2017 Best Monograph Winner

Helen Wheatley (University of Warwick), Spectacular Television: Exploring Televisual Pleasure, I. B. Tauris

Comments by the panel: This is an incredibly broad-ranging piece of work, in terms of topics covered, methodologies used, discourses occupied and expertise displayed. It’s fresh, intelligent throughout, and deftly puts forward a well-argued thesis on the exhibitionist qualities – the visual – of television. There are fascinating historical accounts of the ‘Telekinema’ at the Festival of Britain, and on colour, interrogating issues of the decorative and the pretty. Section II on Beautiful Television deals with ‘quality’ natural history programmes and makes an important case for the consideration of aesthetics.  Whether discussing the ‘contemplative’ gaze at spectacular landscape, the history of ‘Holiday’ broadcasting, the medicalised spectacle of the human body, or the way visual desire is constructed by television, Wheatley is in command of her work, and expresses everything wonderfully. Nothing about this book is less than a joy to read.

2017 Best Monograph Runner-up

Tom Rice (University of St Andrews), White Robes, Silver Screens: Movies and the Making of the Ku Klux Klan, Indiana University Press

Comments by the panel: A fascinating study, admirably researched and escaping the limitations of the cinema screen to offer a detailed, fresh exploration of the Klan phenomenon generated around Birth of a Nation and later films. Key themes of Americanism and citizenship in the wake of WW1 are covered. The ways Griffiths’ film legitimated the modern re-launch of the Klan (or how the film was adopted by the Klan for propagandising purposes) are explored brilliantly. Rice goes on to examine moments of interaction between the Klan and Hollywood – protesting against Chaplin for example – for perceived mockery of Protestantism. He digs deeply into the Klan’s complex motivations for censorship and looks at the Klan’s role as a producer of film. What this study amounts to is a genuinely fascinating and admirably researched study of how the Klan positioned itself within American culture and used cinema to do so.

2017 Best Monograph Honourable Mention

Mattias Frey (University of Kent), Extreme Cinema, Rutgers

Comments by the panel: Frey’s book is superbly researched and makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of contemporary extreme cinema and its place in film culture.  The book is impressive and original in its engagement with the apparatus of production, distribution and exhibition of extreme cinema, and it is refreshing to see this approached from an institutional perspective.

2017 Best Edited Collection Winner

Lucy Bolton (Queen Mary University of London) & Julie Lobalzo Wright (University of Warwick), Lasting Screen Stars, Palgrave

Comments by the panel: The international scope of the book is excellent at the start of the book, seemingly signalling a book stretching beyond Hollywood and the analyses, although large Anglo-American offer a wide range of discussions. The chapters are grouped together effectively and are well-edited by Bolton and Lobalzo Wright, presenting a coherent balance between genders. Of most interest in the book is the theme of aging, given the lack of work on this generally within the field and feels timely at a point where what a screen star is has shifted substantially back to Barthes’ evocation of the star as event. The discussion of aging is what makes this book distinctive against the many other books we see on film stars and marks out its originality for the reader. Utterly enjoyable to read and entirely relevant for those teaching star studies, celebrity of aging and the body.

2017 Best Edited Collection Runner-up

Sally Faulkner (University of Exeter), Middlebrow Cinema, Routledge

Comments by the panel: Middlebrow Cinema’s discussion of oft-ignored films raises interesting modern questions which take us back to the canon and the anti-canonical in film analysis. It offers the reader something which encourages us to ask questions and is impressive in its international scope. The chapters are well-edited and the introduction is particularly effective in positioning the middlebrow and reminding readers of the context in which films such as these remain. Some of the arguments are perhaps well-trodden in the classroom but the book brings together discussions which never rest on easy assumptions about the high, the middle and the low.  A stimulating and provoking read which is of value to anyone teaching international cinema and questions of taste or issues of cinema and class.

2017 Best Edited Collection Honourable Collection

Jean-Michel Frodon & Dina Iordanova (University of St Andrews), Cinemas of Paris, St Andrews

Comments by the panel: This work affectionately catalogues not only the cinemas of Paris but their role in the socio-cultural environment of the city, from policy to picture-goer. The potential audience for the collection is wide, beyond the normal avenues of academia and true cinema aficionados will find the memories and history within the book fascinating. The collection also, though, raises good questions for academics reviewing collections such as this and the book stood out from the other entries as doing something very different. That said, some of the most useful texts for researchers are in books such as these which capture a moment and a place and remind us that films are not only the images we see but the experiences we have. A warm, enjoyable book to read which those teaching French cinema or spectator histories, or cinema and space should find useful for reading lists.

2017 Best Practice Research

Winner: Sara Penrhyn Jones (Bath Spa University), TIMELINE (30 mins)

Runner-up: Alex Nevill (Ravensbourne), Virtual Illumination: Lighting Across Live-Action and Computer-Generated Images (15 min Video Essay; 3 min Single Channel Version; 1’20” Installation Documentation)

Honourable Mention: Lizzie Thynne and Ed Hughes (both University of Sussex), Brighton: Symphony of a City (48 mins)

You can find links to the above films on the Screenworks website here.

2017 Best Journal Article

Winner: Cecilia Sayad (University of Kent), Found-Footage Horror and the Frame’s Undoing, Cinema Journal 55(2)

Runner-up: Andrew Spicer and Steve Presence (University of the West of England), Autonomy and Dependency in Two Successful UK Film and Television Companies: An Analysis of RED Production Company and Warp Films, Film Studies 14(1)

Honourable Mention: Mario Slugan (University of Warwick), Late 1920s Film Theory and Criticism as a Test-Case for Benjamin’s Generalizations on the Experiential Effects of Editing, Early Popular Visual Culture 14(3)

2017 Best Doctoral Student Article or Chapter

Winner: Ana Grgić (University of St Andrews), Rediscovering Nationalism in the Balkans: The Early Moving Image in Contemporary Memorial Spaces, Studies in Eastern European Cinemas 7(3)

Runner-up: Kirsty Sinclair Dootson (Yale University), “The Hollywood Powder Puff War”: Technicolor Cosmetics in the 1930s, Film History 28(1)

Honourable Mention: Marie-Alix Thouaille (University of East Anglia), “Nice White Ladies Don’t Go Around Barefoot”: Racing the White Subjects of The Help (Tate Taylor, 2011), Alphaville 10