Reader in Film Studies, Oxford Brookes University
Warren Buckland's areas of Research: (1) film theory; (2) key trends in contemporary cinema (Hollywood blockbusters; puzzle films; new sincerity); (3) data mining world cinema. In individual research projects, these categories frequently overlap (especially 1 and 2).
I studied for a BA degree in Photography at Derby (1984-87, where I was awarded a First Class honours degree) before moving into film studies.
My career as a film scholar took off soon after I was awarded a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Film Studies in 1994 (the first of its kind in film studies). This basically gave me some free time to carry out research in film theory. I edited an anthology, The Film Spectator (1995), and wrote a monograph, The Cognitive Semiotics of Film (2000; Korean edition 2007). I spent much of this time at the University of Amsterdam teaching on their MA in film studies, with Thomas Elsaesser. This resulted in another book, combining my research interest in film theory and contemporary cinema -Studying Contemporary American Film: A Guide to Movie Analysis (2002; Italian edition 2010). Here we extracted methods from about a dozen film theories and applied them to our favourite American movies. I obviously had too much time on my hands, because I also decided to write a short guide to film (Teach Yourself Film Studies). This book went into its fourth edition in 2010, and has been translated into Vietnamese and Japanese.
After co-writing Studying Contemporary American Film, I discovered the limitations of using only the standard film theories to analyze films. I felt the need to supplement these theories with the information contained in well-known filmmaking manuals. In Directed by Steven Spielberg (2006; Polish translation 2011) [www.FilmsOfSpielberg.com], I examine one key trend in contemporary cinema - the blockbuster format - via a close analysis of Spielberg's blockbusters, using standard theories of film in combination with filmmaking manuals.
In my endeavour to identify and analyze other key trends in contemporary cinema, I edited Puzzle Films: Complex Storytelling in Contemporary Cinema (2009). This volume examines the recent trend in contemporary filmmaking to structure film plots as puzzles (those films you end up watching two or three times just to find out what's going on in them!).
The sequel, Hollywood Puzzle Films, was published in June 2014.
I edited another volume in 2009, Film Theory & Contemporary Hollywood Movies, which combines my research interests in film theory and one dominant trend in contemporary filmmaking - the Hollywood movie. In this volume, contributors explore recent popular movies through the lens of film theory, beginning with industrial-economic analysis before moving into a predominately aesthetic and interpretive framework. The Hollywood films discussed cover a wide range from 300 to Fifty First Dates, from Brokeback Mountain to Lord of the Rings, from Spider-Man 3 to Fahrenheit 9/11 and Saw.
I recently explored film theory again via a research monograph Film Theory: Rational Reconstructions. [http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415590983/]
Co-editor of The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory, with Edward Branigan:
Data Mining World Cinema. The 'Data Mining World Cinema' project brings together film studies and computer science. It aims to use data mining software to mine thousands of blogs and web pages, in order to examine the way professional film critics, bloggers, filmmakers, fans, and scholars evaluate and promote world cinema on the web.
So far this project has resulted in two research papers - one on Inland Empire, the other on Slumdog Millionaire (see publications tab for more details).