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: 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: 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.