Professor Paul Cooke of the University of Leeds and I have been collaborating for many years on research workshops, funding bids, co-written articles and edited books. Our latest project is the co-edited book Screening European Heritage, which will soon be published by Palgrave. With Paul being Centenary Chair in World Cinemas and Head of the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures at Leeds and me as Chair of European Cinema and co-director of B-Film, it seemed the time and place was right to forge a working relationship between the two centres.
B-Film also needed a unifying project, one that might encourage collaboration between scholars from across the College of Arts and Law and particularly from the Departments of Film and Creative Writing, and Modern Languages. And, at the same time, a new way of looking at World Cinemas was required, one that went with the sometimes dangerous flow of new technologies, free-forming boundaries and bubbling genres, that recognised new kinds of cinemas and found these in the most remote or marginalised places.
Thus a plan for a new book series was hatched and developed at Birmingham by myself and Alex Marlow-Mann, who was Leverhulme fellow in my stead and thus charged with getting B-Film up on its feet while I was away on my Leverhulme major research fellowship working on a political and cultural history of Basque cinema. In 2013 Alex and I pitched the series to Natalie Foster from Routledge at the Cine Excess conference on Erotic European Cinema held at the Midlands Arts Centre, which was organised by Alex, and this got such an enthusiastic response that Routledge commissioned The Companion to World Cinema too. Paul brought in Stephanie Dennison to make up the editorial team and that was it, we were off to remap world cinema!