series of films that yield rich sociological insight into the power and complexities of social protocol in group behaviour. Subtle and restrained in its treatment, the films nonetheless paint a disturbing, almost dystopic, picture of social groups, be it families, work settings, or social groups through everyday / routine interactions. The films are underpinned by a formally interesting method that problematises the attempts to draw fixed lines between documentary and fiction. A well-articulated research statement supports the practice, and makes the case for working across boundaries of moving image practice and narrative film.
Moving Image (Documentary & Image) Joint Honourable Mention (Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020)
Narara and Kiko
An innovative and evocative portrait of an artist and her art-practice set in the context of her home, family and a broader narrative about the closed Turkey-Armenia relations. It is underpinned by a well-articulated and usefully applied research question about the making of ‘cinematic silence’, drawing on influences from slow cinema and observational documentary practice. The film itself is very well crafted with strong cinematography, on-location sound recording and creative editing (notably around mix of colour and black and white). As to be expected there is creative use of diegetic sounds beyond the frame. A very interesting project that draws attention to the importance of cinematic silence as a form of sound in film practice.
Moving Image (Documentary & Image) Joint Honourable Mention (Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020)
This is an engaging feature-length documentary film based on a very impressive research project. Strong scripting and effective editing of the extensive in-depth filmed interviews and film clips combine to advance a compelling and convincing argument about the distinctiveness and significance of other art forms in the development of Brazillian cinema. The film makes an original and strong contribution to knowledge about the cinema in Brazil and in Film Studies more generally.
Installations and Video Essays Special Mentions (Best Practice Research Porfolio 2020)
Two special mentions only. This is a category which is difficult to assess without a benefit of a gallery space and so we decided to give the Special Mention to these two (no winners therefore).
Passages of Light
It is a interesting gallery piece. The work offers observations on how the author’s research operates reframing the dialogue around light within an exhibition space in an innovative way. We felt the commentary around the projections pieces was as interesting as the images – but as mentioned before it is hard to assess without the proper context. We applaud the ambition and would like to be able to assess the work in an exhibition.
Anna Sowa and Almut Hintze
Living Zoroastrianism VR Installation (Chouette Films)
We found the piece and informative and creative, dealing with ancient cultures and rituals, using new VR technology to evoke both the sense of the place and the experience of strangeness in terms of visiting unknown spaces. The work offers a strong contribution to the field of anthropology too as well as creative practice research. It has a documentary aspect which we found fascinating. As above we found it hard to assess its ‘VRness’ without proper equipment and would welcome an opportunity to do so.
2020 Awards: Best Journal Article
Winner (Best Journal Article 2020)
Ana Cristina Mendes (University of Lisbon)
‘Surviving The Jungle Book: Trans-temporal Ventriloquism in Ian Iqbal Rashid’s Surviving Sabu’
Journal of British Cinema and Television, 15:4, pp.532-52
This lively article unpicks the history and sexualisation of Sabu. It demonstrates a breath of knowledge in connecting postcolonialism and adaptation studies, and is well attuned to intersectional politics. Simply and clearly written, but complex in its thinking, it is particularly effective in its use of the key concept of ventriloquism
Runner-Up (Best Journal Article 2020)
Steve Presence (UWE)
‘Organizing Counter-cultures: Challenges of structure, organization and sustainability in the Independent Filmmakers Association and the Radical Film Network’
Screen, 60:3, pp. 428-48
This article questions the concept of a network or organisation whose common interest is challenging the dominant ideologies and power structures. It is an important piece of history, copiously referenced, lucid and passionate, and very engaged at both the academic, political - and personal - levels.
Joint Honourable Mention (Best Journal Article 2020)
Keith Johnston (UEA) and Carolyn Rickards (Bristol)
‘The Spectacle of Realism: Special effects at Ealing Studios, 1940–45’
Screen, 60:2, pp. 261-79
A very thorough and well researched account of special effects in wartime documentary film, this article is a useful and intriguing piece of archival and historical research. It champions lesser-known studio-based effects groups and considers how special effects were organised and lost.
Joint Honourable Mention (Best Journal Article 2020)
Andrew Spicer (UWE)
‘A Regional Company? RED Production and the Cultural Politics of Place’
Journal of British Cinema and Television, 17:1, pp.273-304
This is an important piece of work on RED as a regional company, focussing on cultural context rather than the economic rationale of regional production companies. It offers a strong historical account, demonstrating excellent research, clarity of approach, and coherent arguments.
2020 Awards: Best Doctoral Student Article or Chapter
Winner (Best Doctoral Student Article or Chapter 2020)
Patrick Adamson (St Andrews)
‘American History at the Foreign Office: Exporting the Silent Epic Western’
Film History, 31: 2, pp.32-59
A detailed and sophisticated reading of two classic films from the late-silent era, this makes a valuable contribution to discourses around the national and transnational, as well as to studies of the Western. It is intricate and precise in terms of detail and cultural development of the Western, while also counterbalancing it with international audience marketing, reception and the importance of the work in transnational and international contexts beyond its American subject matter and focus.
Runner-Up (Best Doctoral Student Article or Chapter 2020)
Joseph Jenner (King’s College)
'Gendering the Anthropocene: Female Astronauts, Failed Motherhood and the Overview Effect’
Science Fiction Film and Television, 12:1, pp.103-25
This essay engages with topics of great contemporary relevance and importance through an intelligent analysis of a range of contemporary sci-fi films and television series. Its analysis is both provocative and persuasive, but also highly nuanced. The choice of texts is strong, the writing confident, and the subject matter extremely timely.
Honourable Mention (Best Doctoral Student Article or Chapter 2020)
Erin Wiegand (Northumbria)
‘The Margins of Mondo'
Film International, 17:2 (88), pp.15-23
This essay makes a valuable contribution to the study of exploitation cinema by tracing the parallels and links between the Italian ‘mondo’ films and American sexploitation films of the 1960s. It is notable for the way in which it brings genre study and the analysis of marketing materials together to provide a nuanced understanding of the way in which exploitation films are situated.
2020 Awards: Postgraduate Poster Competition
Winner (Postgraduate Poster Competition 2020)
Liam Creighton (University of Kent)
Cine-Map: The Cinematic United Kingdom
Please visit the website for this research project here.
Runner-up (Postgraduate Poster Competition 2020)
Georgia Brown (Queen Mary University of London)
A Voice over Time
Honourable Mention (Postgraduate Poster Competition 2020)
Poppy Qian Zhai (University College London)
A Small Nation Encounters a Big Country: Sino-Danish Collaborations as a New Cross-cultural Interaction on Screen
You can view all the shortlisted posters here.