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Hong Kong Film-Makers and British Cinema: Industrial, Commercial and Cultural Exchange

   the Department of Media and Communication

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  Dr Lin Feng, Prof James Chapman, Dr Gozde Naiboglu  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project Highlights:

  • Topical subject matter due to the current wave of Hong Kong migration to Britain.
  • Sits within current intellectual developments in film studies exploring ‘exchange’ between film industries and film cultures.
  • Combines SOA/film studies research expertise in Chinese film cultures (Dr Feng) and British cinema (Professor Chapman).

Research context: The historic links between Britain and Hong Kong and the current increase in migration from Hong Kong to Britain following the National Security Law makes this a timely moment to explore industrial, commercial and cultural exchange between Hong Kong film-makers and British cinema. While there is now a significant body of work on the migration of both mainland Chinese and Hong King/Taiwanese film-makers to the United States, there has hitherto been no comparable research on the British context. However, Britain has had a very significant impact on Hong Kong film-making, both through co-production arrangements and through the role of the London Film School in acting as a training ground for Hong Kong film-makers.

Examples of UK/Hong Kong exchange include:

  • Co-productions between Hong Kong and British producers: e.g. the Shaw Brothers and Hammer Film Productions (The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, 1974).
  • Hong Kong as a location and service facility for British-made film and television productions: e.g. The Man With the Golden Gun (1974) and the television series Yellowthread Street (1999) about the Royal Hong Kong Police.
  • A number of important Hong Kong new wave film-makers trained at the London Film School: e.g. Ann Hui (The Secret, 1979; Ordinary Heroes, 1999; Our Time Will Come, 2017) and Ho Yim (Red Dust, 1990; The Day the Sun Turned Cold, 1994; Floating City, 2012).

Research Questions: While it is important for the successful applicant also to have input into shaping the project, indicative research questions are:

  • What are the political and institutional contexts that frame Hong Kong/British exchange, and how do external factors (such as the handover of HK to Chinese rule, the Asian financial crisis and the Coronavirus pandemic) impact upon such exchange?
  • What are the economic and cultural determinants underpinning Anglo-Hong Kong co-production arrangements and how successful have such co-productions been?
  • What support (institutional, academic, financial, cultural) has been available for Hong Kong film-makers training in the UK?
  • How have Hong Kong film-makers incorporated skills and knowledge from Britain into their film practice?
  • How do the patterns of Anglo-Hong Kong film exchange exemplify the broader picture of transnational film cultures in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries?

In writing your personal statement, we ask you to consider these points:

  • How have your studies to date equipped you to conduct research into film industries and film cultures?
  • How do your knowledge and skills match this project (please provide specific examples where possible)?
  • In shaping the research to fit your own interests, which aspects of this broad subject area would you envisage focusing on?


  • Researching industries: including investigation of the economic and industrial contexts and relationships between British and Hong Kong cinemas.
  • Researching people: mapping the career trajectories and contributions of creative professionals including both ‘above the line’ and ‘below the line’ workers.
  • Researching cultures: exploring creative exchange including postcolonial narratives, representations of urban landscapes, spatiality and migration.

The research will involve both industry research, including analysis of the trade press (UK and China) and archival sources (British Film Institute Special Collections, Film Finances Archive), and textual analysis. Dr Feng and Professor Chapman are both experienced in industry research, involving archival and published primary sources. Subject to negotiation, the research may also involve interviews with film-makers, in which case the appropriate ethical clearance and training will be applied.

A working knowledge of Mandarin Chinese would be useful though not essential, as most of the primary sources (published and unpublished) are in English and the subjects of the research (Hong Kong film-makers) usually speak and write in English. A language requirement would also reduce the potential pool of applicants. First supervisor Dr Feng will advise the student on translation in the event that unique Chinese language primary sources are encountered during the research. We expect this project to draw applications from students with degrees in Film Studies, Media Studies, and possibly History and Chinese Studies.

Entry Requirements:

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.  The University of Leicester English language requirements may apply

How To Apply  

Please refer to our How to Apply information at


With your application, please include:

  • CV
  • Personal statement explaining, briefly, your interest in the project and your experience ( If you apply for two projects include a statement for each project on the same document)
  • Degree Certificates and Transcripts of study already completed and if possible transcript to date of study currently being undertaken
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if applicable
  • In the reference section please enter the contact details of your two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available.

You can apply for a maximum of 2 projects. 

For each project you want to be considered for:

  • In the Supervisor Section: Enter the Project Reference for each project you want to be considered for (the Project Reference is on the project listing above and on the project description document)
  • In the Project Title Section: Enter the Project Title for each project in order of priority (e.g. Project 1, Project 2)

In the Funding Section: Enter Future 100 Scholarship or select Future 100 Scholarship from the drop down menu.

Funding Notes

Future 100 Scholarships provide funding for 3.5 years to include:
• Tuition fees at UK rate
• Stipend at UKRI rates (currently £15,609. 2022 rates to be confirmed)
• Access to a Research Training Support Grant of up to £1,500 pa for 3 years.
• Bench fees of £5,000 per annum for three years for laboratory-based studies


Lin Feng, Chow Yun-Fat and Territories of Hong Kong Stardom (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) – including analysis of the production cultures of Hong Kong cinema.
Lin Feng and James Aston (eds), Renegotiating Film Genres in East Asian Cinemas and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) – exploring national and transnational film cultures in Asia.
James Chapman, Cinemas of the World: Film and Society from 1895 to the Present (Reaktion, 2003) – text book including chapters on East Asian cinemas and transnational cinemas.
James Chapman and Nicholas J. Cull, Projecting Empire: Imperialism and Popular Cinema (I. B. Tauris, 2009) – case studies of how British and American films have negotiated colonialist narratives.
James Chapman, The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945-1985 (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2022) – including extensive archival research on funding institutions and production cultures.
Gozde Naiboglu, Post-Unification Turkish German Cinema: Work, Globalisation and Politics Beyond Representation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) – address theoretical contexts for transnational cinemas and migration.
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