Comm & Media Week keynote speaks on Hollywood abroad


Dr. Courtney Brannon Donoghue delivers her keynote presentation April 3 as part of the Comm & Media Week series of events. Photos courtesy of Raul Alonzo Jr./Island Waves

For Dr. Courtney Brannon Donoghue, associate professor of Cinema Studies at Oakland University in Michigan, her path into the Media Studies field was not always clear. Initially looking to major in Biomedical Science as an undergrad, it was her exposure to foreign cinema in a film class that really piqued her interest.

“It just blew my mind,” Donoghue said, “how moving they were, how beautiful they were. … It was like nothing I had ever seen. I wanted more. I wanted to know more.”

It was an interest that prompted the Corpus Christi native to pursue the field in earnest.

“I took another class and another class and realized, ‘Oh, I can have a job where I can do this for a living?’” Donoghue said. “It just went from there. I just followed what I was passionate and interested in.”

Donoghue returned to her hometown as the keynote speaker of the TAMU-CC Comm & Media Week which, according to the event website, is an “annual series of events bringing students into contact with visiting scholars, professionals, community members, and alumni.” This year, the event was held April 1–5.

Dr. Courtney Brannon Donoghue presents a slide highlighting the process of localization films produced in the U.S. go through abroad. Donoghue detailed some of the issues that some films may encounter during her keynote presentation.

Donoghue’s keynote address, held Wednesday in the University Center Oso Room, touched on her research into the localization practices Hollywood companies engage in abroad. It’s a research process that culminated in her first book, “Localising Hollywood,” released in 2017 from the British Film Institute Press. The book explores Donoghue’s time overseas, particularly Brazil, where she sought to understand the tensions between the local and global film industry and culture.

“What does it mean for these movies to be both produced for Brazilian audiences, with Brazilian money, within this very particular culture of filmmaking,” Donoghue said, “but also have these big global corporations involved? Their money, the way they saw commercial filmmaking, their ideas about what is a blockbuster, how to market a blockbuster … this was driving the whole project.”

Dozens attended the presentation where Donoghue touched on some of her findings, including the growing emphasis on international box office earnings, distribution methods and the growth of local language productions in which Hollywood studios co-produce films abroad. It was through such findings that Donoghue was able to complete her book and share her research with others.

“A lot of what we do as academics is not just teaching,” Donoghue said, “but doing research and producing knowledge.”