UNSW consistently tops the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) rankings for Film, Television and Digital Media in Australia. In 2018, we received the highest rating of 5 (well above world standard) for the fourth consecutive round.

Our major concentrations of film studies expertise include film and critical theory, American independent cinema, comedy, film philosophy, performance, allegory in film, documentary, and a range of national and regional cinemas (South-East Asian, Australian, Russian, German, Iranian, French and Italian).

Activities & grants

Our film studies researchers at UNSW School of the Arts & Media frequently publish in top international presses and journals and are highly successful in the annual Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Discovery and Linkage Grant schemes. Recent grants include ‘Remembering Sydney’s post-war Greek neighbourhoods: 1949-1972’; ‘Robert Frank: experimentation across film and photography in post-war America’; ‘Film as philosophy: what is cinematic thinking?’ and ‘William Faulkner between cinema and literature.’ Our scholars regularly present at key international conferences and provide expert commentary across several fields.  

Our vibrant research culture includes collaboration across academic staff, honours and postgraduate students. We have a regular schedule of visiting speakers, research seminars, staff-led reading groups, workshops and symposia, as well as conferences. Each year, our school hosts Dial S For Screen Studies, the Sydney Screen Studies Network Annual Conference, which attracts speakers from around Australia and across the world. 

Community engagement & outreach

Film studies academics have directorial responsibility for the Persian Film Festival, Russian Resurrection Film Festival, Short+Sweet Film Festival, NOX Night Cinema and the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival. 

Our publications 

  • Jodi Brooks, “Olive Kitteridge (Lisa Cholodenko, 2014), quality television and difficult women: female discontent in the age of binge-viewing,” Feminist Media Studies, 19:7 (2019)
  • Greg Dolgopolov, “New Australian crime drama,” in Australian Genre Film eds Mark David Ryan and Kelly McWilliam (Routledge, 2021)
  • George Kouvaros, “El Sur (The South), or the memory of cinema,” Movie, Issue 9 (2020)
  • Michelle Langford, Allegory in Iranian cinema: the aesthetics of poetry and resistance (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019)
  • Jane Mills, “Embracing diversity: screen education, movie magic and creative borderlands,” Screen Literacy: Education Through Visual Media Expression, Vol 1. (Niigata University, 2019)
  • Amin Palangi, Common Ground, Feature Film (in development, 2019)
  • Lisa Trahair, “Stoicism, causality, divine providence and comedy in Buster Keaton’s The General,” in The Object of Comedy: Philosophies and Performances, eds Jamila Mascat and Gregor Moder (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).