The Cinematologists: Season 9 Highlights & New(ish) Projects

Season 9 is in full swing and I wanted to draw attention to some of the episodes because it feels like we are really pushing into new and exciting territory with the podcast. We recently concluded two three-parters, a double trilogy if you will, and within all that material is some of our best and most exciting and most original material to date.


We seized on the chance afforded by press accreditation to go to town at the 2019 Berlin film festival. it was a really magical experience personally. It felt like a culmination of a a strand of my personal trajectory as a film critic, covering a major film festival on my own terms. Recording and editing on the go, talking with filmmakers and fellow critics and getting it all on tape was exhilarating. I’m eternally grateful for Dario for his support and it was awesome that he made it out and did a great first episode featuring his exploits.

The whole Berlinale collection can be heard here.

BFI Comedy Genius

The latest episode up now, is the final of three we recorded in partnership with the BFI Fan Network. We delivered 3 episodes with BFI funding around the theme of comedy. The first two episodes were traditional Cinematologists episodes around Duck Soup and then Clueless, with film critic and friend Ryan Gilbey picking and co-presenting the latter screening. The final episode was pretty new territory for us though, a real exploration. Over the period the BFI season ran, November through February, I recorded various filmmakers, critics, academics and others discussing their favourite screen performances for an episode that was largely them, interspersed with clips from said films. It was so much fun (and work!) listening to passionate people discussing what makes them laugh. There were some obvious favourite moments personally, but most thrilling was listening to Dario discuss Jack Nicholson’s performance in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s a great piece of audio criticism and reminiscence and another reminder of how lucky I am to collaborate with him on this thing.

Anyway. We’ve got a lot of episodes now, and I’m proud of all of them, but if I had to say start somewhere, I’d point you here to these episodes. I mean, who doesn’t need a good laugh and some escapism right now?

Check out our BFI episode (and find all recent episodes) over at our home on Podbean here.

New(ish) Projects

In a previous post I announced mine and Dario and Richard Berry’s book on podcasting was out. Well I’m pleased to announce the accompanying podcast season has now been launched and is now live. The series and adjacent twitter account is titled New Aural Cultures, the subtitle of the book, and Dario and I hope it becomes a locus of activity around our burgeoning research into podcasting in/and academia. On that horizon there are some exciting projects on the horizon that it’s WAY too early to talk about but we hope that they will come online soon and tag on to the activity we are doing now. We’ve already had people interested in publishing under the New Aural Cultures banner, which is exciting and validating. The first episode is the three of us as book editors talking thematically about podcasting as a companion piece. You can listen here or below:

We hope you like it. If you do, why not follow us on Twitter here.

The Cinematologists: Season 8 Preview & Podcasting Book

Season 8

We (Dario and me) are sitting in a cafe in Falmouth as I write this, making plans for the new season, which will be number 8, incredibly. 

We are investing in new equipment courtesy of our loyal Patreon subscribers, working out how we can make the most of the developments, opportunities, partnerships and growth we've experienced and benefitted from over the first 7 seasons, and working out how we can get the podcast out to even more listeners via Spotify and different hosting platforms.

Content wise we are looking at what we do and how we can be smarter in terms of managing workload but also maximising the impact of having so many great people wanting to participate and screen films for the show. The brilliant Andrew Kötting episode that Dario oversaw made us think about the structure of our shows, and we've also been rethinking what the bonus episodes should be so that our subscribers are getting something unique for their subscription fee.

Guests and episode wise it's going to be a really great season with superb guests hosting screenings with us, us on the road working with new and existing partners and a season where again we can hopefully introduce new films and filmic voices to audiences.

We are loving the work and the opportunities the podcast has led to and can't wait to get the new season underway. On a personal note it's also great to do this with Dario in the same room. This is a really rewarding creative and professional endeavour, mainly because of the friendship it came from and has resulted in and the shared joy and challenge it offers. Here's to season 8. Watch this space -

Podcasting Book

Over the last couple of years Dario and I have been working, with co-editor Richard Berry on an edited collection for Palgrave Macmillan on podcasting. It is the first interdisciplinary overview of the field of podcasting and incorporates theoretical analysis, case studies and interviews. Alongside editing and introduction duties I contribute an interview with acclaimed podcast innovator and comedian Richard Herring. The book can be purchased from Palgrave Macmillan here 

The Cinematologists: Season 7 & Other Shenanigans

The last six months have seen some real leaps taken in the world of The Cinematologists podcast. Season 7 is underway and we've just posted episode 60, which saw us covering the documentary Brexitannia and the Right Now Film Festival who invited us to cover their event.

It was a really great episode to put together, not least because my colleague at the School of Film & Television Luke Smith came down to take some photos to capture the rare sight of me and Dario together in the wild. This is one of the great images he took:

Image - Luke Smith


It was really great to hang out with Dario and work on the podcast and do an episode live together. Before the screening at one of our partner venues The Poly, Luke shot a couple of short videos for our Patreon members and to attract some more. So yes, we've launched a Patreon and the response has been great. It's truly amazing that people are subscribing and supporting. We reckon already we can cover the cost of the website and are just really humbled that we have that kind of loyal fanbase. 

What it has meant also is that we have more outlets for short pieces of audio and written content. The two monthly newsletters we have done so far have allowed me a space to collect the month's cultural consumption that has stood out. I write about films, articles, podcasts and albums that have struck a chord and it's a great way of staying positive in the face of world and film twitter madness. 

The merchandise is coming soon. It's nearly at the top of my to do list. Mark Kermode recently told the world, well Shortlist magazine, that we were his favourite podcast. Lastly for this post, I'd like to flag up episode 56 on contemporary film criticism. I'm really proud of that one. I think it's my best editing job and think the scope of what we achieved and the calibre of guests we had on was exceptional. If you haven't, please check it out. 

I recently wrote a blog, at Dario's suggestion, that furthers the discussion and debate. It seems to be becoming something of a central interest and concern for both of us.

The Cinematologists: Season 6 Underway

Wow, it's been so long since I updated here. I know, I know, for shame to start a blog post with that line, but my lack must be noted.

We finished the last season with episode 50, which felt like a real milestone and gave us a chance to assess where the podcast is and can go. We did this over dinner this summer, which was lovely.

There have been some small changes here and there - I overhauled the website and am currently working on some designs for merchandise. We are introducing some bonus episodes with the longer term aim of having a membership/patreon section. I am also now editing the episodes (so please bear with us while that smoothes out). 

Earlier this year I worked with a colleague at SoFT, Richard Butler to acquire a recording suite, which fits in an easy to carry box and means I am now mobile and can record events solo, anywhere, practically. Again, you might need to bear with us on that as I get it really streamlined. 

Highlights of the last season in terms of interviews and collaborations for me include my chat with the wonderful Lenny Abrahamson, Dario's episode with Hope Dickson Leach and our collaboration with the collective Club Des Femmes, which yielded an incredible chat with B. Ruby Rich that Dario conducted. 

Curzon Aldgate also invited us to do an event and episode around Aki Kaurismäki's latest The Other Side Of Hope, which may be my favourite film of the year so far.

The new season is underway and I am particularly excited to share our in-depth interview episode covering the contemporary state of film criticism. So far we have some amazing interviews with amazing writers and critics. It's going to be amazing.

Catch up here.

The Cinematologists: Season 4 Review

As we speak plans are in motion for season 5 of the podcast and we are working through a couple of special episodes in the meantime.

Season 4 was a really strong one, even if the birth of my daughter and Dario's bicycle accident meant it was a bit shorter than normal. We were really pleased with the calibre of guests we were able to source for the interview segments and felt our rapport and confidence really started to come into its own. The audience were brilliant too and we are delighted that we finally got to kick off a partnership with the wonderful Filmhouse cinema in Newlyn.

The films screened and discussed this season were Memento, Before Sunrise, Lost In Translation, The War Room and Gremlins. There's also a year-end round up where Dario and I discuss the year in film.

The Cinematologists: Broken Embraces at Curzon Bloomsbury

Part two of this year's summer special is special indeed. We were kindly invited by Curzon Bloomsbury to present Almodóvar's Broken Embraces as part of a season celebrating the filmmaker.

It was a brilliant afternoon in a beautiful cinema. We met some listeners and hopefully made some new ones. The response to the film from the audience was great. The post film Q&A features some really great questions and insight.

Listen to the episode, which also features an interview with scholar José Arroyo, here.

The Cinematologists: The Disruptive Journal of Media Practice

We are working on a special episode that will form part of the experimental 'disruptive media' edition of the esteemed Journal of Media Practice. We will be working throughout the summer on creating something experimental of our own, that works as a piece of original content but is also reflexive regarding the form and role of podcasts in academic practice. 

You can follow progress via The Cinematologists or at the Journal's homepage.

The Cinematologists: Season 3 Review

The final episode of our third season has just arrived and it features a Cinematologists highlight for me. I got to interview the brilliant Mark Cousins about his latest film I Am Belfast in a new direction for the podcast, reviewing contemporary releases. 

It's been another strong season I think, with some great contributions from colleagues of mine in Falmouth, and Dario's in Hastings. 

We still need to stretch our screening choices more but that's going to happen I'm sure.

Some of the interviews this season have been amazing - Kim Longinotto, Christina Newland, Kieran Evans, in addition to Cousins.

I was present at the season finale of Old Joy in Hastings, and Dario travelled down to Falmouth for the popular Ex Machina screening. 

There are numerous exciting developments in the pipeline. We are putting together an edited collection that Palgrave is interested in releasing. We are putting together a special podcast (on podcasting) for the Journal of Media Practice. 

Finally for now, we have been invited to present a screening of Broken Embraces at Curzon Bloomsbury as part of their Pedro Almodóvar season in late August. More on that nearer the time, but we can't wait. 

It's been an amazing experience so far. It's a rewarding enterprise and we seem to have really tapped into something that finds resonance. Onwards and upwards.

Check out the most recent season here.


The Cinematologists: Guest Curators @Cureditor

This past week the wonderful site Cureditor have been showing mine and Dario's selections of our favourite podcasts.

You can check them out here, but you better be quick as the site is updated daily. 

It was really fun to be asked and as you can imagine, a nightmare of selection but we think we have covered a good number of our most important and favoured bases. 

The Cinematologists: Making Waves

Last weekend the podcast broke into the top ten film and television podcasts on iTunes. This was a real surprise and a nice validation. We knew that people were listening and engaging because we'd received tweets and emails to that affect. Our 'traffic' is good and we have realised that we have stumbled upon a formula for a successful formula. I say stumbled because our plan was very loose and driven by a passion to do something in a way that we wanted, that would make us happy and provide us with a platform to discuss and disseminate our research. 

We are beyond that now and growing all the time. This is great. It's amazing to be ahead of podcasts like Bret Easton Ellis's, however fleetingly. Podcasts like that one were what inspired us to do it and taught us much about what we wanted our podcast to be. 

To know we are on the right track and that people are listening on that scale (we can't access the data for listenership from iTunes) is humbling and exciting.

Also this week we debuted on Stitcher, which is a great platform and has an android app, so our listenership should grow even more. Also this week we taped a new episode with another great guest presenter and took further steps to more events on the road in collaboration with interesting voices in the world of film and film academia.

These are exciting times for the podcast. Exciting times for me.

The Cinematologists: Port Eliot Festival

This past weekend I represented the little collective that Dario Llinares and I set up earlier this year at a superb literary, arts and music festival here in Cornwall. Dario was sunning himself in Croatia, reading some Hunter S. Thompson that I bought him, as I talked to the Good Doctor's old compadre Ralph Steadman for our podcast.

That was one highlight on a weekend that also saw me talk with Simon Armitage, Caroline Catz, Ceri Levy, Gavin Pretor-Pinney of The Cloud Appreciation Society, Tom Shone and 3-time Oscar winner Sandy Powell.

Interviewing Ralph Steadman, a real hero of mine, was an honour. He was lovely - funny and friendly. I was nervous but think I held it together. He signed my copy of his book about Hunter in his inimitable style and watching him work was mesmerising. Something I will never forget. 

The interview with Tom Shone was great. We talked about Woody Allen as Tom has just written a book on him, due out soon. That was the best film interview I did. The one with Sandy Powell might have been, had I not clammed up midway through. It was a stressful weekend and she was very gracious.

Talking with Simon Armitage was a joy. He is someone I am increasingly interested by and both his voice and manner were soothing and intimate. A lovely experience.

Caroline Catz and I mostly talked about music films, which was great fun.

I hope we can find a way of getting all this onto the airwaves at some point but there is a lot of stuff. Not least because there's also the small question of the Point Blank event we ran. The filmmaker Mark Jenkin guest hosted with me and it was a blast. Even if the audio in the venue was a bit quiet. It was strange and nice to screen it for an audience of curious folk, few of whom were cinephiles and none of whom were undergraduate students. It made me simultaneously appreciate the core event screenings we run and excited to get the thing on the road for diverse crowds of filmgoers. 

I'll update here when the podcast (most likely a two-parter) drops.

The Cinematologists: Season 1

It's been a brilliant few months working on this podcast with my friend and colleague Dr. Dario Llinares. It's been a real learning curve and I think we are about hitting our stride now, 6 films and episodes in. 

We have some great stuff lined up for the summer including taking the podcast to the esteemed Port Eliot Festival where we will screen and discuss Point Blank (dir. Boorman, 1967).

We've also got a science fiction double bill dropping imminently and just planned out a Woody Allen special for late summer, before we return with season 2 once the academic year comes round again.

We are on iTunes. Please subscribe and rate and review. Our next plan, now we are getting some awareness and some great feedback and interactions is to raise even greater awareness. Part of that is getting ratings and reviews on iTunes. 

Next academic year we also aim to roll out on other podcast platforms, write some academic pieces on podcasting for cinema and our experiences, and take the show on the road to other universities. 

Until then, please keep an eye out for summer episodes and if you haven't, check in on iTunes or via our site and listen to us wax lyrical and critical about Repo Man, Bande à part, Whip It, Yojimbo, Bronson and Goodbye Dragon Inn.

The Cinematologists: The Story So Far

In February 2015 myself and colleague Dr. Dario Llinares launched a film podcast. As fans of the format as a way of staying engaged with news, politics and culture as well as for expanding knowledge both academic and arts based we were keen to explore the possibilities.

We are fans of the Greg Proops film club podcast and believe that there is a need for a wider discourse on cinema's place and role in contemporary culture, particularly in our local community and amongst the student body we teach. The result is The Cinematologists, which at the time of writing has screened 5 films to live audiences that have resulted in some fascinating post film discussions. These discussions, plus myself and Dario's pre-film introduction form the core of each episode.

The episodes are supplemented by myself and Dario adding further context to the screening by discussing further a loose theme that springs from the screening choice. There are also interviews with academics, critics and filmmakers and to date the podcast has welcomed director Mark Herman (Brassed Off, Little Voice), Berlin filmmaker Lucian Busse, a group of actors discussing improvisation and influence and academics Dr. Jonhny Walker, and Professor Linda Ruth Williams & Dr. Shelley Cobb.

The films screened to date are Repo Man (1984), Bande A Part (1964), Whip It (2009), Yojimbo (1961) and Bronson (2008). 

As the Bronson and Whip It episodes highlight, The Cinematologists podcast offers a great opportunity for academics to disseminate research to a wider sphere and audience. These episodes directly discuss academic research drawn directly from the screened film and wider issues that the film's are related to in some sense. 

It's been great fun so far. The podcast takes place at the School of Film & Television and is produced by a team of dedicated film students. The branding was created by an MA illustration student at Falmouth University. Working with students on a project like this is so rewarding. We are getting to the end of term so there is one more screening this week. The most recent episode was produced by Dario due to student deadlines. Just trying to get it online at a comparable quality to the student produced episodes has been a challenge and we've learned about how they work to make it sound so good. It's a two-way learning experience. As all experiences should be.

To listen to the episodes, find out information on screenings and subscribe on iTunes visit

We are also on Twitter @cinematologists

Here, I will post links to recent episodes with a short reflection on the screening and response as a way of journaling the process.