Dr Alexandra Leaney

Co-Course Leader for Digital Film Production and Screenwriting

+44 (0)1473 338826
School of Technology, Business and Arts

Alexandra graduated from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota with a BA in Economics and Studio Art. At Macalester Alex became interested in cultural studies through the diverse programme offerings, and the college's special emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society. During her MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia (UEA), this interest in cultural studies was furthered during her dissertation research on the representation of African Americans in hit Hollywood films. Alex's second MA is in Creative Writing: Scriptwriting, which she also completed at the UEA. During her study of creative writing, Alex engaged with the long and short form in film, television, radio and theatre. However, her main focus was on genre writing for film.

Alex went on to complete her PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the UEA. The thesis takes a research-led approach, drawing on narratology to develop a communication model for the screenplay. This model is then used to examine how focalization can be a key tool for both scholar and screenwriter. As illustrated in two major case studies in the critical component, the model permits a detailed analysis of screenplays, enabling more nuanced interpretations and a better understanding of how they function. The focus of the thesis then narrows to examine child protagonists in screenplays and films targeted primarily at an adult audience, focusing on films with a ‘child witness of trauma’ such as Pan’s Labyrinth. This 'niche genre' of films is explored further through the creative component of the thesis. 

Current Teaching

Developing Screen Ideas

Introduction to Writing Television and Radio Drama

Screenwriting: The Ten Minute Short

Screenwriting Workshop: The Feature Film

Development and Story Design: Final Project

Professional Practice (contributor)

Dissertation (contributor)


Past Teaching

Film Studies One: Analysis and Issues

Film Studies Two: Film History

Researching Film: Theories and Methods

Development and Pre-production: Final Project

British Cinema

Selected conference papers

“Point of view as the domain of the screenwriter: Jim Uhl’s use of point of view as an organising principle in his adaptation of Fight Club,” Screenwriting Research Network Conference, September 2016.

"Focalization and the child protagonist as ‘witness of trauma’ in films for adult audiences," Screenwriting Research Network Conference, September 2019.

"Universally appealing themes and characters as a means to overcome political and cultural boundaries?: A case study of the opportunities, benefits and barriers of writing for the Chinese market," presented with Dr Kira-Anne Pelican, Screenwriting Research Network Conference, September 2020.


Media (TV and radio appearances)

BBC Radio Suffolk ‘Oscar winners’, March 2014 and 2016.