DMU logo

Dr James Russell

Job: Principal Lecturer in Film Studies

Faculty: Technology

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Cinema and Television History (CATH)

Address: The Gateway, De Montfort University, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8257

E: jrussell@dmu.ac.uk

W: dmu.ac.uk/filmstudies

 

Personal profile

Dr James Russell is Principal Lecturer Film Studies at De Montfort University, where is also Subject Group Leader for the Media, Film and Journalism group. His research focuses on Hollywood’s  history, film economics and the role of popular entertainment in contemporary British and American society.

James is the author of The Historical Epic and Contemporary Hollywood: From Dances With Wolves to Gladiator (Continuum, 2007), and he has published articles, reviews and book chapters on many other aspects of American film and TV history. He is currently completing a book entitled Hollywood and the Baby Boom: A Social History, which examines the post-war history of American movies by focusing on demographic change and the experiences of the Baby Boom generation. Research for this project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and the books features interviews with numerous American filmmakers, including Nancy Meyers, Ivan Reitman, Jerry Zucker, Steve Kloves and Lawrence Kasdan. His next project will look at the impact of high budget film production on the UK’s economy and infrastructure since the 1990s.

James teaches several undergraduate module which focus on the business of cinema including ‘Film and New Media,’ ‘Disney’ and ‘Hollywood Now!’ He welcomes applications from prospective research students who want to work in the field of popular entertainment, film industry economics and mainstream audience trends since the 1950s. 

Publications and outputs 

Selected Mainstream Writing  

“Peter Jackson’s three Hobbit films suggest he is running on empty,” Guardian , 3 Sept. 2012 

“Star Wars: Why Disney was destined to buy Lucasfilm,” Guardian , 31 Oct. 2012:

“Harry Potter – Hogwarts and all – is Britain’s Top Model,"   Guardian , 19 Nov. 2010:

“More Harry Potter or Another Year? The BFI must decide," Guardian , 30 Nov. 2010:

“Will Tron Legacy make Disney a long term game winner?” Guardian , 14 Dec. 2010:

Click here for a full listing of James Russell's publications and outputs

Research interests/expertise

  • Popular Hollywood Entertainment

  • Blockbuster film production.

  • Child and family film and TV production and consumption
  • Social history and popular cinema

  • The economics of film.

Areas of teaching

  • Film and TV history
  • Consumption of popular entertainment
  • Hollywood economics

Qualifications

  • PhD in Film Studies (University of East Anglia)
  • MA in the History of Film and Popular Culture (University of Exeter)
  • BA in English (University of Exeter)

Courses taught

  • FILM1402: Film and New Media

  • FILM2403: Disney

  • FILM3406: Hollywood Now!

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Association of Adaptation Studies (2008-)
  • War and Media Network (2006-)
  • Media, Culture and Communication Studies Association (2007-present)
  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies (2007-2010)

Conference attendance

Invited Keynote Speaker: “The Myth of the Teen Movie,” Myths in Culture, University of Leicester, May 2014.

“A Magic Kingdom on a Hill: Disney and the Baby Boom Audience,” Discussing Disney, University of Hull, 2014.

“Taking a ride with the Pirates of the Caribbean,” Children’s’ Film and Literature, De Montfort University, 1 March 2010.  

“Sensual Spirituality in Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” Association of Adaptation Studies 4th Annual Conference, British Film Institute, London, September 2009.

“In Hollywood, but not of Hollywood: Christian Film Production and the Evangelical Market,” American Independent Cinema: Past, Present and Future, Liverpool John Moore’s University, May 2009.

“Exhilaration and Enlightenment: Ben-Hur and American Belief Since 1880,” British Association for American Studies Annual Conference University of Nottingham, April 2009.

Other forms of public presentation

Performances, broadcasts, exhibitions, etc

I have had several mainstream comment pieces published on the Guardian’s film website:

1) “Harry Potter – Hogwarts and all – is Britain’s Top Model,’ Guardian, 19 Nov. 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2010/nov/19/harry-potter-britain-model-vision

2) “More Harry Potter or Another Year? RThe BFI must decide,’ Guardian, 30 Nov. 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2010/nov/30/bfi-uk-film-council-takeover.

3) “Will Tron Legacy make Disney a long term game winner?” Guardian, 14 Dec. 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2010/dec/14/tron-legacy-disney-remake-gamble.

I was interviewed in a feature article in the Independent newspaper: Francesca Steele, ‘British-US Film, the Special Relationship,’ Independent ,12 May 2010: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/britishus-film-the-special-relationship-1971168.html

“The Metropolis Restoration,” Public Lecture at the Phoenix Square Cinema, 1 Oct. 2010.

“James Cameron and Avatar,” Public Lecture at the Phoenix Square Cinema, 21 Dec. 2009.

Various appearances as a film pundit on BBC Radio Leicester, Jan.-Dec. 2009.

Consultancy work

Consultant for The Guardian, the BBC and others on mainstream film matters.

Current research students

  • Charlotte Meakin, PhD, P/T, 1st Supervisor

  • Richard Glanville, PhD, F/T, 1st Supervisor

  • Stuart Knott PhD, P/T, 1st  Supervisor

Externally funded research grants information

Hollywood and the Baby Boom, Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant, £98,600 (Jan. 2012-Dec. 2013) 

Internally funded research project information

Using Videogames in Adaptations Teaching, RIT funded project, £1090 (Dec 2008) – with Dr I Hunter. 

 

Case studies

I have been interviewed in the mainstream press (the Independent), and consulted by BBC Radio 4 as an expert on American film funding matters. 

I have published several editorial pieces in the Guardian which have resulted in further work, and in various exchanges with the UKFC and other national bodies.

The Hollywood and the Baby Boom project has engaged audiences and filmmakers across the USA. 

James Russell

Search Who's Who

 

 
News target area image
News

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Events target area image
Events

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.