Film programming

Film programming is at the heart of what the Independent Cinema Office offers. Our goal is to provide your cinema with a programme of films that is distinctive and offers the best of world cinema, while ensuring that audiences grow and your site thrives financially. We have over thirty years programming and film-booking experience, offering an extraordinarily wide knowledge of contemporary and historic cinema and a strong relationship with all UK film distributors, meaning you get both expert knowledge and benefit from being part of the UK's largest independent cinema network.

What do our clients say?

'ICO provides an invaluable service for independent cinemas. They are a one-stop shop into the film world with great contacts in distribution, archives, festivals and film agencies. Most of all though their staff provide excellent, up-to-date, critically informed opinions that help inform your own decision making.' Mark Cosgrove, Cinema Curator, Watershed, Bristol

'ICO programming has changed the nature of Borderlines, racking up the stakes for this rural film festival so that it can compete with metropolitan equivalents in terms of the freshness and variety of what it can offer its audiences.' Jo Comino, Marketing Manager, Borderlines Film Festival

How does film programming from the ICO work?

We offer three levels of programming advice services to film exhibitors in the UK:

  1. A comprehensive film programming and booking service for ICO client cinemas
  2. The ICO associate membership scheme which provides a lower level of programming support and access to industry intelligence
  3. Free programming advice to all film societies in the UK

In addition to watching previews of new releases, our programmers attend key international and specialist film festivals to ensure that the ICO is among the first to know what's hot (and what's not) for the year ahead.

The programming team can also curate special one-off programmes, even for cinemas and festivals that are not regular clients. Among the team’s particular areas of expertise are children’s cinema, archival film, animation, short films, artists’ film and video, lesbian and gay cinema, cult cinema, horror films and South East Asian cinema.

1. ICO client cinemas

The ICO works in partnership with cinemas and mixed arts venues to help them create unique, commercially viable film programmes that appeal to the most diverse possible range of local audiences. Our team draws on decades of experience to create bespoke programmes for cinemas encompassing the latest blockbusters, arthouse cinema, archive content and artists' moving image work.

In 2012, ICO cinemas had a total of over 870,000 admissions and total box office of £4.6 million. For more information visit the ICO client cinemas page.

2. ICO associate members

The ICO has launched a new service to provide cinemas in the UK with access to specialist industry intelligence, expert programming support and exclusive networking and staff development opportunities. For more information visit the ICO associate members page.

3. Programming advice services for film societies

The ICO provides a programming advice and enquiries service to all film societies in the UK. For further information on the services please visit the Film Societies section.

“Thank you. I don't know what I'd do without the screening days! They are a huge help in programming the festivals - make my programming much more efficient - and I love attending.”

Screening Days delegate

Independent Cinema Office

3rd Floor, Kenilworth House, 79-80 Margaret Street, London W1W 8TA
T: 020 7636 7120 F: 020 7636 7121 E:

Registered in England and Wales. Company 5369193.
ICO is a registered charity No. 1109053