Dr David Sorfa (MA, PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies (on Research Leave for 2023)


Dr David Sorfa is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University  of Edinburgh and 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 has acted as Programme Director of the MSc and PhD in Film Studies and as the Postgraduate Research Director for the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. He was previously Head of Film Studies at Liverpool John Moores University.


PhD (University of Kent)

MA (University of Cape Town)

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Film-Philosophy Editorial Board
  • Convenor of the Edinburgh University Press Academic Committee
  • Edinburgh Network for Studies in Secrecy
  • 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)


  • Programme Director of the MSc and PhD in Film Studies (2013-2022)
  • Postgraduate Research Director (2020-2022)
  • Member of the Board Trustees of the Africa in Motion Film Festival (2015 - 2019)

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate teaching


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Unfortunately I am unavailable for new PhD supervision in 2024/25.  

Otherwise, I consider 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

  • Coming-of-Age in American,  British and Czech/Slovak Cinema
  • Existentialism and the War Film
  • Justice in Contemporary American Horror Film
  • Lars von Trier and Søren Kierkegaard
  • Epistemic Injustice, Fiction and Reality in Cinema
  • H. P.  Lovecraft and Postliterary Adaptation
  • Irene Dunne and Classical Hollywood Cinema

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 81 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