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Title: Cell/ular cinema : individuated production, public sharing and mobile phone film exhibition
Author: Wilson, Gavin
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis investigates the articulation between filmmaking using the cameras of personal mobile phones, and the distribution and exhibition of filmmaking at film festivals devised to support and promote its development. Covering a research period between 2010 and 2013, I analyse an emergent phenomenon using a mixed methodology over five major chapters. Following a discussion of the ontology of phone filmmaking and its historical situatedness, I establish terminology for each major element of cell cinema. Bridging features of contemporary digital filmmaking with the entertainment spectacles of early cinema history, the phone film privileges visual immediacy, urging genred and experimental presentations of limited narrative complexity. Notably, the thesis indicates that phone films incorporate technologically innovative aspects of autobiography by filmmakers. What are characterised as the ambulatory and movie selfie categories evidence contemporary representations of movement within phone filmmaking. By updating Walter Benjamin’s (1936) ideas of the flâneur, and Michel de Certeau’s (1984) writing about the physicality of walking, the thesis draws on the socio-cultural use of mobile technologies and physical, participatory engagement with the filmmaking process. Incorporating an ethnographic study of international cell cinema film festivals, the thesis interrogates phenomenological aspects of interrelated phenomena. I discuss how phone filmmakers, spectators and others experience their participation in the construction and dissemination of intercultural, shared discourse. Cell cinema’s cultural signifiers cross or subvert perceived geographical and economic boundaries, urging a reassessment of Western or Euro-centric philosophical traditions. The thesis investigates how cell cinema enables expressions of the self, delineates notions of identity, and communicates various aspects of socially determined meaning. Therefore, cell cinema engagement incorporates the sharing of gifts of phone films that foreground bodily movement and the ‘everyday aesthetic’ of the cell cinema gaze, involving the engagement with ‘knowledge communities’, and ‘culturalising events’ within festival environments.
Supervisor: Rawle, Steve Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available