My interest in Film and TV and other screen industries stems from an early fascination with cinema while growing up in Italy, where I was born in Milan on 5 June 1964. I was one of the co-founders (at age 13) of a film club for young people in my home town that had over 300 members and later became the youngest member of the managerial team running the senior film society (with over 700 members).
I worked in a variety of media outlets (especially radio where I co-produced and presented a live show for two years. I also worked in a local TV stations and print magazine). After being awarded two scholarships (one from local government for sustenance, the other from the EU for my fees) I decided to move to the UK to study Film and Literature at University (Warwick). During that time I also worked part-time on several productions, including a professional show for children that aired on Channel 4.
Following an MA in Mass Communication (Leicester) I wrote a PhD in film (on film sound, and Dolby in particular).
The research I carried out as part of my thesis allowed me to build a network of contacts with leading industry professionals and executives in some of Hollywood's leading companies, including Lucasfilm, Fox, Dolby and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences amongst others.
This in turn helped me develop a keen interest in filmmakers and filmmaking practices, including studio operations and exhibition. This focus on cinema forms the cornerstone of my current and future research. I have published three books in this area as well as a major industry report on studios practices.
I was the founder and first director of the Institute for Screen Industries Research at the University of Nottingham (Sept. 2011-now).
To learn about, understand and help. These are the three principles informing my research. Filmmakers and the film industry more in general are the focus of my efforts: research on and knowledge exchange with practitioners and producers/studios continues to function as the cornerstone of my research methodology. This is evident in both tone and topic of my books on the role of sound in contemporary cinema (The Dolby Era: Film Sound in Contemporary Hollywood, 2004), and later on contemporary Hollywood cinema (both Making Films in Contemporary Hollywood, 2005 and Cinema Entertainment, 2009).
Following a series of high profile projects with leading organisations and productions companies/studios in Hollywood, I am currently working on a new book (The Endless End of Cinema: A Story of Crisis and Survival in Hollywood, 2020, Bloomsbury Publishing) with director and sound designer Gary Rydstrom.
Gary (a 7-time Oscar winner) and I share a belief that closer collaboration between film professionals and academics can potentially bring mutual benefits and enrich and improve the experience of making movies, both creatively and financially, and studying/researching them in all their aspects.