When wearing his academic hat, Emilio Audissino is an audiovisual scholar and film/media musicologist. He holds a B.A. (Hons) in Arts, Music and Drama from the University of Genoa (Italy) and a Master’s in Cinema from the University of Turin (Italy). He also studied the legal, administrative, and financial aspects of film-making in his MBA in Arts Administration from the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan, to be able to also handle the more concrete and pragmatic contingencies of the business.
He holds two PhDs: one in History of Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Pisa (Italy), focussed on the visual aspects of international cinema as well as video-arts and multimedia products, in a research context inspired by Continental Philosophy. The second one in Film Studies from the University of Southampton (UK), where he studied the audiovisual aspects of cinema and media with an approach based on Analytic Philosophy. This multi-faceted education makes him a well-rounded and complete film and media scholar, which is also enriched by his background as an independent film-maker and screenwriter. This academic/creative double expertise allows him to comfortably tackle the practical/technical aspects of cinema and media alongside the historical/theoretical ones.
Emilio Audissino spent research and study periods in Boston, US, Paris, France, and was Visiting Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US. He was Web Film Editor for the American academic journal “Italian Americana”. In 2013 he won the “Vice-Chancellor’s Award in Film” at the University of Southampton, UK, to finance a research project that concerned a new approach to the analysis of music in films blending Neoformalism and Gestalt Psychology. At the University of Southampton, he is now Honorary Fellow in the Film Department.
Dr Audissino’s main research areas are Hollywood and Italian cinema, and his interests are audiovisual analysis and theory; screenwriting; stylistic and formalist media analysis; comedy; horror; and sound and music for media. He has published journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries on the history and analysis of films from the silent era to contemporary cinema. He has taught film history, technique and theory at the Universities of Genoa, Southampton, Utrecht, West London, and UNINT Rome.
In his teaching and publications he has touched upon diverse national cinemas, ranging from the silent era, through classicism and modernism, to the contemporary global cinema and media, with both a diachronic/developmental and a synchronic/comparative approach. Specifically, he has taught and lectured on Italian cinema; Hollywood cinema; French cinema; international silent cinema; film theory and analysis; film music; audiovisual theory; screenwriting; film style and technique; film production; television. While rooted in Film and Media Studies, his research and teaching have also touched upon Visual Studies (multimedia presentations and concerts), Music (film music, Psychomusicology), Creative Writing (writing for film and television), Psychology (Gestalt Theory and Cognitive Film Studies), Translation Studies (adaptation and translation for audiovisual media) and Film and Media Production.
His first book (in Italian) was an examination of the representation and meaning of childhood in Steven Spielberg’s cinema (L’infanzia nel cinema di Steven Spielberg, 2010). He is the author of the monograph John Williams’s Film Music: ‘Jaws’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and the Return of the Classical Hollywood Music Style (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), the first book-length study in English on the composer, which has sold circa 5,000 copies so far and is employed in university courses in the US, UK, EU, and Australia. The impact of his research on film music has led to commissions and consultancies from such institutions as the Library of the Congress (Washington D.C.), Cambridge University Press, the Milan Symphony Orchestra, Routledge, and The Professional Teaching Institute (UK). Audissino is interviewed about his ground-breaking research on John Williams here (English) and here (Italian).
In 2016, the research institute “Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini” appointed him to design and direct an international research project on John Williams: he was in charge of a team of eighteen scholars from all over the world, and the result was a collection of essays John Williams. Music for Films, Television, and the Concert Stage (Brepols, 2018).
His book Film/Music Analysis. A Film Studies Approach (2017) blends Neoformalism and Gestalt Theory to address music in films from an original film scholar’s perspective and with an attention to the analysis of the film-makers’ creative choices. More recently, he co-edited (with Emile Wennekes) the volume Cinema Changes: Incorporations of Jazz in the Film Soundtrack (Brepols, 2019), a transnational exploration of the use of jazz music in cinema.
Emilio Audissino is committed to disseminating his research findings in a straightforward and uncomplicated manner – even the most complicated theoretical concept can and should be communicated as plainly as possible – and to the widest possible audience. Besides his publications, he has a remarkable track record of international conference presentations, including keynote talks. He has also presented his research before more general audiences, with well-received and engaging talks. He presented his John Williams book in the US with a 2014 tour that included live presentations and radio interviews: for example in the Wisconsin Public Radio programme “University of the Air”. He has been consulted and interviewed as a film-music expert by Radio France, the BBC, and 89.3 KPCC Southern California Radio. His research on John Williams was cited by Alex Ross in The New Yorker.
While maintaining a keen interest in media music and audiovisual analysis and an active publication agenda in those areas, he is currently focussing his research on serial writing for television and on comedy, with a project on the film and TV works of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and a handbook on music in comedy cinema (co-edited with Emile Wennekes).