Head of Programming
For its 17th edition, the UK’s leading festival for new cinema and artists’ moving image is seeking an experienced film programmer to fulfil a newly created Head of Programming role.
They will play an essential role in the curation, preparation and delivery of BFMAF’s Festival Programme. Working with the Festival Director, they will manage its team of three Associate Programmers and liaise with the Festival Office on the production and communication of film programmes.
The successful candidate will demonstrate foresight and creative verve in their active experience and knowledge of moving image exhibition, whether in a festival, visual arts or online context. The Head of Programming must be open to innovation. Alongside the Festival team, they will seek pragmatic audience facing solutions to structural and environmental challenges facing contemporary cinema exhibition. The Head of Programming will have enough applied knowledge of the new cinema and artists’ moving image ecologies in which BFMAF sits, to comfortably work beyond these.
They will have strong experience of curating cinema in a film festival context as well as developing partnerships directly with artists, filmmakers, distributors, sales agents, commissioners and funders.
The Head of Programming will represent the Festival at a local, national and international level, supporting the Festival Director and Festival Manager in the continued development of the Festival. The appointed candidate must be a team player, self-motivated and extremely well organised.
Joining a small team of administrative, management and programming staff, this is a rewarding opportunity for the right candidate to extend their programming experience, further develop leadership skills and expand upon international networks.
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival holds to pluralist and revisionist ideas of contemporary cinema, its history and curation. Short, medium or feature-length Festival selections can include arthouse, documentary or genre cinema; artists’ moving image and sound; world premieres and freshly restored archival titles; live, installation-based and performative works. Together, they hold shared and overlapping interests in asking what new cinema might be.
In presenting its Festival, BFMAF strives to understand and work towards optimal exhibition conditions for artists and filmmakers’ work within the resources and contexts it has available. In evaluating this, the accessibility of audiences and communities that it is involved with – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally are of utmost consideration.
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) is an artistically ambitious organisation based in North Northumberland. The Festival leads through collaboration and research. With a resolute commitment to peer support, artistic production and community development, the Film Festival is recognised for its innovative programming and critical engagement.
The 16th edition of the Festival took place from Thursday 17 September to Sunday 11 October 2020. It delivered an online programme of screenings, live events, podcasts, commissioned essays and workshops committed to the ongoing support of the artists, filmmakers and industry professionals it works with. The 2020 Festival catalogue is available to view here.
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival currently employs 2 full-time and 1 part-time members of staff. It is supported by around 15 colleagues working freelance and 50 volunteers during the festival itself. Year-round fundraising, research and artist development work is accompanied by film screenings, events and workshops with a particular emphasis on younger people.
The 17th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival is planned to take place from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 September 2021.
BFMAF is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a registered charity and is supported primarily by the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery, Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland and Northumberland County Council.
- Contribute original research and programming ideas (in the areas of new cinema, artists’ moving image and live events) to the Festival;
- Effectively develop and maintain relationship with artists, filmmakers, distributors, archives and funders where necessary;
- View and assess films and artists’ works submitted via Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival’s open call;
- Work directly with the Festival Director on establishing and confirming the programme;
- Assist on selecting and appointing Juries for the competition programme;
- Coordinate and chair regular programme meetings with Associate Programmers;
- Oversee the workflow and manage the deadlines for the programming team, ensuring effective administration;
- Working with the Festival Manager & Producer, manage the programming budget and ensure expenditure is in line with budgets set.
- Work directly with the Programme Coordinator to ensure programme information is communicated and recorded in the Festival content management system (Filmchief);
- Working with the Programme Coordinator, ensure all communications with filmmakers, distributors etc. on film transport and programme materials are managed appropriately and to production timelines.
Catalogue & Website
- Work directly with the Publication & Website Editor on catalogue content;
- Manage the programming teams contribution of original texts for the catalogue and website in line with a pre-established deadlines;
- Prepare original texts for the catalogue and website;
- Contribute ideas and research for commissioned essays on programme.
- Working with Festival Director and programming team, contribute ideas and research for live events, podcasts and other activities as part of the expanded festival programme;
- Work directly with the Festival Manager & Producer on the production of all expanded programme activity;
- Lead and participate in programme introductions, Q&As and other live speaking events during the Festival itself.
- Support BFMAF communications (in person, via social media, etc);
- Participate in and support Festival de-briefs;
- Support Festival Manager & Producer on evaluation and reporting.
- Degree in arts related subject or equivalent work experience;
- Strong international networks within and beyond the film festival and visual arts ecologies in which BFMAF operates;
- 5+ years of experience in curating new cinema and artists’ moving image in a film festival context or equivalent;
- Excellent English language written and verbal communication skills with particular experience in writing for and editing publications;
- Public speaking and event hosting experience;
- Experience in negotiating screening rights with sales agents, distributors and archives;
- Proven ability to work well under pressure and prioritise intensely varying workloads;
- Reliability, punctuality and a self-motivated approach to completing work;
- Excellent organisational and inter-personal skills, communicating with tact, sensitivity and diplomacy at all times;
- Skilled in managing a budget, and in working partnerships to share resources and make budgets go further;
- Ability to work to tight deadlines;
- A deep understanding of and active commitment to equal opportunities;
- The ability to work closely, collaboratively and effectively with colleagues at a management level;
- The ability to represent BFMAF to stakeholders locally, nationally and internationally.
- Parallel work commitments as a curator, filmmaker, critic or sales agent which might support research opportunities at international festivals;
- A strong interest in feature film programming with experience in securing UK premiere titles within a competitive film festival exhibition context;
- Experience in line management with the ability to inspire and motivate a team;
- Knowledge and experience of Filmchief or equivalent database software;
- Experience working in a small-scale arts organisation.
Freelance, part-time, remote working possible
Timescale: April – October 2021
The contract involves the following commitments:
- Contract dates: April 2021 – October 2021
- Regular engagement with the Festival Director and Programming Team in line with the Festival’s deadlines and meeting schedule (The Festival will endeavour to schedule meetings during daytime and on weekdays but occasionally flexible working is required)
- Attendance at a full programming week in Berwick-upon-Tweed / online in early June (final dates TBC)
- Attendance and participation at the 17th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival.
Outside of specific contact meetings, you are able to decide how, when and where you do your work. It is intended that the contract can be managed alongside other employment, with periods of greater intensity between June and August due to programming, catalogue and production deadlines. The contract is estimated as a 4-month commitment spread over a period of 6 months.
The majority of work is online and requires easy access to a computer and a fast internet connection.
Additional expenses (travel, accommodation, etc.) will be paid on approved costs and in consultation with festival staff.
How to Apply
To apply please complete the online application form
You will be asked to provide the following documents. Please submit them as PDFs titled in the format Full Name_Document:
- A covering letter stating why you wish to apply for this key programming role and how your skills, experience and curatorial interests will develop upon the Festival’s potentials. Responses should be no more than 2 sides of A4.
- A CV detailing your relevant skills and experience.
- A single writing sample (review, catalogue entry, blog, short essay).
We also ask you to provide details of two referees, who will be contacted should a job offer be made, and to complete the following Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.
If you have any questions about the application process please email: firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 8 March and in some cases an informal conversation can be arranged.
The deadline for applications is 11 March 2021.
Applicants shortlisted for interview will be contacted by 5pm on Friday 19 March 2021. Interviews will take place via Google Meet in the week of Monday 22 March 2021.
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival welcomes applications from people of colour, individuals from ethnic minority or low-income backgrounds, disabled people, those who identify as LGBTQ+, and all those who are currently underrepresented in our organisation.
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival is committed to continually developing and evaluating its policies to promote Equal Opportunities and the prohibition of unfair or unlawful discrimination in the workplace.
The Festival is a publicly funded organisation and is required to statistically analyse the demographics of our staff, contractors / freelancers, artists, trustees, and volunteers. This is for monitoring purposes only and will be anonymised. Any provided information does not form part of a job application, and is not linked to individual personnel records.
All applicants must complete the equal opportunities monitoring form detailed in the ‘How to Apply’ section above.
The information you give in your application will be used to create a shortlist for interviews. Any data about you will be held securely with access restricted to those involved in dealing with your application in the recruitment process.
Your application will be kept on file for a maximum of six months and then destroyed in a confidential manner. Any applications received after the closing date will be destroyed immediately.