Dr Mariana Cunha is Lecturer in Screen Studies at the University of Westminster, where she teaches and leads modules on the BA (Hons) Film and on the MA in Film, Television and Moving Image. Her most recent research focuses on the relationship between ecology, affect, and film, more specifically on the role of nature and the nonhuman in contemporary global cinema and moving image-based art, with a special focus on Latin America. Mariana holds a PhD and an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies from Birkbeck, University of London. She also held two postdoctoral fellowships in Brazil before joining the University of Westminster.
Alongside her academic work, Mariana has worked in professional development for the creative industries, where she worked closely with filmmakers and film professionals. Mariana also contributes to film festivals and screenings as a film programmer in Brazil and in the UK. She is currently curating an exhibition on eco-aesthetics and ecological practices in contemporary Latin American visual arts, which will take place in Spring 2023. The exhibition brings together artists whose moving image and photographic practices challenge Western-centred territorial epistemologies and colonial ecologies and offer a renewed perspective on nature and the environment.
Mariana’s most recent research focuses on the role of nature and the nonhuman in contemporary global cinema and screen arts, thereby addressing the growing awareness of the impacts of the environmental crisis and how these come to bear on artistic and filmmaking practices from Latin America. This stems from her interest in cinematic landscape and the aesthetics of migration in Brazilian cinema. She has also developed publications on the relationship between the body, affect, and trauma in relation to deterritorialized and postcolonial subjects, including articles on Pedro Costa and Claire Denis. She co-edited the volumes Human Rights, Social Movements and Activism in Contemporary Latin American Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, with A. M. da Silva) and Space and Subjectivity in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, with A. M. da Silva).
Mariana has practical documentary filmmaking experience, having studied at the Escula Internacional de Cine y Televisión in San António de los Baños, Cuba (Cuba’s International School of Film and TV). She also writes on documentary filmmaking, with chapters and articles on Brazilian documentarian Eduardo Coutinho and ethnographic filmmaker Vicent Carelli, as well as a piece on transitional justice in South American Postdictatorship documentaries.