BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant
Dr Gianluca Sergi, from the University of Nottingham was awarded £1,870 through the Small Research Grant scheme, holding his award from 2008-2010
Dr Sergi’s project, based within the Department of Culture, Film and Media, was designed to explore the relationship between filmmakers and studios. During his research he found that all film departments, from acting to cinematography, from production design to sound were undergoing profound changes that were felt as both threatening and exciting. The changing funding landscape, with countries offering production incentives and tax breaks to lure large productions away from Hollywood, was seen as a core issue to address.
It became evident that none of the filmmakers’ traditional organisations could individually address the complexity of these issues, and that there was a lack of long-term engagements between the film industry and academia. Facilitating that process of collaboration has since become the focus of Dr Sergi’s research.
The funding received through the Small Research Grant, amounting to a little under £2,000 was was crucial in enabling Dr Sergi to both i) identify present challenges and opportunities facing filmmakers today and ii) establishing a working relationship with leading filmmakers from across the film and TV making spectrum.
Dr Sergi has, in particular, been vocal in his gratitude for the funding provided by the British Academy, stating that “no article or book could ever encapsulate the world of resources, contacts, opportunities, networks that emerged out of the project that the Small Research Grant enabled me to pursue.”
As a result of his project Dr Sergi was commissioned to write an industry white paper to look at the role of studios in a changing landscape of production, which benefitted from direct input from leading studios such as Fox Studios and Pixar. In June 2012 the University of Nottingham launched a major new research unit, the Institute for Screen Industries Research (ISIR), whose main aim is to partner with industry on addressing challenges and opportunities within the industry. Dr Sergi was appointed as its first director. The Institute has to date received funding of around £100,000 from the University of Nottingham and Higher Education Innovation Funding as well as industry partners such as EM Media, Fox Studios, Lionsgate and Dolby.