Since the birth of film some 125 years ago, the medium has undergone spectacular changes. The moving image has diversified with increasing globalization, rapid advancements in digital media technologies, and a multiplication of media and connectivity platforms. But a new journal aims to return to the core of these varied expressions of film culture: storytelling. “The journal aims to bring scholarly engagement in film and media studies back to the fundamentals of storytelling,” says its founder, Professor Ying Zhu in the Academy of Film.

Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images, housed at the Academy of Film and published by the Michigan Publishing, will serve as an international and interdisciplinary forum for intellectual debates concerning the politics, economics, culture, media, and technology of the moving image. Although there is no strict adherence to any particular methodological approach, the new journal emphasizes storytelling as a particular field of inquiry and covers modes ranging from narrative features to documentaries, journalistic videos, personal essays, broadcast series and serial dramas, and user-generated content. “No cinema or media journal has before focused on storytelling across multiple platforms and genres, theatrically and digitally both in its affect (emotional engagement) and effect (social impact). Examining how audio-visual narrative works and functions in its multifaceted formations and formats, this journal fills that void,” says Professor Zhu, who is also Director of the Academy’s Centre for Film and Moving Image Research.

Furthermore, the need to engage in cross-border, cross-disciplinary, cross-ideological and cross-cultural interactions has never assumed a more social, political, and cultural relevance as it does now. The new journal, thus, serves this need as a platform of mutual storytelling which encourages discourses that provoke a better understanding of culturally distinct narratives. Storytelling is vital to the way different social, political, historical, ideological, and cultural narratives are presented, engaged with, and understood by individuals, groups, and societies with distinct and widely dissimilar perspectives. Professor Zhu succinctly states that “storytelling can empower or impoverish by either enriching or depriving our individual agencies.”

Global Storytelling will provide a better understanding of how individual and group identities and affiliations can be shaped and influenced through storytelling. The journal is soliciting submissions from humanist scholars, social scientists, leading public intellectuals, policymakers, and film and media practitioners in the form of scholarly papers, thought-provoking short dialogue pieces, and engaging commentaries. The inaugural edition will be published in spring 2021.

The Centre for Film and Moving Image Research hosted Global Storytelling Symposium at Hong Kong Baptist University on January 28-30, 2020. It served as a launching pad for the new journal.