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Jessica Bay, Alaina Schempp, Daniela Schlütz, and R. Colin Tait

Smith, Anthony N., Storytelling Industries: Narrative Production in the 21st Century. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018, 266 pp., $59.99 (eBook), ISBN: 978-3-319-70597-2.

Harrod , Mary, and Katarzyna Paszkiewicz, eds., Women Do Genre in Film and Television. New York: Routledge, 2018, 266 pp., $39.16 (paperback), ISBN: 9780367889845.

García, Alberto N. ed., Emotions in Contemporary TV Series. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, 253 pp., $89.00, ISBN: 978-1-137-56885-4.

Dunleavy, Trisha. Complex Serial Drama and Multiplatform Television. New York: Routledge, 2019, 202 pp., $46.95, ISBN: 9781138927759.

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From the Editor

Ted Nannicelli

Welcome to the first issue of Projections for 2021. After a brief hiatus from printing due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we are once again publishing online and in print. (A reminder to members of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image [SCSMI]: an online subscription to Projections is now the default inclusion for memberships; members who would prefer to receive hard copies can do so by paying a small surcharge.) I would like to thank the team at Berghahn, especially Janine Latham, for their ongoing support. Thanks too are due to associate editors Aaron Taylor and Tim Smith, along with Katalin Bálint who covered for Tim while he was on leave. Finally, I would like to extend special thanks to our referees in 2020 who willing donated their time to support us during what was a very difficult year for everyone. The names of all referees for 2020 are listed below as an acknowledgment of their service.

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The Feel-Good Film

Genre Features and Emotional Rewards

Keyvan Sarkhosh and Winfried Menninghaus

In film criticism, “feel-good films” are widely dismissed as intellectually undemanding and sentimental entertainment. This study identifies key characteristics, emotional effects, and aesthetic qualities of feel-good films from the audience’s perspective. Although the feel-good film does not appear to be a genre in its own right, it is more than just a rather vague category. Romantic comedy films with a substantial share of drama are shown to be the most prototypical feel-good genre blend. Fairy-tale likeness and perceived lightness were indicated as key characteristics of these films. Yet for all their focus on happiness and relaxation, the emotional trajectories also involve serious conflicts and are experienced as profoundly moving. Moreover, preferences for feel-good films differ greatly, depending on gender and age.

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Keyvan Sarkhosh and Winfried Menninghaus

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Carl Plantinga and Malcolm Turvey

Friends and colleagues of Stephen Prince were shocked and saddened to learn of his death at the age of sixty-five on 30 December 2020 in Blacksburg, Virginia, after a brief illness. Steve was a good friend to many, a prolific scholar with a deep love of cinema, a beloved teacher, a trusted and valued colleague, and a generous mentor to younger scholars.

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This interview with Paul Schrader, conducted by Todd Berliner, took place on 19 June 2020 as part of the annual meeting of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI). It has been edited and condensed for clarity. We are grateful to Mr. Schrader for his participation and permission to publish this transcription, to Professor Berliner for conducting the interview, and to Professor Carl Plantinga for organizing it.

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Visual Responses to Audio-Visual Asynchrony in Music Videos

Thorbjörn Swenberg and Simon Carlgren

Audio-visual rhythm can be achieved in a variety of ways, in film as well as in music videos. Here, we have studied human visual responses to video editing with regard to musical beats, in order to better understand the role of visual rhythm in an audio-visual flow. While some suggest that music videos should maintain synchrony in the audio-visual rhythm, and others claim that music videos should be rhythmically loose in their structure, there is a functional aspect of vision and hearing that reacts to the juxtaposition of audio and visual rhythms. We present empirical evidence of cognitive effects, as well as perceptual differences with attentional effects, for viewers watching music videos cut on-beat and off-beat.

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“This Ticking Noise in My Head”

How Sound Design, Dialogue, Event Structure, and Viewer Working Memory Interact in the Comprehension of Touch of Evil (1958)

John P. Hutson, Joseph P. Magliano, Tim J. Smith, and Lester C. Loschky

This study tested the role of the audio soundtrack in the opening scene of Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (Orson Welles and Albert Zugsmith, 1958) in supporting a predictive inference that a time bomb will explode, as the filmmakers intended. We designed two experiments and interpreted their results using the Scene Perception and Event Comprehension Theory (SPECT). Across both experiments, viewers watched the scene, we manipulated their knowledge of the bomb, and they made a predictive inference just before the bomb would explode. Experiment 1 found that the likelihood of predicting the explosion decreased when the soundtrack was absent. Experiment 2 showed that individual differences in working memory accounted for variability in generating the prediction when the soundtrack was absent. We explore the implications for filmmaking in general.

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Laura T. Di Summa


This article investigates the relationship between philosophical accounts of criticism, largely within the analytic tradition, and the practice of criticism. Specifically, I am interested in the performative, subjective, and often idiosyncratic nature of such a practice and in the advantages it can deliver in the understanding of works of mass art, in the inquiry over the nature of aesthetic judgments, and in initiating aesthetic appreciation. Promoting such a connection is also, in turn, a way of at least partially bridging the divide between analytic approaches and the kind of work more typically conducted by scholars in film studies.

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“Banal Apocalypse”

An Interview with Author Ta-wei Chi on the New Translation of The Membranes

Jane Chi Hyun Park and Ta-wei Chi


This interview is based on a series of email exchanges in November 2019 between Taiwanese writer and scholar Ta-wei Chi and Korean American scholar Jane Chi Hyun Park about Chi's queer speculative novella, The Membranes. The first section provides a summary of the novella, which was recently translated into English by Ari Heinrich. The second section paints a picture in broad brush strokes of the contexts in which Chi wrote The Membranes—taking into consideration key cross-cultural influences and critical reception in Taiwan in the 1990s. It also examines the cultural and political relevance of Chi's creative predictions about the future within the present historical moment. Finally, it explores afterlives for the novella in the form of sequels and possible cinematic adaptations.