Keith M Johnston

Keith M Johnston


  • 2.20 Registry And Council House

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Personal profile

Areas of Expertise

British cinema (history and current, particularly Ealing Studios); 3D film and television (history and current); film marketing/advertising (particularly film trailers); science fiction (film mainly, but a little TV and literature); film history more generally - British and American.


Keith M. Johnston came to UEA in September 2008. He studied for his BA in Film & Media Studies at the University of Stirling and the University of California Santa Barbara; and received his MA and PhD from the University of Kent. He taught at the University of Kent between 2004 and 2008, and was employed as a writer/producer in the British media industry for eight years (1996-2004), working mainly on trailer advertising for film, television and radio.

His current teaching and research focuses on film marketing, media technologies, film and television aesthetics, and genre.

His research interest in film marketing materials (and their role within culture and national media industries) has been published in Convergence, Film International, Media History, the Journal of Popular Film and Television and in his book Coming Soon: Film Trailers and the Selling of Hollywood Technology (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. 2009). He has recently guest edited a special issue of Frames Cinema Journal on promotional materials (, and was featured in a June 2013 special report on trailers and technology in Wired.

Keith has developed work on the history of colour and stereoscopic 3D technologies in British cinema, focusing on the mainstream introduction of Technicolor, Eastmancolor and 3D in the 1940s and 50s. This research interest in the role of spectacle within British cinema has grown out of teaching British film and television over the last ten years, and led to him working with the BFI and other colleagues to publish Ealing Revisited (BFI Palgrave 2012), a major edited collection on Ealing Studios and one of The Independent’s Books of the Year 2012.

He has also published an introductory study of the cross-media creation and historical mutation of the science fiction genre, and continues to investigate the past and current fascination with 3-D technology, both in cinemas and, nowadays, on television and the Internet.

Teaching Interests

Undergraduate Teaching

Analysing Film & Television

Film, Television and New Media

Engaging with the Media

Selling Spectacle

Reception & Audience Studies in Film & Television

Analysing Television

British Cinema and the Past

Film History: Cinema to 1930

Nineteenth Century Culture and the Emergence of Cinema

MA Teaching

Spectacle in British Cinema

Effects, Audiences and the Media

Research and Methodology Skills

External Activities

  • Norwich Sound + Vision festival: leader of the UEA contribution to this annual music and media festival; on Norwich Sound + Vision steering committee
  • Studio-Canal UK: main liaison with Candy Vincent-Smith on staff and student involvement in DVD selection, research and release
  • Network Releasing: main liaison with Hugh David, developing similar staff/student involvement in DVD selection and release as Studio-Canal UK
  • Cue Card Media: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award has been developed in association with this script and IP development company, around the creation of a script matrix database
  • 3D Storytelling: co-organiser of this annual industry-academic conference, presented papers in 2011 and 2013
  • Stereoscopic 3D Network: Leading a 7-institution network on stereoscopic media, working with the Universities of Reading, Liverpool, Indiana, Concordia, Victoria University Wellington and Ravensbourne
  • East End Film Festival: invited speaker on British 3D Film & Television in 2013
  • London Cinema Museum: invited speaker in May 2012 on the history of British trailer production
  • Huffington Post: contributed a regular (twice-weekly) feature, ‘The Great Ealing Film Challenge’ during 2011-12; contribute semi-regular blogs for the site
  • Media appearances: regular contributor to BBC Radio Norfolk on media stories (new Doctor Who, Radio Times 90th anniversary, Ealing film season); contributor to BBC News website (new Doctor Who)

Key Research Interests

3-D cinema in the 1950s, specifically around the British experience of 3-D in film production and - exhibition

British cinema and technology, particularly around Ealing Studios, and the introduction of colour and widescreen in the 1950s British film industry

Film marketing materials and 'selling spectacle' in posters, pressbooks and film trailers

Science fiction genre - creation and generic mutation in the first 100 years of cinema

The impact of the 'digital turn' on the film, television and media industries, from DVDs and the Internet to Twitter and the iPhone

Selected conference keynotes:

'3D UK? British film in the third dimension' Keynote speaker EMERGE @ East End Film Festival, London, July 2013


'Coming Soon: What Trailer Studies Did Next...' Keynote speaker at 'Titles, Teasers and Trailers' conference, University of Edinburgh, April 2013

Selected conference papers:

'Cavalier and careless': Should documentary trailers be authentic and accurate?' Invited workshop panelist at Visible Evidence XX, Stockholm, August 2013


'Those who cannot remember the (stereoscopic) past are condemned to repeat it': 3D, Technology and Media History. Invited speaker at 3DS conference, London, March 2013


'Reclaiming the British Pioneers: Mispresenting Britain's Stereoscopic Past in The Queen in 3-D (2009)' Invited speaker at SCMS conference, Boston, March 2012


'Selling Spectacle: The Day After Tomorrow,' Invited speaker at 'Culture and the Environment', UEA, March 2010

'Three Times as Thrilling!': Developing a Critical Language for Talking About the 3-D Spectacle' at 'The Spectacle of Screen Media' conference, University of Warwick, February 2010.
'"The coolest way to watch movie trailers in the world" (Steve Jobs) :Digital Technologies in Film Promotion’ 'What is Film' conference, University of Oregon, November 2009
'Ealing's Colour Aesthetic', 'Colour and the Moving Image' conference, University of Bristol, July 2009

'Underground, Overground: Remembering The Wombles', invited speaker at the 1970s British Culture conference, University of Portsmouth, July 2008.

‘Becoming Attractions: History, Theory and the Film Trailer.’ Invited speaker at the University of East Anglia, January 2008.

‘The most anticipated two minutes of film ever’: Selling Star Wars in the digital age.’ Marketing the Movies conference, University of Warwick, February 2007.

‘The “rival” screen: The search for aesthetics in early British television trailers.’ Screen conference, July 2006.

‘“Something BIG is coming”: The big screen and the big sell in 1950s widescreen film trailers’, Screen conference, July 2005


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Kent

Award Date: 1 Jan 2008

Master of Arts, University of Kent

Award Date: 1 Jan 2004

Bachelor of Arts, University of Stirling

Award Date: 1 Jan 1995