DIGIFIL: Digital Film Listings

DIGIFIL aims to digitise and publish the Dutch “Filmladders” (the weekly listings of movie showtimes at local cinema theatres or other venues). The screenings constitute the focal point of film culture: they are the place where distributors, exhibitors and audiences meet. Collecting information about these encounters yields an invaluable resource for linguists, socio-economic historians and media scholars to study the ways in which cinema-going contributed to the formation of modern societies.

This project builds upon the digitization effort of the Royal Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, henceforth KB). Their current collection, available via Delpher, already contains an impressive set of digitized, segmented and enriched newspapers. The point of DIGIFIL is to improve digitization and enrichment of cultural agendas (mainly the Filmladders) embedded in the newspaper corpus. we use the available digitized materials as a starting point but refine and extend them wherever that is required, using existing tools developed by CLARIAH Work Package 3 (PICCL, TICCL, FROG).

Enter the Dreamhouse

My research focuses on the role of cinemas in British twentieth-century society. In particular, I am researching how cinemas operated as sites of public emotion and how their spatial characteristics contributed to a permissive and distinct emotional economy far-removed from the cliché of the British stiff-upper-lip.

The research explores how and why cinemas became emblematic of a particular modernity which asserted the importance of leisure in the lives of millions, and how this contributed to conceptions of modernity. The research seeks to explore how local experiences can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of cinemas (and of cinema-going in Britain as a whole) in the first half of the twentieth-century.

The US Exhibition and Reception of Julien Bryan’s Documentaries for International Understanding, 1947-1985

I am currently researching the distribution, exhibition and reception of the educational documentaries of Julien Bryan (1899-1974) both in and outside the traditional US classroom. In the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s Bryan produced and directed a large number of films on peoples around the world for the US Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CI-AA) and for his own International Film Foundation (IFF). Enjoying wide distribution to classrooms, civic and religious organizations and libraries in the later part of the 20th century, Bryan’s films participated in an American post-World War II cultural formation in which screening and discussing educational film became a key vehicle in the forging of new internationalist identities. is a film archive and database which uses a wiki structure to enable a continuous growth of updated material that include texts and images on Turkish cinema. The basic structure of the database is buillt on Turkish Flm Guide (Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, SESAM: 2008) and IMDb data. Currently the archive includes 500 films  and documentaries, as well as texts on film studies. is part of a larger database project which includes and Established in 2007, is an online public access digital media archive, which uses video as the primary source material.’s features include the ability to do time-based transcribing and annotations, and essentially allows deep and new kinds of access to video material online. which share the same software structure with these two databases hosts: 1) films which are annotatable; 2) texts and documents with embedded videos and images; 3) encyclopedic data and deep metadata about films; 4) interviews, and other documentary images

Early cinema in Scotland

The project investigates the distinctive development of distribution and exhibition from travelling shows to large fixed-site cinemas in urban, rural and small-town Scotland, as well as the production of local topicals and the factors which seem to have inhibited the development of a sustainable feature film production capacity.

The Evergreens of Film History

Discussing the role of old films in film distribution and exhibition before 1940. A special case are the films which remained in circulation for many years: the evergreens which would never get a mention in a top ten of popular films or in a canon of historical merit, focusing on the track record of films, a concept that deserves more attention in moviegoing history.

Illustrated Lantern Lectures in British Poor Relief

When in 1896 viewers flocked to the cinematograph shows to marvel at the ‘latest wonder’: the ‘living photographs’, they sat down facing a white wall looking forward, without any doubt, to watch pictures made from light which soon would emerge on that wall. In 1896, the cinematograph was a novelty, but pictures projected on a screen was a practice well-known to everybody. Already from the 1850s onward, the screen had been established in the public sphere for audiences to view pictures. In Britain, apart from commercial entertainers and apart from institutions as the Royal Polytechnic, there were a number of welfare organisations which organised illustrated lantern lectures to promote their activities in mission and poor relief as the Sunday School Union, the Salvation Army, the Church Army, the Band of Hope etc. They developed ingenious distribution strategies to find their audiences. Their illustrated lantern shows proved very popular: They created multimedia shows with well-directed performances, appealing to the senses of the spectators. Lantern shows in British poor relief served perfectly to persuade their audiences of welfare purposes and enriched exhibition culture.

Early cinema in Poland

The subject of the project is early cinema exhibition and other forms of popular entertainment in big cities and small town environment of Polish provinces of the Russian Empire before WWI in the context of modernity and modernization. In this way I would like to contribute to two academic debates: 1) on the history of early cinema and 2) on the cultural dimension of modernization. In the first case I am going to examine how the cinema developed on the peripheries of the modern world-system, in the second, what was the role of cinema in the development of peripheral regions.

Cinema Mass Consumption and the Commercialization of Youth Culture

The proposed research program aims to generate a better understanding of the role that cinema has played in the commodification of culture and the emergence of consumption-based lifestyles in relation to the emergence of post-war consumer society and against the backdrop of increased social and geographic mobility. It takes the Netherlands as a case study but in its international context.
The research centers on cinema’s core audience: teenagers and people in their early twenties. Historically, this group has dominated the audience for movies from the very beginnings of cinema presentation and thus shaped in important ways film production, distribution and exhibition. Cinema for its part has shaped youth culture, notably by 1. circulating more or less idealized images of youth and youth culture and 2. by providing youngsters a site for social exchange and sub-cultural identity formation.
While throughout history, young people have claimed and negotiated distinctive sub-cultural identities, the post-war era witnessed the rapid commercialization and institutionalization of youth culture. A major factor in this process seems to have been the spread of Americanized mass consumer culture in Europe, which in the Netherlands intersected with the process of de-pillarization (ontzuiling). For comparative perspectives, the program will draw upon case studies in Germany and Belgium (new research) and existing literature (broader international perspective).

The application will be developed around the following four central themes:
• geographic dynamics of cinema culture: centers versus peripheries
• social dynamics of consumer culture: politics of inclusion and exclusion
• cultural dynamic of film consumption and film fan culture: national versus international productions/stars; changes in reference culture
• cross-media consumption: interaction between old and new media.