Senior Lecturer in Directing (Factual)

  • Academic
  • Research
Simon Aeppli

Simon joined the Film Production team at UCA in 2009, previously working as a freelance filmmaker and educator. He teaches part-time on the documentary units across the course.


Simon Aeppli was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and creates subjective documentary work that explores marginal and overlooked histories from his homeland’s troubled past. Film London and Arts Council England have funded his films. His films have been screened at festivals and galleries throughout Britain and abroad and broadcast in the UK on CH4, FIVE, and ITV London.

In 2019, Simon received an AHRC technÄ“ scholarship for part-time PhD study at the University of Brighton for a project called Operation Bogeyman: The Folk Horror Landscape of 1970s Northern Ireland.  His research interests include theories of haunting, folk horror and essay filmmaking.

For further information on screenings and talks, visit

Recently, Simon co-produced a knowledge exchange project called F for Farnham with writer and director Sophie Austin. F For Farnham is a series of two audio ghost walks around Farnham, one of Surrey’s most haunted towns. The project was a collaboration between UCA, Farnham Town Council, and Farnham Castle Trust.

To listen to the stories, visit

Research statement

Simon makes personal and subjective forms of documentary. His research focuses on place and memory, and he uses various landscapes as sites of investigation and discovery, particularly the landscape of his hometown of Eden, Northern Ireland.

His recent research uses haunting and folk horror theories to excavate marginal and forgotten stories from Northern Ireland’s past and how they continue to affect the present.

The starting point for the research centres on the story of how a clandestine military organisation called the Information Policy Unit (IPU) coordinated fake satanic rituals throughout Northern Ireland during the early 70s to create terror and confusion across the province. The IPU used fear and superstition as a kind of weapon to tap into and confabulate the space between local supernatural lore and organised religion. The operation is one of the strangest tactics carried out by the British Military during the conflict.

The project explores the conflict's haunting legacy within the present-day landscape based on archive research, first-hand accounts from ex-intelligence officer Colin Wallace, and the original newspaper reports. Simon relooks at Wallace’s operation as a folk horror and, in doing so, explores the buried histories with the rural landscape of his homeland.

His essay film is presented as a kind of research journal that draws on several documentary modes: desktop documentary, video essay, archival, and personal journey. The film explores the lanes, roads, and archives to reveal a place of strangeness and horror. Through filmmaking, he unveils a complex narrative, intertwining personal and historical threads to shed light on the lingering spectres of Northern Ireland’s contested past.

Professional Membership, Affiliation and Consultancy

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2011).

In 2024, Simon was awarded a British Association for Irish Studies bursary to support his PhD project, Operation Bogeyman: The Folk Horror Landscape of 1970s Northern Ireland.

In 2019, he was awarded an AHRC Techne scholarship for his PhD study at The University of Brighton.

Simon Aeppli