Roderik Smits

 Roderik Smits

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Film and Media Studies

1Room 7238Tel: +49 331 6202 163Send an E-Mail

Phone: +49.331.6202.162

Room: 1.014.4 (House 7)

Research interests

My research focuses on the changing nature of the film industry and is positioned at the intersection of Film Studies and Media Industry Studies. It provides a spotlight on film distribution and film exhibition as rapidly developing research areas in the context of the digital revolution. I am particularly interested in the role of gatekeepers who exert control over the process of enabling and disabling access to films in international markets.

Current research project

I joined Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF in autumn 2019 to undertake the research project “Online Platforms and Film Circulation”. Drawing on in-depth analysis of online platforms, expert interviews and audience research, the project examines how VOD platforms engage with and support non-mainstream, specialised films to exploit their potential in the online market. I have been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by Postdoc Network Brandenburg to undertake this project.

More information about my project is available here.


I have been a researcher for various major research projects in the past six years:

I completed my PhD in Film Studies at the University of York (2013-2017) and subsequently worked as post-doctoral researcher at the University of York (2018) and Cardiff University (2019).

Academic book publication

  • Smits, R.(2019).Gatekeeping in the Evolving Business of Independent Film Distribution. Monograph. Palgrave Global Media Policy and Business book series. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 278 pp. (peer-reviewed).

Academic journal articles and contributions to edited collections

Blogs, interviews and other publications (open access)

I am keen to make an impact beyond the academy, and have contributed to various industry reports, media articles and blogs:

  • ‘Coronavirus: How Hollywood Studios and Online Video Platforms are Responding’ [link]. Flow Journal, 21 April 2020.
  • ‘Sales Agents and Distributors Remain Equally – if not more – Important to the Creation and Circulation of Films in International Markets’ [link]. Interviewed by Cineuropa, 23 March 2020.
  • ‘Video-on-Demand and the Myth of Endless Choice' [link]. The Conversation, 16 August 2018.
  • ‘UK Film Distribution: What’s Changing?’ (co-written with Huw Jones & Andrew Higson), [link]. MeCETES pre-conference report, June 2016.
  • Several blog posts for Cineuropa [link]
  • Several blog posts for MeCETES [link]

Industry Engagement

I have developed a network of industry connections and have been invited to participate as a speaker and moderator in several industry events organised by Creative Europe (EU), Film Expo South (UK) and the LIGHTS Frankfurt International Film Festival (DE). I have also contributed as a consultant and researcher to a Creative Europe report about film distribution.

Editorial duties

I am a reviewer for Poetics, Routledge and Bloomsbury Publishing.