Faculty, Students Give Academic Perspective on Film Matters

Thursday, February 11, 2016

UNCW Film Studies professor Tim Palmer and students are featured in a recent podcast by Aca-Media, the official media outlet for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies, a preeminent film studies organization.

In the segment, Palmer talks to hosts Christine Becker and Michael Kackman about the founding and evolution of Film Matters, the international undergraduate film journal that UNCW publishes in collaboration with UK publisher Intellect Press. Published quarterly, Film Matters is the only peer-reviewed film journal of its kind in the world.

The idea for Film Matters was generated around 2008 by Tim’s spouse, Liza, who currently teaches part-time in the UNCW film studies department. She was searching for journals to recommend to students who had just won an essay-writing contest. But she wasn’t just thinking of publications that featured undergraduate work. She had the idea that it should be run by undergraduates – they would vet submissions, do peer review and design the issues. Simultaneously, Intellect was setting up an office in the same building as the UNCW Department of Film Studies. Intellect expressed interest in collaborating.

Knowing it would be a huge undertaking, Tim and Liza came up with the idea to develop a seminar class, through which the students would put the journal together and, in doing so, learn about the process of publication.

Tim and Liza currently serve as co-editor-in-chiefs for Film Matters. Tim explained that he most appreciates being able to demystify the publishing process for students, offering them a window into a world that is closed for most.

“Getting students to understand historically, conceptually and professionally what peer reviewing is, what it means and then, all the better, doing it themselves, can be a wonderfully empowering process,” he said.

In addition to contributing content, UNCW students serve on the journal’s editorial board. In the podcast, students Jen Pintao and Kailyn Warpole discuss their experience in taking the “Producing the Undergraduate Film Magazine” class, as well as serving on the board.

Pintao has been both surprised and pleased by the wide range of knowledge obtained from the course. “I came into the class knowing very little. I had very lofty ideas of what it means to be in the publication industry,” she said.

For Warpole, the involvement with Film Matters is perfectly geared toward her career aspirations, which are to work in publishing but stay connected to film.

“As a double major and someone who is looking for a literary tie to film, to have that crossover with this class is really unique. I can’t think of a comparable experience at other universities,” she said.

The podcast can be heard in its entirety at

-- Caroline Cropp