COURSE: Screen/Play 2016


Image: Girlhood (Dir. Céline Sciamma, 2014)

In Autumn 2016 we delivered a highly-popular 12-week hands-on training course in film programming and film event management, funded by Creative Skillset and supported by Goldsmiths, University of London.

We designed a course that combined the practice and the theory of film programming. A diverse cohort of 25 participants met industry professionals, considered the meaning and purpose of programming, ran their own film screening events, and took on a personal research project.

Participants completed the course with the skills to plan, produce and promote their own events, and make their own opportunities to work in the film exhibition industry.

Industry speakers

Personal research project

A personal research project asked participants to investigate a particular area of cinema that interested them, and curate a programme of screenings and events. Projects included Japanese ‘pink’ films, contemporary Francophone African cinema, First Films (celebrated directors’ debut features) and Clowns on Film.

Film screening project

The group project challenged participants to work in teams on real-life film screening projects. They applied everything they’d learned in class (including identifying and engaging audiences, licensing, financial planning, funding, developing relationships, using technical equipment and managing events) to the real – and sometimes difficult – world of event management. Projects included a screening of Wild Style in Stoke Newington, an as-yet-unrealised Dawn of the Dead in a shopping mall and the launch of film club Remakesploitation at the Cinema Museum.


1. Programming

  • Creative and cultural film programming
  • Discovering and engaging your audience/community
  • Meeting a brief
  • Event and film licensing
  • Designing a film festival or film season

2. Promotion

  • Creating a marketing action plan & timeline
  • Write copy and using images & video to sell your event
  • Making word-of-mouth work for you

3. Production and management

  • Event planning and management
  • Collaborating with venues and other organisations
  • Technical issues
  • Business and financial planning
  • Fundraising & sponsorship
  • Monitoring and evaluation


We received over 80 applications for 25 places on the course. We shortlisted people who showed a passion for cinema, and real interest in developing their career in the film exhibition industry. We recruited a large number of participants from underrepresented groups in the film exhibition industry – notably people from Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic and working class backgrounds, and people with disabilities – and this very much informed the design and delivery of the course.

The course was highly praised by participants, who said:

  • “This is without doubt the best course I have ever studied. It’s been inspirational and to some extent revelatory for me.”
  • “Each session covered the essentials needed from start to finish. The group task as well as personal project helped us to action the theory we learnt.”
  • “One of the real strengths of this course was that the tutors created a relaxed and supportive environment from the start.”
  • “It’s been one of the best things I’ve done all year! I’ve made so many friends, and it’s been great hearing about different stories and career paths.”
  • “I’ve made some really great contacts – both among the other students and with some of the speakers.”
  • “It really was a brilliant, insightful course. And it’s obvious that a lot of hard work and dedication went into it, for which I am really grateful.”

The course was run by New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festivals, a collective of film programmers who run an annual festival of over 30 indoor and outdoor film events attracting 1500 audience members. The core tutors were Phoenix Fry and Jacqui Shimidzu.

Phoenix is a film curator and events manager with over 15 years’ experience delivering training. His career includes BFI Sci-Fi Season (Project Manager), Design on Film at V&A Museum, Film Africa, Nollywood Now! Nigerian Film festival, Deptford Film Club, Sydenham Film Club and The Internet Cat Video Film Festival. He has delivered training for The Barbican, Flipside Film Festival, Film Africa, British Council and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Jacqui is a film events manager, community activist and a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs. She runs hugely popular outdoor bike-powered screenings for New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival. She also runs the Hill Station Café (which hosts year-round events ranging from pop-up restaurants and silent discos to Edinburgh Festival previews) and set up a community cinema in New Cross Learning.


When: 1pm-4pm on Saturday afternoons from 10 September to 26 November 2016 (12 sessions)
Additional times when participants ran their own film screening events

Where: Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

More info: Apply for Screen/Play 2017

This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, which is funded by the BFI with National Lottery, through the Skills Investment Fund.