Dr David Sorfa (MA, PhD)

Programme Director of MSc & PhD in Film Studies | LLC Postgraduate Research Director


Dr David Sorfa is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University  of Edinburgh and Programme Director of the MSc and PhD in Film Studies.  He is editor-in-chief of the journal Film-Philosophy. He has written  on Michael Haneke, Czech film, surrealism, belief in cinema and the  philosophical implications of point-of-view. He has particular interests in film-philosophy, Existentialism, phenomenology, the work of Jacques Derrida and the presentation of thought and thinking in cinema. 

He was previously Head of Film Studies at Liverpool John Moores University.


PhD (University of Kent)

MA (University of Cape Town)

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • LLC Postgraduate Research Director 
  • Programme Director, MSc & PhD Film Studies
  • Editor-in-Chief, Film-Philosophy
  • Convenor of the Edinburgh University Press Committee
  • Member of the SGSAH Media, Communications, Film & TV Catalyst
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)


  • British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS)


Member of the Board Trustees of the Africa in Motion Film Festival (2015 - 2019)

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate teaching


  • Film Adaptation
  • Cinema Auteurs
  • Film Criticism and Analysis
  • Comparative Literature (2 seminars on Jacques Derrida)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Unfortunately I am unavailable for new PhD supervision in 2022 and 2023. Otherwise, I welcome PhD applications in the areas of film-philosophy, film theory and cinematic aesthetics. I am also interested in projects related to European and classical Hollywood cinema.

If you are interested in applying for the PhD in Film Studies please go to: https://www.ed.ac.uk/literatures-languages-cultures/film/phd-film-studies

Current PhD students supervised

  • The Ethics of Forgiveness in the Horror Film
  • Lars von Trier, Existentialist Theology and Psychoanalysis
  • Fiction and Reality in Cinema
  • H. P.  Lovecraft and Postliterary Adaptation
  • Film Poetics and Chinese Aesthetic Theory
  • Irene Dunne and Classical Hollywood Cinema
  • Nostalgia in Contemporary American Television

Second Supervisor

  • Masculinity and Turkish Cinema - with Dr Nacim Pak-Shiraz

Past PhD students supervised

Research summary

  • Film-philosophy and theory
  • Czech, European and classical Hollywood cinema
  • Art house film
  • Post-structuralism and phenomenology
  • Existentialism
  • Subjectivity in cinema
  • Genre, especially the Detective film, the Western and Romantic Comedy
  • Surrealism
  • Film Adaptation

Research activities

View all 78 activities on Research Explorer

View all 50 publications on Research Explorer

  • 2016 - 2020: MA Film Studies, King's College London
  • 2016 - 2020: BA Film Studies and English, MLitt Film Studies, University of Dundee
  • 2010 - 2014: BA Film, Falmouth University
  • 2010 - 2014: BA Film, University of the West of England, Bristol
  • 2008 - 2012: MA Screening Europe, University of Swansea