Young Film Programmers' Groups

Film Hub South East want to support more young people going to the cinema in the region and engaging with cinemas as creative practitioners. With that in mind, we want to encourage starting more young film programmers' groups and help build a network around existing groups.

The BFI’s current five-year strategy focuses on the future of film in the UK and places an emphasis on engaging 16-30 year olds with independent cinema. It aims to build the audience of the future as well as future participants in the film industry.

As screens proliferate and moving image becomes the predominant way that young people interact with the world and each other, there is a clear need to encourage cultural curiosity and risk-taking among this group. Audiences at this age are making an increasing number of independent choices and building the tastes that will inform their behaviour for the rest of their lives. It’s crucial that we reach out to them on their terms and where they gather, and offer an opportunity for them to see themselves, their heritage and their future.” (BFI2022).

Film Hub South East seeks to implement this strategy by developing more Young Film Programmers’ Groups across the region. These groups work with young people and facilitate them to run events within venues, empowering them to conceptualise the event, select the programme and market and deliver the events.

In this way, Young Film Programmers’ Groups give young people a stake in the venue and help to increase younger audiences who may otherwise be generally disengaged from non-mainstream cinema.

Northern and southern regions of Film Hub South East

Saffron Screen and Depot are working with the ICO and Film Hub South East to cover the northern and southern regions of the south east area:

  • Saffron Screen will cover the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk;
  • Depot will cover the counties of Berkshire, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent.

You can contact Saffron Screen at and Depot at

Why should you develop a Young Film Programmers’ Group?

If you already work with young people, you know how digitally engaged they are. We would like to support you to collaborate with a local cinema to enable the young people you work with to share their voice with their community by screening films to their peers and other cinema goers. This will help them be heard and seen as a group and also give the young people useful skills and experience which can help them in the future; including skills and experience in marketing, budgeting, communication, film programming and group working.

What is a Young Film Programmers’ Group?

A Young Film Programmers’ Group is a facilitated group of 16-30 year olds who meet weekly or fortnightly to increase their knowledge about independent cinema and to programme, plan, market and present regular screenings, sharing their voice with a wider audience in the independent cinema setting.

The groups will inevitably ebb and flow in terms of numbers and the particular young people you engage. We will help you maintain a group and to recruit new young people when one cohort moves on.

What we offer

  • A toolkit of resources to support you and your Young Film Programmers’ Group
  • A network of venues and groups offering Young Film Programmers’ Group activity
  • Advice and support to help you access funding to support your Young Film Programmers’ Group
  • Ongoing support and advice and access to our growing information bank
  • Advice about opportunities for your participants
  • Networking opportunities for your Young Film Programmers’ Group

We cannot offer financial support other than, in some particular instances where venues are working with particularly diverse groups, some support to help with your expenses.

We will ask you to share information, feedback and learnings from your group so that we can build a detailed portfolio of information to share amongst the network and to help support this initiative in years to come.


The resources we can offer include:

  • Recruitment

– Advice on recruiting young people to your Young Film Programmers Group, draft fliers, ideas on social media approaches

  • Sessions

– Sample sessions to engage the Young Film Programmers, looking at different types and genres of cinema and engaging them in a wider range of films

– Sample sessions to cover the nuts and bolts of programming, marketing, budgeting and running an event

  • Practicalities

– This includes getting a DBS check for your facilitators, volunteer documentation for the young people, licensing, budgeting, GDPR and other practical issues.

– Funding: we are developing a knowledge bank of possible funding avenues and will share these with you for your own area; we can also help you with funding applications.

  • Network

– We will be setting up methods of communication across the network to facilitate the sharing of ideas and resources, information about events and funding opportunities

What should you do now?

If you are currently running a Young Film Programmers’ Group in the region, please get in touch and share your experience with us. We are not seeking to dictate to you or take over any groups, but to create a network and share resources across the region.

If you are interested in finding out more about running a Young Film Programmers’ Group, please get in touch so we can discuss your plans and needs and share relevant resources with you and work out the best way to support you.

Please contact us by email at or to discuss this further. Once you have had a chance to consider this, we will arrange a telephone call or an in-person meeting to discuss it in more detail.

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