Focus interview with freelance journalist Michael Leader

Michael Leader is a freelance journalist specialising in entertainment, culture and technology. He regularly contributes to pop-culture websites, film magazines and even fits in a spot of blogging.

This week, FeaturesExec caught up with him to discuss the London Turkish Film Festival, teaching and Wu Ch’Eng-En’s Monkey.

About your journalism:

What do you write about?
Nowadays I mostly write about entertainment, culture and technology. From movies and video games, to literature, comics and music. However, I do dabble in current affairs journalism, and my first published articles were about ice hockey and cricket.

Where are we likely to see your work?
At the moment I write regularly for two websites, both with an all-round pop-culture focus, and they are the USA-based and UK-based Den of Geek. I’ve also recently had articles published with 4Talent Magazine, Film and Festivals and Swedish academic journal Film International. I also publish regular, varied content on my own blog, Wild Tyme,

What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I’ve just finished covering the London Turkish Film Festival for Film and Festivals magazine. I was thrilled to receive an invitation to the opening gala and premiere at the BFI Southbank cinema, and then a press pass for all screenings. All the films I saw were bursting with inspiration and creativity, and had a stylistic boldness that most mainstream English-language films are shy to attempt. It was a great opportunity to experience and champion a film industry that is on the rise, yet still under-represented on British cinema screens.

What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I would love to have a shot at interviewing enigmatic musician Tom Waits. More realistically, I would settle for interviews with writers Neil Gaiman and Cory Doctorow.

About You:

How would you pay the bills if you weren’t a journalist?
At some point during my time at university, I changed my opinion of teaching and education. As both education and journalism are rooted in communication and information, I would try to find a place in the academic world.

If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
I hate sounding boringly mundane, but it would probably go towards rent and bill payments. However, I would like to become a ‘friend’ of a local, independent cinema, or a member of the BFI.

What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
Books in my immediate vicinity: I’m currently reading Wu Ch’Eng-En’s 16th-century fable Monkey and I have been browsing through the luscious coffee-table book Watching the Watchmen, a beautifully designed ‘behind the scenes’ look at one of the most celebrated graphic novels by its artist, Dave Gibbons.

Blogs on my screen: Tech-bible Lifehacker (, gaming news source Kotaku (, the personal blog of writer Warren Ellis (, the workblog of artist Sean Phillips (, and the film criticism blog of David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson (
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