Ms Laraine Porter

Job: Senior Lecturer in Film

Faculty: Computing, Engineering and Media

School/department: Leicester Media School

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

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

T: +44 (0)116 257 7995




Personal profile

British silent cinema, silent cinema and live music, British Silent Film Festival, the BECTU Oral History Project, Women’s Film History, British cinema history, Cinema and World War I, British silent film comedy.

Key research outputs

‘How Shall We Look Again? Revisiting the Archive in British Silent Cinema and the Great War’ in Hammond, M and Williams, M. (eds) British Silent Cinema and the Great War (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

‘From Slapstick  to Satire: British Silent Film Comedy’ in Hunter I.Q and Porter L. (eds) British Comedy Cinema (London: Routledge, 2012).

Research interests/expertise

  • British cinema history
  • Silent cinema 
  • Cinema comedy
  • British cinema
  • Women and cinema
  • The Transition between silent and sound cinema in the UK
  • UK cinema exhibition; policy, finance and practice
  • Independent cinema in the UK 
  • Super 8 Film making in the 1980s

Areas of teaching

  • Film theory Film history
  • Film and documentary
  • Film genre
  • American cinema
  • Women and cinema


MA (Distinction) 

Courses taught

  • Film 1000 Introduction to Film Studies
  • Cinema and Realism
  • Women and Cinema
  • American Film and Visual Culture

Membership of external committees

Trustee of Media Archive of Central England (MACE) since 2000-2012

Trustee of Ridewise Ltd, Nottingham – an organisation set up to work with local government, NGOs, Primary Care Trusts, schools and other public and private organisations in providing cycle training as part of transport plans etc. 2004-2011.

Membership of professional associations and societies

Women’s Film and TV History Network (Steering group member from 2009)

Conference attendance

Elizabeth von Arnim, The Princess Priscilla’s Fortnight and The Runaway Princess’ – presentation/paper at the Women’s Film History Network at BFI Southbank - 7 November 2009. Funded by DMU.

‘On the Category of ‘Women’ in Film Exhibition’ – paper give at the International Women’s Film History Network - Columbia University NY, 11-14 March 2010 (funded by AHRC Women’s Film History Project).

‘A Lass and a Lack: Women and British Silent Film Comedy’ paper given at the Women and the Silent Screen Conference, University of Bologna - June 2010. Funded by DMU Research.

‘The History of the Phoenix in Leicester’ – presentation given at the ‘From Silent Screen to Digital Screen’ conference at, Phoenix Square July 2010.

‘Women Musicians in Silent Cinema’ at Cine Sisters Conference 18 July 2011 at The Women’s Library London, funded by CATH, DMU.

‘Ruritanian Runaways, Vagabond Queens and Cockney Flower Sellers: Class, Comedy and Romance in British Silent Film’ 3 March 2011 as part of ‘RomCom Actually’, DMU Cultural Exchanges Festival’.

Other forms of public presentation

‘Archive Film and Sport’ presentation for Screen East/Cultural Olympiad as part of the Cambridge Film Festival, June 2008.

‘Rats, Ruffians and Rascals; The Globalisation of Crime in British Silent Cinema’, British Silent Film Festival April 2008, Broadway, Nottingham (Festival Director and presenter).

‘Music, Sound and the British Silent Film’ British Silent Film Festival June 2009, Barbican, London (Festival Director and presenter).

‘Hindle Wakes’  introduction to film and presentations on Archive Film at the Blackpool Festival, 19 -21 February 2010, in conjunction with National Fairground Archive at Sheffield University.

 ‘The World Before You, Exploration, Science and Nature in the British Silent Film’ Festival April 2010, Phoenix Square, Leicester (Festival Director).

‘Going to the Movies; Music Sound and the British Silent Film’ British Silent Film Festival April 2011 at Barbican in London (Festival Director and presenter).

BBC World Talking Movies – interview with Al Moloney – April 2011.

The 15th British Silent Film Festival – April 2012 at the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge (Festival Director and presenter).

BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour interview Friday 3 Feb (reprised Sat 4 Feb) on the effects of the transition to sound cinema on film stars in the 1920s.

See Hear feature on BBC 2 TV - interview on the use of deaf actors in silent cinema, broadcast on 7 March 2012.

Consultancy work

I was the Director of Broadway Media Centre in Nottingham between 1998 and 2008 and have expertise in all aspects of cinema and media exhibition, programming, policy, finance and practice and in venue management. 

I am the Director of the British Silent Film Festival and have 15years experience in curating and staging film festivals. 

Current research students

  • Vivienne Chadder PhD, 1st Supervisor 
  • Sandra Frost PhD 2nd Supervisor

Externally funded research grants information

  • Tol’able David (1921) with Damian Coldwell, November 2009 Arts Council England c£4,500 for new music commission for silent film and performances in December 2009 at the Barbican and April 2010 at Phoenix Square.
  • British Silent Film Festival December 2009 EM Media/National Lottery £15,595.
  • British Silent Film Festival – January 2012 – Creative England - £7,500.

Internally funded research project information

  • RIF funds for The British Silent Film Festival 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Festival is organised in collaboration with the British Film Institute.


Professional esteem indicators

Kember, Joe. Marketing Modernity: Victorian Popular Shows and Early Cinema. University of Exeter Press, 2009 reviewed for Journal of British Cinema and Television History – EUP published Dec 2010.


Case studies

1. British Silent Film Festival editorial and reviews in national, regional media. 

TLS 26 June 2009
BBC East Midlands Today coverage of British Silent Film Festival broadcast 10 April 2010

The Independent on Sunday 11 April 2010

Leicester Link April 2010Leicester Mercury 17 April 2010

BBC Radio Leicester live interview 9 April 2010

BBC Radio 4 Film Programme April 2010

Guardian Guide 30 May – 5 June 2009, 10-16 April 2010

The Tribune Magazine 28 may – 3 June 2010

Guardian (Matthew Sweet) 8 April 2011

Guardian Guide 2-8 April 2011

T.H.E. Diary 7-13 April 2011

The Sunday Times: Critics’ Choice 20 March 2011

The Daily Telegraph April 2011

Time Out: Critics’ Choice x 2 4 April 2011

The Independent: Critics’ Choice April 2011

BBC Radio 4:  The Culture Show– interview with Bryony Dixon/BFI April 2011

BBC Radio 4: The Film Programme – interview with Neil Brand) April 2011

BBC World TV (8 minute feature presented by Al Moloney Broadcast worldwide 12 April 2011

BBC Radio Cambridge interview with Laraine Porter 18 April 11am, 2012

BBC Radio Cambridge interview with Neil Brand 18 April 8.00pm, 2012

BBC TV ‘Look East’ Live from the Festival on 19 April 2012 –

BBC Radio 4 ‘The Culture Show’ interview with Bryony Dixon on Thurs 19 April, 2012

The Times Newspaper ‘What’s On’ 19 April, 2012

The Guardian online Festival review posted on 22 April, 2012

Take One Magazine Cambridge Arts Cinema publication, April 2012

British Silent Film Festival attendance figures

2008, Broadway Nottingham c. 700 attendees

2009, Barbican and BFI Southbank, London 3000 attendees 

2010, Phoenix Square, Leicester 1940 attendees

2011 Barbican 3200 attendees

2012 Cambridge 2209 

Public responses for the 2010 Festival  – examples quoted below

‘Thank you for a wonderful Festival again. The whole thing was a joy, the location was wonderful, the fellowship amazing and the networking magic…’ David Williams MBE, Durham

‘...An absolutely 5 star completely surpassed all my expectations as a member of the public attending for the first time..It was also excellent that members of the public, like myself could mix over lunch and the evening meal. In addition....very best wishes for the future of the Festival’. John Moloney, Leicester

‘Just a quick message to say what a great time my family and I had at the festival over the weekend. Between us all (me, husband, 18 month old daughter, mother and step father) we managed to see 5 of the screenings and thoroughly enjoyed them all. The accompaniment was fantastic for Tol'able David and Beggars of Life especially and really added to the experience. Great to see so many people for silent screenings too. Well done and thank you to everyone involved. Will it be back at the phoenix next year?’ Regards Charlotte Barton, Leicester

‘Thanks ..…I did see the very good piece on East Midlands today.  Well done to every body involved in the very successful festival.  I loved “The Sheik”!!  Best regards Ted Cassidy