Discovering Kubrickism: How Can a Film Director Encourage Creativity and Maintain Artistic Control?

Conference Paper

The relationship between a director, their art and their team during the production of a film remains a misunderstood and underdeveloped area of film research. In the case of Stanley Kubrick, myth, mystery and opinion have created a confusing and conflicted picture.

This research explores the leadership style of Stanley Kubrick and his approach to the challenge of balancing the need for artistic control with the need to involve the team in the creative process. The leadership approach discussed is defined as ‘Kubrickism’. Primary research was conducted through over 180 hours of document analysis at the Stanley Kubrick Archive and interviews with colleagues, relatives and experts including: Katharina Kubrick, Jan Harlan, Brian Cook, Dan Richter, Joy Cuff, David Charkham and Richard Daniels.

How did Stanley Kubrick have so much control of his creative output and avoid compromising his art? How did he research a film production? How did he visualise and plan a film production? How did he get such iconic performances from actors? How did he encourage innovative use of equipment and cinematic technique? By drawing on archive evidence from all of Kubrick’s film productions and interviews with cast, crew and experts from the Stanley Kubrick archives these questions are explored.

The social and cultural process of film production discussed in this research is a developing topic of study within the area of film theory and practice, more broadly placed within the visual arts and media studies. This subject also has relevance to cultural studies and cinematic history.

Inaugural Conference of the European Popular Culture Association (EUPOP 2012) London College of Fashion, UK.

11-13 July, 2012

Catriona McAvoy




Interviews: A collection of filmed interviews
Losing Yourself in the Archive: A Cautionary Tale