My interest in Film and TV and other screen industries stems from an early fascination with cinema while growing up in Italy, where I was born in Milan on 5 June 1964. I was one of the co-founders (at age 13) of a film club for young people in my home town that had over 300 members and later became the youngest member of the managerial team running the senior film society (with over 700 members).
I worked in a variety of media outlets (especially radio where I co-produced and presented a live show for two years. I also worked in a local TV stations and print magazine). After being awarded two scholarships (one from local government for sustenance, the other from the EU for my fees) I decided to move to the UK to study Film and Literature at University (Warwick). During that time I also worked part-time on several productions, including a professional show for children that aired on Channel 4.
Following an MA in Mass Communication (Leicester) I wrote a PhD in film (on film sound, and Dolby in particular) under the supervision of Prof. Richard Maltby and Prof. Steve Neale (Sheffield Hallam). The research I carried out as part of my thesis allowed me to build a network of contacts with leading industry professionals and executives in some of Hollywood's leading companies, including Lucasfilm, Pixar, Fox, Dolby amongst others. This in turn helped me develop a keen interest in filmmakers and filmmaking practices. This interest, later extended and developed into studios practices and labour practices, as well as filmmaking, now forms the cornerstone of my current and future research. I have published two books in this area as well as a major industry report on studios practices.
I was the founder of the Institute for Screen Industries Research at the University of Nottingham in Sept. 2011 and continue to serve as its director today.
I am a leading industry expert and scholar in the film and screen industries, combining a unique blend of experience consulting for world leading film and TV organisations (Lucasfilm/Disney, Fox, Sony, the Oscars), cutting edge research and impact track record (four books, a 4* ICS for REF2021), and innovative curriculum development and delivery (UG/PG, Executive Education, CPD and short courses).
I provide unparalleled experience consulting and advising the film industry's leading organisations and am the first academic ever to be invited to address the agenda setting address to the Board of Governors (e.g., Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Kathleen Kennedy, etc.) of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (the Oscars) on future strategic directions for the Academy and its 7,000+ members.
Consultant for leading Hollywood studios and production companies in US, UK, Germany, and China, with proven track record on industry impact. Completed projects include:
- Optimisation of product development and deployment - the role of film in Hollywood studios value chain - for Sony Studios, Los Angeles),
- Development of new revenue generating initiatives for leading production companies - for Lucasfilm/Disney, San Francisco& Los Angeles)
- Talent development and management in the creative industry sector - for one of China's leading online video subscription services Youku-Tudou, part of the Alibaba group, Shanghai/Beijing)
- Government initiatives to support the creative industries at regional, national, and international level (for Nottingham City Council and the East Midlands region)
Over 25 years of leadership in developing programmes and delivering courses on the film and screen industries in Higher Education at all levels, from BA and MA programmes to Executive Education and… read more
I am currently working on a new project on film audiences, focussing particularly on people who do not attend cinemas. There is little or no existing research on negative results in film scholarship… read more
I am currently working on a new project on film audiences, focussing particularly on people who do not attend cinemas. There is little or no existing research on negative results in film scholarship and in the film industry. In this sense the project provides a fascinating challenge both in terms of method and subject matter.
I also regularly deliver keynote presentations on innovation in the film sector at world's leading companies (BBC, Dolby, Disney, etc.), my work has also been featured in several media outlets (e.g. profile of my work in Vanity Fair: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/05/what-is-a-movie-netflix-streaming-hollywood-oscars)
My past work in terms of general research and publications has mostly focussed on issues concerning filmmaking and production practices, industrial relations in Hollywood cinema,and film sound. These interests continue to inform my present and planned future work, with particular focus of course on fostering better and more effective dialogue between industry and academia.
Most recently, I have completed a new book with Oscar-winning director and sound designer Gary Rydstrom.
The book, titled The Endless End of Cinema: A History of Crisis and Survival in Hollywood (Bloomsbury, 2022) looks at the key crises that have marked the development of Hollywood cinema over the decades, identifying what lessons can be learned from them that may help address present and future challenges.
Gary and I share a belief that closer collaboration between film professionals and academics can potentially bring mutual benefits and enrich and improve the experience of making movies, both creatively and financially, and studying/researching them in all their aspects.
I have published 4 monographs, several industry reports and white papers (all on various aspects of the film industry, from production to studios operations) - and a number of articles and book chapters on sound, filmmaking practices and other related topics.
- Founder and Director of one of the UK's leading HE centres for the study of the screen industries (The Institute for Screen Industries Research at the University of Nottingham (2011-present).
- Author of four books - including my latest (The Endless End of Cinema, Bloomsbury) with seven-time Oscar winner Gary Rydstrom of Lucasfilm/Pixar/Disney, on the crises that have shaped Hollywood as an industry - as well as a several industry papers articles and book chapters. https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/endless-end-of-cinema-9781501348570/
- Led and delivered an impact case study for REF 2021 (rated by the University of Nottingham's internal review panel as 4*) that demonstrated impact of my research on world leading film industry companies and organisations in Hollywood (Disney, the Academy/Oscars)
- Expert reviewer for EU funding bid applications in the creative industries sector.
- I have worked with several film studios and professional organisations in Hollywood on collaborative research projects, including Lucasfilm, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscars), Sony Studios and several more.
The focus of future research will continue to be on aspects of the film and television industry that are likely to assist:
i. the growth and well-being of the film industry and its workforce at all levels and in all capacities,
ii. the training and upskilling of future industry professionals as well as film scholars, and
iii. the appreciation and preservation of film as a key cultural, social and art form.