University of Leicester eBulletin

Funding for Film Research

January 2003
No 6

A University of Leicester international expert, who teaches on the University’s newly launched BA degree programme, Film Studies and Visual Arts, has received a major grant for a four-year large research project on the theme of Balkan Cinema: Film and History.

Dr Dina Iordanova, who is with the Leicester History of Art Department, is the author of two recent books on themes related to the cinema of the Balkans, both published by the British Film Institute: Cinema of Flames: Balkan Film, Culture and the Media (2001) and Emir Kusturica (2002). Her work was recently recognised by the Arts and Humanities Research Board by awarding her a grant of £98,345 to allow her to expand her study of the rich but little known cinematic tradition of the Balkans (including the cinemas of ex-Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Albania) and explore the specifics of historical filmmaking in the region.

Dr Iordanova comments: ‘The very claim that there is such thing as Balkan culture may sound unacceptable to outsiders. They have been told repeatedly that people in the Balkans do not share a feeling of togetherness, that the culture of each Balkan country stands for itself, separated from the others by linguistic and religious barriers, and that there is more hostility than exchange among the groups in the region.

‘A closer examination of Balkan cultural output, however, reveals an astonishing thematic and stylistic consistency. Cinema in particular testifies to a specific artistic sensibility, possibly coming from shared history and cultural space. We feel we need to develop the study of Balkan cinema – there is no shortage of cinematic traditions here but shortage of scholarship that recognises the affinities within the region.’

The award funds a post-doctoral research position and a PhD studentship. The project will lead to the publication of several volumes compensating for the shortage of English-language scholarship on these European cinematic traditions.

Dr Iordanova’s expertise was recently recognised when she became one of a handful of world film critics invited to compile her 'top ten' best films of all times for the decade’s poll conducted by the leading film magazine Sight and Sound and with her appointment to the Society of Cinema Studies’ Teaching Committee.

The new University of Leicester Film Studies and Visual Arts degree course, which started in September 2002, explores the history and theory of film and visual arts across a wide-ranging span of film-making styles as well as social and aesthetic contexts.

NOTE TO EDITORS:  Further information is available from Dr Dina Iordanova, University of Leicester Department of History of Art, telephone 0116 252 2838, facsimile 0116 252 5128, email di4@le.ac.uk

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