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Biography

Christopher specialises in the areas of film genre, popular Hollywood cinema, contemporary digital technologies and computer animation, and animation history. He gained his PhD in Film Studies from King’s College (2013) and was previously an undergraduate and postgraduate student at the University of Warwick, where he graduated with a BA Honours degree in Film and Television Studies (2006) and an MA for Research in Film and Television Studies (2008).

Christopher has taught across many aspects of film and media studies at a variety of institutions. He has worked as an Associate Lecturer at both the University of Kent and University of Surrey, and has taught on the BA Film Practice course at London South Bank University. He was formerly a Graduate Teaching Assistant (2010-2015) and Teaching Fellow (2015-2017) in Film Studies at King’s, and has also acted as convenor of the London and Film module for the university’s Summer School programme (2014-2017) and on a variety of Pre-University Taster courses (2018). 

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Digital media and film technology
  • Style and meaning in contemporary Hollywood cinema
  • Film genre
  • Animation history and theory
  • Visual effects imagery

Christopher’s monograph, The Computer-Animated Film: Industry, Style and Genre (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) is the first academic work to examine the computer-animated feature film as a global phenomenon of popular cinema. It provides a genre analysis of computer animation informed by wider technological discourses and the status of animation as an industrial art form, connecting elements of film style to the computer-animated film’s unique production contexts. The book covers over thirty years of computer-animated film history; examines a multitude of animation studios, companies, facilities, divisions and subsidiaries within Hollywood and across a range of national contexts; and analyses over 200 film examples to advance a broader understanding of the computer-animated feature as the dominant form of mainstream animation.

In 2018, Christopher also co-edited the collection Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres (Routledge, 2018). The book considers the various historical, theoretical and cultural dimensions of the animated fantasy, and provides a series of case study chapters and discussion of examples as diverse as German expressionism, Japanese anime, contemporary experimental animation and HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011-), with each analysis probing at the fantasy/animation relationship as it plays out across media, mediums and genres. Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media, Mediums and Genres was recently awarded the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies Runner-Up prize for Best Edited Collection.

Christopher is also one of the co-founders of www.fantasy-animation.org, an online research network that provides a space for discussion and debate among like-minded academics, practitioners, special interest groups and fans of fantasy and/or animation. The website features published blog posts (critical editorials; media analyses; film, television and book reviews; conference reports) with original audiovisual research material, such as video essays (also available on the Fantasy/Animation Youtube channel) and the ‘Fantasy/Animation’ podcast that includes interviews with renowned academics and internationally-recognised practitioners from across the UK.

He continues to publish book chapters and articles on digital media technologies and forms of computer animation, including work in Animation Practice, Process & Production and animation: an interdisciplinary journal. Christopher’s new project concerns computer graphics and compositing in relation to identity politics as a way of framing popular filmmaking’s multiple encounters with digital elements and effects. He is also co-editing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: New Perspectives in Production, Reception, Legacy for Bloomsbury’s ‘Animation: Key Films/Filmmakers’ series.

For more details and a complete list of publications, please see his full research profile.

Teaching

Christopher teaches in the departments of Liberal Arts and Film Studies, convening modules on contemporary Hollywood cinema and the cultural politics of identity, and theories of animated media. His opportunity module, From Innovation to Illusion: Topics in Animation, is available to students across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Expertise & public engagement

Christopher has spoken widely on popular cinema, animation and contemporary digital culture at the British Film Institute, on panels at the KCL Film Studies Festival and KCL Race Equality Network, and at the University of Surrey’s Animation: 100 Years of Artistry and Innovation event. He has been interviewed for The Guardian and The New Statesman, and appeared on the BBC website and national arts review programme Showcase TRT. He has also had work published in the international film magazine Total Film. In February 2019, he recorded a live podcast at the London Anime & Gaming Convention organised by the Animeleague. Since 2017, Christopher has been part of the Canterbury Anifest organising committee as symposium director, running both academic events and free animation workshops for children. He is currently Associate Editor for animation: an interdisciplinary journal, and a member of the international Society for Animation Studies.