International Recognition for the Interactive Filmmaking Lab

In the Interactive Filmmaking Lab we are passionate about our research, but we are also dedicated to research-led teaching and supervision for our students. Read here how we grow and gain international recognition:

And watch Ashton Clarke and Sophie Hiscock, our Film graduates, discussing their experience of working with us and creating the interactive crime drama Scapegoat (dir. Sophie Hiscock, 2019) which allows viewers to choose how to investigate a murder case!


New GTA-PhD Scholarship!

Project: Interaction Design and Storytelling for Interactive Films with Group Audience Participation
Supervisor: Dr. Polina Zioga, Lecturer in Film Production & Director of Interactive Filmmaking Lab
Location: School of Computing & Digital Technologies, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Tenure: Fixed term for 3 years from October 2019 to September 2022
Reference: CDT19-GTAPHD02
Application deadline: 20 August 2019

full PhD scholarship is available in the School of Computing and Digital Technologies of Staffordshire University for the project ‘Interaction Design and Storytelling for Interactive Films with Group Audience Participation. The successful candidate will receive an annual stipend of £15,009 with PhD tuition fees waived for three years and will be expected to take up to 250 hours of teaching or teachingrelated activities per academic year. The post is located on the Stoke-On-Trent campus. 

The project titled Interaction Design and Storytelling for Interactive Films with Group Audience Participation combines practice-based experimentation and theoretical exploration. The main objective of the research is to investigate and develop in practice a new approach to creating in parallel the interaction design and storytelling of interactive films that involve group audience participation in different settings, from the cinema theatre to online live streaming. It will also examine the affordances and challenges of the audience group dynamics and how these can be factored in the creative and technological processes of the interaction design and storytelling.  

It will be homed at the Interactive Filmmaking Lab, a research group dedicated to interdisciplinary research in the expanding area of interactive filmmaking and related media. The lab brings together work in creativity and cognitive sciences, with the use of innovative interactive technologies. This involves applied and creative projects in collaboration with industrial partners, exploratory and basic research, and exploration of new theoretical underpinnings that are currently shaping the discourse of the field. 

The project will be primarily supervised by Dr Polina Zioga, Lecturer in Film Production & Director of the Interactive Filmmaking Lab. The PhD researcher will be further supported through a range of training and other opportunities provided by the Staffordshire University Graduate School.

Full detailsincluding entry requirements and how to apply can be found on:
Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Polina Zioga at


We have been silent, but quite busy in the Interactive Filmmaking Lab! We have completed not one but two manuscripts/proposals on the future of film studies and our new interactive productions are well underway. But in the mean time, we are proudly looking forward to GradEX19, the annual exhibition of project work undertaken by final year students at Staffordshire University, taking place at our campus, this Wednesday the 5th of June 2019, together with GradEX: Art and Design on the 6th of June 2019.

The categories involve, among many others, also projects in Film Production (located in Cadman), including our lab members’ Ashton Clarke and Sophie Hiscock. Following the ‘resurgence in popularity in recent years’ of interactive filmmaking, Ashton will present her research ‘An Investigation into Screenwriting For a Short Interactive Film’ which looks ‘at the definition of interactive film, the importance of the narrative in interactive film and how an interactive film script can be formatted’. While Sophie will show Scapegoat (dir. Sophie Hiscock, 2019), a short interactive film, hosted on an HTML-based website. The genre of the film is crime drama, allowing the viewer to pick the people they wish to investigate. 

More information:
View this year’s entries:

We are celebrating – Happy Birthday 🎂 & Happy Holidays 🎄!

This December the Interactive Filmmaking Lab became 1 year old and what a year that was!

We have welcomed five new members with our expertise now expanded to include 360o, Virtual Reality (VR) and HTML-based interactive filmmaking, Motion Capture, Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs), Expanded and Live Cinema, and Neurocinematics.

Our research was published in Leonardo and in Frontiers in Neuroscience; was featured in The Conversation and The Guardian technology podcast; and was presented at the Mixed Reality Laboratory of the University of Nottingham as well as art exhibitions/events.

Last but not least, we are already preparing two new interactive productions, to be released in your screens and headsets in 2019!

Stay tuned and may you all have a Wonderful Festive Period and a Bright New Year!

‘Will mind-controlled films change cinema?’ Chips with Everything – The Guardian podcast

Dr Polina Zioga has been invited to talk about the future of cinema and how audiences can use their brain-activity to control a film in The Guardian podcast Will mind-controlled films change cinema? Chips with Everything.

Charlie Chaplin, known for the slapstick humour of his films, was part of a generation of actors who managed to continue working through the transition from the era of silent film to one filled with dialogue and sound.

The introduction of sound wasn’t the only way that people revolutionised cinema, and it won’t be the last.

So what does the history of cinema tell us about the evolution of technology in the arts?

And how can brain activity be used to change the plot of a film? Is there a place for the traditionally passive experience of watching a film to become more interactive, or will that detract from what we value about cinema? […]

You can listen to the podcast on The Guardian.

Dr Polina Zioga at the Mixed Reality Laboratory (University of Nottingham)

Dr Polina Zioga has been invited to give a guest talk at the Mixed Reality Laboratory (MRL) of the University of Nottingham. The MRL was established in 1999 and is the home of over sixty academics, research associates and PhD students.

Location: Mixed Reality Lab Meeting Space, Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham.
Date: Friday, 15 June 2018, 12:00-13:00.
More information:

Multi-Brain BCI Interaction for Live Cinema: Performer and Audience Participation, Cognition and Emotional Engagement

[…] ’Enheduanna—A Manifesto of Falling’, a live brain-computer cinema performance, enabled for the first time the simultaneous real-time multi-brain interaction of more than two participants, including a performer and members of the audience, using a passive EEG-based BCI system. The event was realised as a neuroscientific study conducted in a real-life setting. The results obtained from the participants’ data analysis reveal new information and contribute on new hypotheses about the effects of the length of time, but also the role of the directing strategy, dramaturgy and narrative structure on the performer’s and audience’s perception, cognitive state, and engagement.

Read the full announcement here.

‘New research shows how brain-computer interaction is changing cinema’

Dr Polina Zioga writes for The Conversation:

Over the past few years, we have seen the extraordinary development of neural prosthetic technologies that can replace or enhance functions of our central nervous system. For example, devices like Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) allow the direct communication of the brain with a computer. The most common technique applied in these devices, is Electroencephalography (EEG) – a recording of the electrical activity along the scalp.

These technologies are mainly used in health, but our new research shows how they are changing the future of cinema too.

Read the full article on The Conversation.

New Open Access Original Research article in Frontiers in Neuroscience, Special Issue ‘Futuristic Neural Prostheses’

“Enheduanna—A Manifesto of Falling” Live Brain-Computer Cinema Performance: Performer and Audience Participation, Cognition and Emotional Engagement Using Multi-Brain BCI Interaction

Polina Zioga1*, Frank Pollick2, Minhua Ma1, Paul Chapman3 and Kristian Stefanov1,2

1Interactive Filmmaking Lab, School of Computing and Digital Technologies, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
2Perception Action Cognition Lab, School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
3School of Simulation and Visualisation, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Abstract: The fields of neural prosthetic technologies and Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) have witnessed in the past 15 years an unprecedented development, bringing together theories and methods from different scientific fields, digital media, and the arts. More in particular, artists have been amongst the pioneers of the design of relevant applications since their emergence in the 1960s, pushing the boundaries of applications in real-life contexts. With the new research, advancements, and since 2007, the new low-cost commercial-grade wireless devices, there is a new increasing number of computer games, interactive installations, and performances that involve the use of these interfaces, combining scientific, and creative methodologies. The vast majority of these works use the brain-activity of a single participant. However, earlier, as well as recent examples, involve the simultaneous interaction of more than one participants or performers with the use of Electroencephalography (EEG)-based multi-brain BCIs. In this frame, we discuss and evaluate “Enheduanna—A Manifesto of Falling,” a live brain-computer cinema performance that enables for the first time the simultaneous real-time multi-brain interaction of more than two participants, including a performer and members of the audience, using a passive EEG-based BCI system in the context of a mixed-media performance. The performance was realised as a neuroscientific study conducted in a real-life setting. The raw EEG data of seven participants, one performer and two different members of the audience for each performance, were simultaneously recorded during three live events. The results reveal that the majority of the participants were able to successfully identify whether their brain-activity was interacting with the live video projections or not. A correlation has been found between their answers to the questionnaires, the elements of the performance that they identified as most special, and the audience’s indicators of attention and emotional engagement. Also, the results obtained from the performer’s data analysis are consistent with the recall of working memory representations and the increase of cognitive load. Thus, these results prove the efficiency of the interaction design, as well as the importance of the directing strategy, dramaturgy and narrative structure on the audience’s perception, cognitive state, and engagement.

Keywords: live brain-computer cinema performance, brain-computer interface (BCI), multi-brain interaction, electroencephalography (EEG), performer, audience participation, attention, emotional engagement

Complete article available on:

Citation: Zioga P, Pollick F, Ma M, Chapman P and Stefanov K (2018) “Enheduanna—A Manifesto of Falling” Live Brain-Computer Cinema Performance: Performer and Audience Participation, Cognition and Emotional Engagement Using Multi-Brain BCI Interaction. Front. Neurosci. 12:191. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00191

Received: 18 October 2017; Accepted: 09 March 2018; Published: 03 April 2018.

Edited by: Fivos Panetsos, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
Reviewed by: Jing Jin, East China University of Science and Technology, China; Celia Herrera-Rincon, Tufts University, United States

Copyright © 2018 Zioga, Pollick, Ma, Chapman and Stefanov. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Polina Zioga,

Daniel Hopkins in Stryx (Birmingham)

Daniel Hopkins is showing his film Movement #4 (2014) and performing in the following upcoming art exhibitions/events in Stryx, Birmingham (13 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5 5RS):

Black Hole Club Artists 2018 (Spring Season Launch)
Date: Friday, 30 March 2018, 18:00-20:00.
More information:

Stryx ‘…we don’t talk anymore’ 2
Date: Friday, 6 April 2018, 18:00-21:00.
More information: