Stefanie’s PhD from the University of Stirling was awarded for her thesis entitled The Aesthetics of Moderation: Women Making Documentaries in North Africa, which resulted in her first monograph Negotiating Dissidence: The Pioneering Women of Arab Documentary, published in 2017 with Edinburgh University Press. Her qualifications also include an MA (Distinction) in Literature and Film from Newcastle University and a Licentiate (Distinction) in English Literature from Ghent University. She has professional experience with several international film festivals as coordinator, programmer, curator and board member.
Stefanie is one of three editorial board members of the Edinburgh University Press series ReFocus: The International Directors, and a board member of the open-access MAI: Journal of Feminism and Visual Culture. She serves as trustee and programmer for the Africa in Motion Film Festival, has served on several student and professional film festival juries, and founded MONA, a festival in Antwerp (Belgium) dedicated to Middle Eastern and North African film.
Stefanie has particular expertise in the following areas: Film History, Documentary and Non-Fiction, Third Cinema, Poetry Film, Animation, Film-Philosophy, Feminist Film Studies, African Film, Arab Cinema, Film Festivals.
Stefanie’s area of expertise is women in documentary and world cinema. She is a film historian interested in non-mainstream filmmaking such as activist non-fiction and animation, and the manner in which these art forms have been perceived and received on international festival networks. Central questions in her research focus on power structures, identity formation and emancipation. A particular interest is ethical spectatorship, and how film/viewing enables solidarity across borders. Past research projects have focused on African film archives and festivals, Arab women’s cinema, and animation in the Middle East – always inspired by the particular ways in which the exhibition of films impacts on diverse audiences.
Active research interests:
- Documentary and Non-Fiction
- World Cinema
- Arab and African Cinema
- Film History (particularly the 1960s-1970s)
- Film Festival Studies
- Feminist Film Studies
Stefanie was Co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project Transnational Moroccan Cinema, with Prof. Will Higbee (Exeter) as the Principal Investigator.
The project investigated the increasingly global position of Moroccan cinema. We held two large international conferences, screened Moroccan films at festivals around Morocco, the UK and globally, and organised roundtable discussions on the state of the globalising Moroccan film industry.
This project has led to a book, an edited collection, and the world premiere on 5 March 2020 of the restored and subtitled masterpiece Door to the Sky by Farida Benlyazid (1985) at the Tangier Film Festival. We also restored La Falaise (1999), a pioneering short by Faouzi Bensaïdi.
Currently (2021-2023), Stefanie leads the RSE-funded project Global Women’s Film Heritage, through which we have established a global network of scholars, archivists, filmmakers and activists working on the expansion and emancipation of the world’s film heritage by addressing the gaps in terms of women’s film history.
We have held two international online networking symposia, we have done fieldwork in global archives and are planning an open-access publication of creative, scholarly and activist video work on the topic of global women’s film heritage, forthcoming in 2024.
Drawing on my scholarly research and inspired by over a decade of film festival experience, I mostly teach undergraduate courses in film studies with a participatory and intersectional sensibility. The growing public and academic recognition of feminist and critical race theory challenges us to revise curricula and canons, and feed my interest in non-mainstream texts, approaches and analyses.
In the past, I have taught diverse subjects, including Film Festivals, Film Analysis, Classics of World Cinema and Animation
- BAFTS Award for Best Edited Collection 2018: Animation in the Middle East: Practice and Aesthetics from Baghdad to Casablanca
- Above & Beyond Award from the University of Exeter for “excellence in Impact Case Study work”