Dr David Sorfa (MA, PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies | Director of PhD Film Studies


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 Jean-Paul Sartre, 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)
  • BA (Hons) (University of Cape Town)

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Director of the PhD in Film Studies
  • Editor-in-Chief, Film-Philosophy journal
  • 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 in Film Studies (2013-2022)
  • Postgraduate Research Director for LLC (2020-2022)
  • Board Trustee of the Africa in Motion Film Festival (2015 - 2019)

Postgraduate teaching


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome PhD applications in the areas of film-philosophy, film theory and cinematic aesthetics. I am particularly interested in projects related to existentialism.

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

Past PhD students supervised

Research summary

  • Film-philosophy and film theory
  • Existentialism
  • Phenomenology
  • Czech, European and English-language cinema

Current research interests

Fiction and imagination via existentialism
  • 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

PhD External Examiner

  • 2023: University of Sydney
  • 2019: Liverpool John Moores University
  • 2019: University of Leeds (MPhil)
  • 2016: Royal College of Art
  • 2014: University of Cape Town
  • 2014: University of Western Australia
  • 2008: University of Cape Town
  • 2007: University of Cape Town