About CinePunked

“It’s only a film!” they tell you. But it’s never “only a film.” CinePunked’s mission is to put that argument to bed once and for all — and we want you to join us.

Books. Podcasts. Workshops. Events. Corporate training. We believe in being challenging but always accessible. You’ll never have to reach for the dictionary when CinePunked talks about film and popular culture, but we do want to make you think. Our core team are Robert, Rachael, Ben and Neil, but we also love to bring in friends and colleagues from the wider world of film and popular culture.

CinePunked uses film & popular culture as a starting point for the big discussions. We’ve hosted events and screenings on mental health and suicide. Pornography. #MeToo. Gaslighting. Book burnings and censorship. The zombie apocalypse. We’ve waxed lyrical about the films we love and argued about the films we don’t. We’ve talked to directors, composers, film historians, academics and superfans. CinePunked firmly believe that a deeper understanding of popular culture is essential for navigating the 21st century, and we want to give you the tools to do that — but we also want you to have fun with it along the way.

We launched (without a name) in October 2015, and since then we’ve been bringing our own brand of light-hearted but deep-rooted discussion to audiences as diverse as film festivals, A-level students, science fiction conventions, and plenty more besides. Our discussions take their energy from the chemistry between our team: one film historian (Robert), one film and gender theorist (Rachael), one music producer (Ben), and one film critic seeking the spiritual in the cinematic (Neil). The collision of our different perspectives is our core strength and no two discussions are ever the same.

CinePunked is based in but not restricted to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Film is global and so is our audience. We’re always interested in new ways of reaching people so, whether you’re a film fan with a burning question, a corporation looking to run a team building event with a difference, a film festival with an eye on using one of your screenings to open up a discussion on contemporary events — or anything else related to the wonderful world of film and popular culture — we’d love to hear from you. Get in contact with us here, sign up to our newsletter, or give us a shout on social media — we’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

We love film. We talk film. And we know film.

Meet the team

Robert is a writer, artist and critic. Formerly an archivist for Hammer Films, he was founding editor of Diabolique magazine and broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio Ulster. He holds a BA and MA in Film Studies and specialises in horror and cult cinema.

Find him at www.robertjesimpson.com

Musician and teacher by day, audio whizz by night. Ben wrote the podcast theme music and produced the audio for many of our earlier episodes. He is our technician for our live shows and our voice of the people. He is the only one of the core group not to have studied film. When he’s not producing, playing and recording for bands he makes his own music – listen at www.benblademansimpson.bandcamp.com

A film theorist with a specialism in the Hollywood toga epic, Rachael has a PhD in film theory and an unhealthy obsession with Blade Runner. She has written extensively on film, and is also a Clarke Award-shortlisted author of science fiction.

Find her at www.rbkelly.co.uk

One early Saturday morning in Belfast’s Strand Arts Centre, a young Neil fell in love with cinema. Disney’s Jungle Book was the gateway, but over time his cinematic palette broadened and deepened. Given his religious upbringing (because… well… Northern Ireland), Neil started to infuse his faith with film watching, and thus was Films and Faith born.