Training Courses

Practical Programming

23/09/2015 - 04/03/2016

The Studio, Birmingham

Take me to:

Course Overview
  • Would you like to develop a fresh programme in your cinema but want to be sure of a healthy audience turnout?
  • Do you run a film festival and want to diversify the type of films you show AND the people coming to them?
  • Do you want to run a film event but don’t have any experience with marketing and delivering a successful show?

Our Practical Programming course will help you develop an innovative, structured, well-attended film programme.

You will come together with programmers from across the UK to workshop a programming idea for your venue, work with industry experts to shape it, then return to your venue to develop it.

Along the way, you’ll receive guidance from a dedicated advisor so that you provide the best programme possible.

This course is delivered in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network and Creative Skillset.


23/09/2015 - 04/03/2016


£350 (+VAT) = £420


The Studio, Birmingham

HOME, Manchester

Who is the course for and what are the entry requirements?

  • Film exhibition professionals (film festivals, cinemas, community screens etc) who would like to create a new programming initiative, or develop an existing one
  • Availability of programming space for your initiative
  • 1 year + programming / exhibition experience

What will I learn?

    • Shaping a programme: how do you create a clear idea that audiences will want to attend and that works with your venue’s audience?
    • Developing an audience: how do you take risks and retain audiences?
    • Sourcing films from distributors and understanding formats and technical requirements
    • Understanding your audience: how to analyse your audience and understand how they will respond to your programme
    • Working with your team: how to project manage your programme so your marketing, operations and management teams are on board

Who is leading the course?

The course will be lead by Catharine Des Forges and David Sin of the Independent Cinema Office.

How is the course structured?

The course will run in three modules:

    • Module 1: Participants will study practical skills for delivering a successful programme and develop their programming concept. (23- 25 Sept 2015 in Birmingham)
    • Module 2: off-site project development from October – February with advisor.
    • Module 3: Participants feedback on their experience with their programming, sharing learning experiences. (3 – 4 March 2016 in Manchester)

Please see course overview for more detail.

How do I apply?

The deadline for applications has now passed. Please contact if you are interested in securing a final place.

Supported by

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Course Overview

Here is our initial overview of the course content – all further details to be confirmed.

Day 1 | Wednesday 23rd September 2015 | The Studio, Birmingham

  • The film industry and the practicalities of film programming
  • Meet the distributors featuring Andrew Turner (Twentieth Century Fox) and Michael Wailes (Vertigo).
  • The role of film festivals (and intro to festival programming) featuring Grainne Humphreys (Director, Dublin Intl  Film Festival), Diane Henderson (Deputy Artistic Director, Edinburgh Intl Film Festival) and Chris Fell (Director , Leeds Film Festival).

Day 2 | Thursday 24th September 2015 | The Studio, Birmingham

  • Practical Programming workshop
  • Developing your audience – why diverse programming is important featuring Caroline Hennigan and Sophia Ramcharan (Broadway Cinema Nottingham).
  • Programming event cinema, outside screenings / pop up venues featuring Muffin Hix (Programmer, Lost Picture Show) and Dave Newman (Programmer, Cromarty Film Festival).

Day 3 | Friday 25th September 2015  | The Studio, Birmingham

  • Long-term planning strategy and getting to know your audience led by Sarah Boiling (The Audience Agency).
  • Introduction to designing pilot projects
  • Practical workshop: project design and group feedback

Module 2 | October to February 2015 | in venues

  • Trainees will undertake projects within their venues (with advisor support)                                

Module 3 | Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th March 2016 | HOME, Manchester

  • Trainees will share experiences and report back to the group with individual case studies.

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