Graduate Students

Film and Screen Media offers a full suite of highly regarded graduate degrees: taught MA, MRes, and two PhD programmes – the PhD in Film and Screen Media and the PhD in Film and Screen Media (Creative Practice). The Department hosts a thriving graduate studies community: our students are exposed to a rich and stimulating research environment and to a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary opportunities including conferences, research seminars and master classes with artists and professionals.

Our doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers avail of many opportunities to develop both discipline-specific and transferable skills. Working with leading academics in their areas of expertise, they are trained in editorial skills through their membership of the board of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media. They also regularly participate in conference and event organisation, and avail of our state-of-the-art facilities for the teaching and learning of film – including a digital cinema and two editing labs fully equipped with the latest versions of industry-standard software tools.

Our graduate students and postdoctoral researchers have been repeatedly successful in securing highly competitive funding including Government of Ireland awards. You can read more about our current students and researchers below:

Davide Abbatescianni

Davide Abbatescianni is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, where he holds an Excellence Doctoral Scholarship. His research project, supervised by Prof Laura Rascaroli and Dr Barry Monahan, is entitled  Young Filmmakers in the Time of the Great Recession: A Focus on the Irish and Italian Film Industries and comprises an academic dissertation and the making of a feature documentary. He holds a Professional Diploma in Stage Directing (International Theatre Academy of the Adriatic), a BA in Communication Studies (University of Bari Aldo Moro) and an MA in Documentary Film Directing (Tallinn University Baltic Film, Media, Arts, and Communication School). His research interests principally focus on European cinema, the European film industry, creative practice and the documentary film. He currently works as a foreign correspondent for the EU-funded film magazine Cineuropa. He is also a film practitioner active as a director and assistant director. 

Supervisors: Prof. Laura Rascaroli and Dr Barry Monahan

Title of PhD thesis:  Young Filmmakers in the Time of the Great Recession: A Focus on the Irish and Italian Film Industries

Summary: Abbatescianni's doctoral project, comprising the completion of a written dissertation and the making of a documentary feature film, investigates the effects of the Great Recession on the European film industries, focusing in particular on the work and career prospects of young filmmakers today. The project, which takes the Irish and Italian film industries as case studies, explores what financial solutions have been found by debutant filmmakers to produce and distribute their films, and whether these have influenced their artistic output and left visible traces in their works, through aesthetic, technical or narrative choices. Particular attention is also paid to how the concept of crisis itself has shaped their work. The theoretical and analytical study is accompanied by a related practical fieldwork, using the interview as a research methodology. Through their testimonies, young filmmakers narrate their experiences and offer indispensable qualitative insights. 

Michael Holly

Michael Holly is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, where he is developing a practice-based study on participatory documentary filmmaking. He holds a MA in Visual Arts Practice from Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Michael has exhibited widely as a video, sound and installation artist, in parafictional and documentary investigations into cultural, national and local identities. His research interests focus on the intersection of contemporary art and documentary film, new technologies and strategies in participatory filmmaking, and representations of the GAA as a cultural institution in contemporary documentary film.

Supervisor: Prof. Laura Rascaroli

Title of PhD Thesis: Performative Feedback Filmmaking: Participatory Documentary and Creative Self-Representation in the Community 

Summary: The aim of my practice-based PhD project is to explore the use of participatory filmmaking combined with contemporary art methodologies towards an advanced understanding of issues that underline contemporary documentary. Taking ethnographic filmmaking methodologies as a starting point, and employing strategies from participatory art and installation art, I am developing a series of documentary film installations in collaboration with a rural GAA club. Scholarship on identity, ethics and subjectivity in documentary form a theoretical base for my project. My research explores the use of feedback, cultural immersion, portable video technologies and immersive video installation in the revealing of embodied, collaborative knowledge as a tool for community empowerment.

Carter McCormick

Carter McCormick is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, where he is focusing on developing methods to make wildlife films more effective in impacting species preservation. He holds an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and is the founder of Habitat Productions, a non-profit based production company in the United States which collaborates with parks, conservation groups, and research organizations to create natural history documentaries. In the past he has worked on projects with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, N.O.A.A., People’s National Party of Belize, and the National Parks Arts Foundation. While at UCC Carter has also founded the Ireland Wildlife Film Festival, the first wildlife film festival in Ireland. His work as a wildlife filmmaker explores our relationship with wildlife populations and seeks to give viewers a deeper understanding of individual species, ecological systems, and conservation. 

Supervisor: Dr. Gwenda Young 

Title of Thesis: Developing Wildlife Films That Inspire Conservation

Summary: While wildlife films are widespread in the media marketplace they seldom have an effect in the wild. The central focus of this thesis is to examine how wildlife and conservation filmmakers can formulate their work to have greater impact on species preservation. For the creative component of his research he will be filming a feature length documentary on the aquatic inhabitants in the kelp forest in Bantry Bay, where a battle ensues between conservation activists and corporations proposing the mechanical harvesting of kelp.

James Mulvey

James Mulvey is a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at the University College Cork, where he also teaches. His work has featured in Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media and CinEireann, as well as in national media such as The Irish Examiner and The Irish Independent. James is the international features and documentary programmer for IndieCork Film Festival, and has taught film festival theory at the university. His research interests include art cinema as a tool of social and political critique, European art cinema and film-philosophy. He is a member of the editorial board of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media.

Supervisor: Prof. Laura Rascaroli

Title of PhD thesis: Art Cinema in the Age of Globalisation: Locating an Aesthetic of Violence

Summary: Located within the field of contemporary art cinema and adopting a film-philosophy methodology, my research proffers a new methodological understanding of the modified position of art cinema today, by identifying the violent impact globalisation is having on “being in the world”, and rescuing art cinema from recent accusations of elitism and irrelevancy. Applying conceptual tools developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, my research explores the commonality found in the images of art cinema — the violence impressed upon people and communities by governing institutions. My approach offers a renewed and sustainable perspective for critical analysis for a global art cinema, rescuing it from current methodological limitations, which culturally disempower art cinema as highbrow or inaccessible. Finally, this film-philosophical study of violence forces new broader disciplinary questions and, consequently, engages with already-embedded questions in the areas of genre and identity politics.

Daniel O’Connell

Daniel O’Connell is Practitioner in Residence in the Department of Film and Screen Media at University College Cork. He has earned an MRes in Film and Screen Media, with a thesis titled Body Horror Revisted: A New Wave of Body Horror Films Directed by Women under the supervision of Dr Gwenda Young. He has recently collaborated with Dr Gwenda Young on a Creative Ireland/UCC funded project titled “Movie Memories”, which explored memories of cinemagoers in rural areas of Cork, Ireland. He has over twenty years of experience as a creative practitioner and is an award-winning filmmaker of short and feature length films and documentaries, which have been screened at film festivals both locally and internationally. He is a Director at SUPEREGO, a high-quality video production company with large multinational clients and a founding member of egomotion.net, an online filmmaking hub with over four hundred members, where filmmakers can share knowledge and resources and participate in each other's projects. Egomotion has also hosted various screenings, workshops and meet-and-greets in order to promote local filmmaking talent.

Supervisor: Dr Gwenda Young, Advisor: Dr Ciara Chambers.

Title of PhD thesis:  New Social Experiences of Irish Film Exhibition: The Changing Shape of Film Exhibition in Ireland From 2010 to the Present Day.

Summary: The central purpose of the thesis is to examine the efforts being made to lure audiences back to the cinema in Ireland since 2010, and to explore whether alternative film exhibition practices provide fruitful avenues for audiences to return to more social and visceral cinema-going experiences. The proposed project combines theoretical and historical analysis with a creative practice portfolio, comprising of four short documentaries on a number of exhibition experiences. 

Nicholas O’Riordan

Originally from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Nicholas O’Riordan graduated with a BA in English and Geography in University College Cork in 2010, he went on to complete an MA in Film Studies at UCC where he completed a thesis titled Dublin’s Fair City?: Representations of Dublin City in Contemporary Irish Film under the supervision of Dr Barry Monahan. O’Riordan’s research interests include Irish cinema, national cinemas, film theory, socio-linguistics and representations of group identity in film. His writing has featured in Film Ireland and in the edited collection Ireland and Cinema: Culture and Contexts (2015). He has co-organised international film conferences and co-edited for Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media. He also works as a filmmaker.

Supervisor: Dr Barry Monahan

Title of PhD thesis: Inflections and Representations of Accents in Irish Cinema

Summary: Against a history of politicisation of the Irish language, and the more recent politicisation of Irish accents in contemporary culture, this thesis questions the representations and receptions of Irish accents in recent cinema. Focusing on a range of contemporary Irish films, this thesis examines the ‘mis-representation’ of Irish accents on screen, as well as the position of accent as a marker of identity against a backdrop of Celtic Tiger/Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.

Humberto Saldanha

Humberto Saldanha is an Irish Research Council (IRC) Postgraduate Scholar and a PhD candidate in Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, where he is developing a study of the cosmopolitan aspect of contemporary Brazilian cinema. He completed a BA in Communication Studies and an MRes in Communication and Contemporary Culture at Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), Brazil. His research interests include world cinemas, cosmopolitanism, cinema and the (post)nation, Brazilian cinema, film festivals and sites of film circulation and distribution. He is a member of the editorial board of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, for which he recently co-edited a special issue on cosmopolitanism and cinema.

Supervisor: Prof. Laura Rascaroli

Title of PhD thesis: The Cosmopolitanism of Contemporary Global Cinema: Strategies of Internationalisation in Brazilian Cinema Today

Summary: My research aims to understand the processes of internationalisation of contemporary cinemas outside Hollywood, and their development of distinctive patterns of style and national representation appealing to non-domestic audiences, within a conflicted context of transnational encounters, consumption of ethnicity and hostility to the different other. The aims will be achieved by adopting cosmopolitanism as a methodological framework and by studying the circulation of recent Brazilian productions at international arenas of film appreciation and consumption. Understanding cosmopolitanism as an approach that implies an aesthetic openness to foreign cultures, it will be possible to investigate how Brazilian cinema negotiates its otherness and cultural difference as a manner to engage with foreign audiences.

Department of Film and Screen Media

Meáin Scannán agus Scáileán

O'Rahilly Building University College Cork Ireland

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