Star Wars stormtrooper cosplayer, Birmingham UK

Film studies research

Explore our work in film studies, one of our areas of research expertise in Film and Media

Within our film studies research we explore the relationship between film, screen studies and communities. We have a comprehensive approach and are interested in representation, industry and production, fan communities and film language.

Film and screen cultures saturate all aspects of our life and our research is part of a project to highlight, interpret, decode and challenge cultural forms.

Many of our researchers in this area have transnational research networks, with colleagues in film and media studies departments across the globe – and our work on fan cultures in particular represents a significant body of work that has had direct impact on public knowledge and the promotion of popular media culture and fandom outside of academia through our participation in fan conventions and Comic Con.

We also have specialisms in horror and the gothic, propaganda and politics in the media, animation and film and television, Transnational Cinema, and Latin American Cinema.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Fandom and popular culture
  • History and theory of animation
  • Hollywood film
  • British film
  • Digital content
  • Horror
  • Transmedia storytelling
  • Adaptation
  • Comics and film
  • Latin American film
  • Transnational film and television
  • Gender and film and television
  • Women's filmmaking
  • Queer theory and film and television
  • Film and migration


Our research methods include theoretical approaches from fan studies, feminism, genre studies, postcolonialism, philosophical approaches, and queer theory. We also engage with data and statistical approaches, industry and archival approaches, and textual and paratextual analysis.


Locally, we have partnerships with Comic Con and its annual events in Portsmouth with interventions by staff and students who organise panels for the public. We also have partnerships with Portsmouth Film Society with films regularly introduced by our staff members and researchers.


Our researchers are engaged in individual projects that have resulted in significant articles and publications in the areas of film, television and the representation of the Bosnian War, European extreme cinema, women’s filmmaking in Latin America, migration and film, film and fandom, film funding and world cinema, filmmaking in Israel and Palestine, Filmmaking in 1960s America, and fantasy films.

Our work has also been covered by mainstream news outlets around the world, including ABC Australia, and NTN24 in Colombia.

Recent highlights

Channel 4 and British Film Culture (2010-2014)
The project’s research involved 3 elements: a 30-year history of Film4 as a feature film producer, a survey of the breadth of Channel 4’s broadcast film content (including purchased film, commissioned independent film and video, animation, shorts and magazine programmes), and the Channel 4 Press Pack database, produced in collaboration with the BUFVC. The project also involved extensive archival research and interviews with over 30 current and former employees at Channel 4 and notable figures in the British film industry.

Fifty Years of British Music Video, 1964-2014 (2015-2017)
This 2-year AHRC-funded project was led by PI Dr Justin Smith at the University of Portsmouth, and Dr Emily Caston at the London College of Communication UAL, to examine the history of British music video since the 1960s.

Our members

Deborah Anne Shaw Portrait

Professor Deborah Shaw

Professor of Film and Screen Studies

PhD Supervisor

Read more

Discover our areas of expertise

Film studies is one of 3 areas of expertise within our Film and Media research. Explore the others below.

Conflict and Culture

Through our research in this area of expertise, we're analysing the artistic treatment of social crisis and military conflict, and how they're represented through media.

Read more

Media Cultures

We're exploring new cultures of production and consumption to understand how media audiences are becoming content creators. Explore our media cultures research.

Read more

Interested in a PhD in Film & Media?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Film & Media postgraduate research degrees page.