Keynote speakers


Pushing the boundaries between industry and academia: in conversation with…

Elizabeth Kilgarriff

Founder and CEO of Firebird Pictures, formerly Senior Commissioning Editor of BBC Drama

After 18 years at the BBC, Liz Kilgarriff founded Firebird Pictures in 2019 with fellow BBC Exec, Craig Holleworth, to support and work with the best creative talent to produce distinctive and entertaining stories for a global audience.

As Senior Commissioning Editor for BBC Drama in England and Scotland, Liz was responsible for generating, developing, commissioning and overseeing shows from conception to transmission: her track record in picking stories and creative talent is evident in her portfolio of work to date. Her successes as a commissioner include BBC One hit Bodyguard, The Cry, Luther, The Victim, Informer, J.K. Rowling’s Strike series, Doctor Foster, The ABC Murders, Tom Rob Smith’s MotherFatherSon, Hossein Amini’s McMafia, Neil Cross’s Hard Sun, Call The Midwife and Poldark.

Prior to joining the BBC Drama commissioning team, Liz was an Executive Producer for BBC Drama Production working on titles including the award-winning Luther and BBC Three’s Thirteen, which starred Jodie Comer. Her credits also include CranfordTess of the D’Urbervilles and Upstairs Downstairs.


The portability of character

Murray Smith

Professor of Film and co-director of the Aesthetics Research Centre at the University of Kent (UK)

A former President of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (2014-17), and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values (2017-18), Murray Smith is a leading film theorist who has an international reputation for his pioneering work on character in Engaging Characters: Fiction, Emotion, and the Cinema (Oxford University Press, 1995; revised ed. forthcoming 2020, Clarendon) – as well as in the philosophy of film and a trailblazing interdisciplinary approach to the art, technology, and science of film.

His publications include: Film Theory and Philosophy (co-edited with Richard Allen; Clarendon, 1997); Contemporary Hollywood Cinema (co-edited with Steve Neale; Routledge, 1998); Trainspotting (BFI, 2002; revised ed. forthcoming 2021); Thinking through Cinema: Film as Philosophy (co-edited with Tom Wartenberg; Wiley-Blackwell, 2006); and Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film (Oxford University Press, 2017).