Belinda Smaill

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile


Associate Professor Belinda Smaill teaches in Film and Screen Studies in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University. Over the last two decades she has built an international reputation in the field of screen studies and documentary studies in particular. She has published over 40 journal articles and book chapters and her two books, The Documentary: Politics, Emotion, Culture (Palgrave MacMillan 2010) and Regarding Life: Animals and the Documentary Moving Image (State University of New York Press 2016) have garnered international recognition for their role in rethinking the documentary tradition in the history of the moving image. Belinda’s work as a scholar is frequently cited as constituting new directions in documentary studies. Over the last decade she has been researching issues concerning the nonhuman, environmental crisis, and how they relate to fact-based storytelling in screen media.

She is the Leader of the Environment and Media Research Program at Monash University. 

She received her PhD from Monash University in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. She has also studied in New Zealand where she received degrees in American Studies and in Fine Arts (majoring in filmmaking). 

Supervision interests

Associate Professor Belinda Smaill is available to supervise students undertaking PhD and MA theses in film studies, television studies and related disciplines.

She has successfully supervised a range of topics as a primary supervisor and has particualr expertise in: women in film and television, documentary studies, environment and media, ecocinema, animal studies.

Research interests

Key research areas include: 

Documentary Studies: Histories and aesthetics of documentary; the nonhuman, animals and documentary; the politics of spectatorship, subjectivity and publicness; digital forms of documentary media

Australian Film and Television: Transnational cinema; diasporic film and television; gender and Australian cinema

Women and Film and Television: Female directors; women and documentary; transnational women’s cinema; popular cinema, film genre and women

The Environment and Animal Studies: Film and digital media and the environment; the politics of human/nonhuman relations; science and the media; ecocinema


Professional Affiliations

Editorial Appointments
Member of the advisory board for the journal Studies in Documentary Film (Taylor & Francis, U.K.).

Member of the Editorial Board for the international series of monographs, Documentary Film Cultures (Peter Lang, Switzerland).

Research Networks
Screen Studies Association of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand:

Member of the Australasian Animal Studies Association:

Member of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment & Culture,
Australia New Zealand:

Member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies:

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2005 2021

Research Output 2001 2019

Ecological Relations: FalconCam in Conversation with The Back of Beyond

Smaill, B., Jun 2019, A Companion to Australian Cinema. Collins, F., Landman, J. & Bye, S. (eds.). Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 508-524 17 p. (Wiley Blackwell Companions to National Cinema).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

A Guerra da Beatriz, Timor-Leste and the Women's Film

Smaill, B. M., 2018, In : Critical Arts: a south-north journal of cultural and media studies. 32, 4, p. 1-18 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

An ecocritical approach to documentary interactivity: spatial technologies in a film studies frame

Smaill, B., 30 Jul 2018, In : Studies in Documentary Film. 12, 3, p. 173-189 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Cinema of the world and women’s film culture: Susanne Bier’s transnational cinema

Smaill, B., 2018, ReFocus: : The Films of Susanne Bier. Molloy, M., Nielsen, M. & Shriver-Rice, M. (eds.). 1st ed. Edinburgh UK: Edinburgh University Press, p. 211-228 18 p. (ReFocus: The International Directors Series).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Smaill, B. M., 2018, Female Authorship and the Documentary Image: Theory, Practice and Aesthetics. . Ulfsdotter, B. & Backman Rogers, A. (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword / PostscriptOther

Activities 2011 2018

  • 2 Contribution to workshop, seminar, course

Documenting Environments: technologies, practices and imaginaries

Belinda Smaill (Organiser), James Oliver (Organiser), Therese Davis (Organiser), Billy Head (Organiser)
28 Nov 201830 Nov 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to workshop, seminar, course

The Place of the Female Director in 21st Century Film Cultures and Feminist Theory

Therese Davis (Organiser), Belinda Smaill (Organiser)
7 Nov 20118 Nov 2011

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to workshop, seminar, course