Dr. Mar Diestro-Dópido BA, MA, PhD | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Dr Mar Diestro-Dópido, BA, MA, PhD

Job title

British Film Institute Sight & Sound Postdoctoral Research Fellow


As a Research Fellow at Central, I am currently working on a book project on Film Festivals, developing my PhD into a monograph for Legenda.

In addition to my academic research, I am a trained media translator, and a researcher and critic for the film magazine Sight & Sound. I have written extensively on Spanish language cinemas and assembled film programmes on the same at various institutions.

I studied English and translation at the Official Languages School of Valladolid in Spain, where I was also involved in theatre groups and music bands since a very early age. I have been interested in cinema for as long as I can remember - I moved to London in 1999 lured by the possibility of studying it here thanks to a generous EU sponsorship. 

I gained a BA (First class honours) in Film Studies at Metropolitan University and an MA (distinction) in History of Film and Visual Media at Birkbeck. Ultimately I was awarded a PhD on Film Festivals, an AHRC-funded collaboration between Queen Mary, University of London and the British Film Institute, BFI.

As part of my MA at Birkbeck I had a two-month internship at Sight & Sound in 2007, and I have been part of the editorial team as a researcher and critic since then.

I have worked as a media translator for over two decades. My work has been published in both Spanish and English, including translations of texts by Pedro Almodóvar, Peter Greenaway and Prof Maria M. Delgado (also at Central), as well as various international film critics and film festivals. I have worked as a programme adviser on Spanish-language film at the BFI London Film Festival.

I have led masterclasses on the subject of film festivals, Carlos Saura’s Cría Cuervos, Pedro Almodóvar’s work in relation to the Spanish cinema made in the 80s as well as an event on the women in his films entitled ‘High Heels and Nervous Breakdowns - Almodóvar's Women’ that took place in September 2016, organised by the BFI. I am a panel guest at a forthcoming event ‘BFI Films and Translation’ that will take place on 26 May at the BFI Southbank.

Research Areas

  • Film Festivals: in particular, their role as cultural platforms and creators of cultural value, and how that links with their host city/country’s political agendas.
  • Spanish cinema: particularly those that make use of the deforming aesthetic of the esperpento in order to portray a society in crisis: the cinema of Berlanga, Almodóvar, Buñuel, but also the work of lesser known historical directors such as José Luis Cuerda and Francisco Regueiro, and contemporary directors such as Paco León.
  • Horror/sci-fi/fantasy cinema: or in other words, film as a means to express and tap into ‘the other’, a longstanding passion of mine; from the surrealism of Buñuel and David Lynch, to the intricately evoked ‘other’ places of Guillermo del Toro, to the rarefied landscapes and interior worlds of Andrei Tarkovsky to the more recent inheritors of this tendency, such as Denis Villeneuve’s masterful Arrival.
  • Film acting


2013. Pan’s Labyrinth, BFI Film Classics (London: BFI/Palgrave Macmillan)

I am currently completing a second book Film Festivals: Cinema and Cultural Exchange contracted by Legenda (Studies in Spanish and Lusophone culture series forthcoming 2017, see http://www.legendabooks.com/titles/isbn/9781910887035.html).

The book is adapted from my AHRC-funded PhD, which was awarded the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland prize for the best doctoral thesis of the year.


2014. ‘San Sebastián: A Film Festival of Contrasts’. In New Trends in Contemporary Spanish Cinema, edited by Fernando Canet and Duncan Wheeler (Bristol: Intellect), pp.405-418.

2017. ‘The Film Festival Circuit: Identity Transactions in a Translational Economy’ in A Companion to Latin American Cinema, ed. by Maria M. Delgado, Stephen M. Hart and Randal Johnson (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell), p. 99-113.

Published Translations. Selected examples include:

2011. Sophie Mayer (ed.), ‘The Personal is Political’, Punto de Vista: Documentary Festival of Navarra

2009. Peter Greenaway, Veronese, The Wedding at Cana, Venice Biennale


I am a practicing film critic and have produced more than a hundred film and book reviews and over 70 features for a range of specialist magazines. These include:

2016 ‘My Father The Hero’, Sight & Sound, vol. 26, issue 10, October, pp.36-39. Essay also published as a companion to the BFI Blue-ray relaunch of Víctor Erice’s El Sur.

2016 ‘New narratives: Spanish stories at London Film Festival 2016’, Sight & Sound, 22 October.

2016 ‘Sins of the Fathers’, Sight & Sound, April

2015 ‘‘Strong’ women – latinate quarter at London 2015’, Sight & Sound Online, 5 November.

2015 'Ghost Hunter', Sight & Sound, vol. 25, issue 11, November, pp.22-26

2015 ‘Paradise Lost’, Sight & Sound, vol.25, issue 5, May, pp.18-21

2015 ‘Living the Dream’, Sight & Sound, vol.25, issue 5, May, p.22

2014 ‘London 2014 roundup: ‘esperpento’ Iberian grotesque. Absurdist, macabre family disorder seems to be the flavour of this year’s best Spanish-language comedies’, Sight & Sound Online, 3 November.

2013 ‘London 2013: Spanish cinema – beyond crisis? Three new movies by London Film Festival debutantes exemplify the new DIY ethos of Spain’s embattled film sector’, Sight & Sound Online, 18 October.

2012 ‘The Pain In Spain’, Sight & Sound Online, 19 October. 

2011 ‘From Buñuel to Lorca’, Sight & Sound online edition, October.