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Dr Roderik Smits

Dr Roderik Smits

Research Associate

School of Journalism, Media and Culture

Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS

I am a Research Associate in the School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC), where I work on the AHRC-funded project Screen Agencies as Cultural Intermediaries. Led by Dr. Caitriona Noonan (Cardiff University) and Prof. Ruth McElroy (University of South Wales), we analyse how screen agencies impact on the production and distribution of film and television content through their funding schemes, training, education programmes and heritage work. It is the first major study that draws a comparison between screen agencies in seven small European nations.

I am also a project member of the AHRC-funded project Beyond the Multiplex: Audiences for Specialised Film in English Regions. It brings together teams from the Universities of York, Glasgow, Sheffield and Liverpool. I conducted interviews with executives of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN), cinema exhibitors, VOD platforms and distributors in the UK to investigate how less familiar, specialised films can reach diverse film audiences in regions outside London.

Both projects align with my broader interest in the role of cultural intermediary organisations in the film and television industries.

I have been a project member of various research projects in the past six years:

  • Project member of the HERA-funded research project Mediating Cultural Encounters Through European Screens (MeCETES), Oct. 2013 – Oct. 2016. Bringing together teams from the University of York, University of Copenhagen and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, it was the first major study to provide much-needed insight in the funding, production, distribution and consumption of European films and television series.
  • Project member of the scoping study How On-demand Culture is Changing the Business of Films and High-End Television Drama, Aug. 2016 – July 2017.
  • Advisor and contributor to the EU Creative Europe-funded Research project ‘The Circulation of European Films: The Distribution Sector Perspective’, Jan. 2015 – Apr. 2016.

I completed my PhD in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York (UK). 





Research interests

My research lies at the interface between the Humanities and the Social Sciences. I am interested in the changing nature of the screen industries, the role of cultural gatekeepers, the development of VOD platforms and the perspective of production companies. My research approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on debates within Film, Media and Culture Studies.

My book Gatekeeping in the Evolving Business of Independent Film Distribution was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2019.

I am part of an AHRC-funded scoping study about UK-China film distribution mechanisms. The purpose of the study is to bring UK and Chinese film companies together to support the circulation of UK films in China and Chinese films in the UK. 

Other online publications

I am keen to make an impact beyond the academy, and have contributed to various industry reports and media articles:

  • ‘Video-on-Demand and the Myth of Endless Choice' [link] The Conversation, 16 August 2018.
  • ‘Mubi’s Expanding Film Business’ [link] Cineuropa industry research, 2 June 2017.
  • ‘Film Distribution: Beyond Traditional Release Strategies’ [link] Cineuropa industry research, 30 August 2016.
  • ‘UK Film Distribution: What’s Changing?’ (co-written with Huw Jones & Andrew Higson). [link] MeCETES pre-conference report, June 2016.
  • ‘UK Film Distribution: What’s Changing for Producers?’, [link] Cineuropa industry research, 24 March 2016.
  • Several blog posts for MeCETES [link]

Industry Engagement

I have developed a network of industry connections and have been invited to participate as a speaker and moderator in several industry events organised by Creative Europe (EU), Film Expo South (UK) and the LIGHTS Frankfurt International Film Festival (DE). I have also contributed to a Creative Europe report about film distribution.


  • BAFTSS (British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies. Special interest group ’Screen Industries’.
  • NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies)

Editorial duties

I am a reviewer for PoeticsCreativity and Innovation Management and Bloomsbury Publishing.