Director of Film Programming

Sheffield, South Yorkshire
£37,000 to £44,000 per annum dependent on experience
03 Aug 2016
02 Sep 2016
Film Industry
Job Type

Building on the stand out film programming legacy of Hussain Currimbhoy and Claire Aguilar, Sheffield Doc/Fest is inviting applications for the role of Director of Film Programming. 

The Director of Film Programming is responsible for curating the Festival’s film programme; for devising and delivering film events as part of the Doc/Fest year-round strategy; for fundraising activity to support the Films department; for supporting filmmakers during the Festival and year-round including; touring screenings, masterclasses and mentoring and developing audiences.

Together with the CEO and Senior Management team, this role will involve setting the editorial strategy for Sheffield Doc/Fest both for the festival and year-round.

The successful candidate will have a specialist knowledge of the UK and international documentary industry, high level UK and international industry contacts, and extensive experience of developing partnerships, including working directly with filmmakers, distributors, sales agents, commissioners, funders, foundations and broadcasters. S/he will be known as a catalyst within the industry and come with a proven track record of developing audiences for documentary.

The Director of Film Programming will be regarded as an international leader in the documentary industry, and represent Sheffield Doc/Fest at the highest level, including at international festivals and events, and through mentoring as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest festival and year-round training initiatives.

S/he must be a team player, working closely with the CEO, Senior Management, and Heads of Department to ensure coherence and collaboration in programming and audience development across the Film Programme, Alternate Realities Programme, Talks & Sessions programme, and the Marketplace, as well as working closely with Marketing and Press to build public and industry awareness and attendance, and to drive ticket and delegate sales.

The role involves setting strategy, fundraising to generate income for the film programme department, managing the film programme department, and reporting against targets.

Key duties and responsibilities: 

Setting artistic strategy and building partnerships

  • Contribute to the artistic vision of the Festival and to the business plans underpinning that vision;
  • Attend and contribute to the team planning days;
  • Maintain relationships with key partners and stakeholders of the Festival, and develop new strategic partnerships;
  • Initiate and contribute to fundraising efforts: identifying new opportunities, leading on key film programme proposals, and writing relevant bids in order to unlock new funding for the annual film programme, and to generate year-round touring projects;
  • Attend meetings with funders, stakeholders and sponsors where relevant;
  • Successfully liaise with cultural organisations; international film centres and embassies support visiting filmmakers.

Film Programming for the Festival

  • Lead on selection and appointment of highest calibre juries for Film Awards together with CEO and senior management, ensuring competitive edge for growing profile awards;
  • Work with the Business & Marketing Director for sponsored Awards, including sponsorship prizes;
  • Track the progress of identified projects year round, while still in development and production;
  • Meet with broadcasters, post-production houses, the Board and Advisory Committee and other partner organisations to identify films in development and production that may be of interest for the Festival;
  • Liaise with other film festivals, distributors, broadcasters, film schools, filmmakers, and others to solicit films for the Festival’s programme;
  • Establish themes, curated strands and retrospectives, together with the CEO and senior management; 
  • Responsible for the selection of the Festival’s film programme including films through the submission process and also films that are solicited directly through meetings and other festivals by the Director of Film Programming, as well as the CEO, Deputy Director, and Marketplace Manager;
  • Work with the film department to ensure the Festival’s films submissions online captures information required from each film submission and maintain the online database for submitted films;
  • Appoint a diverse range of previewers and any assistant viewers and selection committees, and work with the film department to monitor all submissions previewer responses;
  • Ensure that all submitted and unsolicited films are viewed by previewers, and that all are responded to, even if unsuccessful;
  • Negotiate with filmmakers, distributors and sales agents for screening rights for films, negotiating in writing hire fees where applicable and any box office splits where required, within budget;
  • Issue invitations, protocol, and agreements;
  • Consult regularly with the CEO and Deputy Director on current status of the programme in order to cross coordinate the films programme with all other sections of the Festival – Alternate Realities, Talks & Sessions, Marketplace, and other areas;
  • Contribute to the curating of filmmaker masterclasses and panels that are relevant to guest filmmakers at the Festival in consultation with the Talks & Sessions Programme Manager;
  • Consult with the Alternate Realities Curator to ensure cross fertilisation between programmes, across films and interactive;
  • Work with other departments to ensure maximum thematic cross-over between all programmes, live events and parties for a joined-up audience experience;
  • Consult with the Marketplace Manager to ensure that projects which have gone through MeetMarket and other marketplace and training initiatives are tracked and considered for the film programme;
  • Work with the films team to monitor and track the subsequent sales and distribution of films programmed at the Festival;
  • Invite additional titles for MarketPlayer, and improve and grow the service offered to filmmakers through MarketPlayer - working in collaboration with the Marketplace Manager;
  • Ensure KPIs for the film programme are set and met.

Management of the film department: staff, budget and operations

  • Contribute to setting the film budget, including filmmaker hospitality, oversee the management of the budget, and ensure spend is within budget;
  • Work with the Operations & HR Manager to recruit the Festival team: Film Programme Coordinator, MarketPlayer Coordinator, Film & Alternate Realities Programme Coordinator and Film Programme Assistant, and line manage that team;
  • Appoint copy writers to draft promotional and interpretive materials for each title;
  • Ensure the copy writers are briefed, and given selected films promptly on selection for writing up;
  • Set the screening schedule for the Festival;
  • Oversee invitations to filmmakers and other film guests;
  • Liaise with Hospitality department to hand over requirements of hospitality, travel and hotel bookings for the Festival;
  • Programme all Q&A sessions at the Festival and ensuring the film department appoint minders for special guests, and any translators required;
  • Moderate some Q&As, while ensuring that other moderators are fully briefed to chair other Q&As;
  • Liaise with the Head of Production to identify venue requirements with regards to the film programme including live screenings;
  • Oversee the films department arranges punctual transport of prints, and any insurances, for the Festival;
  • Ensure that the film department liaise with Sheffield City Council Licensing Office regarding the cinematographic licensing of the programme;
  • Oversee the workflow and manage the deadlines for the department, ensuring effective administration;
  • Responsible for archiving the programme after the Festival;
  • Oversee reporting for the Film Programme, including internal debriefings and external facing reports.

Audience development and communications

  • Contribute to marketing and audience development strategies designed to increase the profile of the film programme and to increase public, delegate and press attendance, noise and reach;
  • Oversee the flow of information from the film department to the marketing and press department, including information on the films and filmmakers, all copy, images, and trailers;
  • Contribute to the look and feel of the films pages, in the industry catalogue, MarketPlayer catalogue, and public programme guide;
  • Consult regularly with the Head of Press to contribute to stories about particular films and filmmakers as well as the film programme overall (including third party);
  • Present the Film programme at the Programme Launch events;
  • Ensure that the Film section of website is up to date and populated with relevant information year round.

Year-round programming, profiling and mentoring

  • Devise and deliver a strategy for year-round programming, in order to tour films from the Festival, develop audiences outside the Festival dates, raise the profile of Doc/Fest beyond Sheffield, and to bring in revenue;
  • Work closely with the CEO and Deputy Director to identify and implement new areas for Sheffield Doc/Fest film programming nationally and internationally;
  • Maintain partnerships with organisations such as Film Audience Network and exhibitors across the UK, and develop new partnerships for touring;
  • Attend national and international festivals, marketplaces and events on the company’s behalf to research and secure films, meet filmmakers, promote the Festival, and join other festival juries as required. Responsible for keeping the travel within budget in discussion with the CEO and Deputy Director;
  • Speak at Sheffield Doc/Fest workshops and events through the year where relevant;
  • Work with the Marketplace Manager on year round training programmes, including mentoring filmmakers where required.
  • Any other reasonable tasks as requested.

Person specification


  • Skilled at developing and curating dynamic documentary film programmes;
  • Experience of setting artistic and editorial strategy – with clear vision and SMART objectives;
  • Experience of attracting, growing and developing public audiences for cultural cinema and documentary filmmaking;
  • Experience of representing organisations at a senior level, both public and industry facing: at international events, through presentations and moderating Q&As, and in the press;
  • Experience of working with distributors, sales agents, commissioners, funders, foundations and broadcasters;
  • Experience in managing budgets;
  • Track record in fundraising and income generation from public and private bodies;
  • Experience of working on marketing and PR campaigns to raise awareness and build audiences for film programmes;
  • Experienced in managing a department – managing staff and operations;
  • Experience in reporting against targets to funders and other stakeholders;
  • Experience of training and mentoring filmmakers is desirable.

Skills and qualities;

  • Excellent leadership skills with the ability to inspire and motivate a team and win the confidence and respect of colleagues and external contacts;
  • A catalyst within the industry;
  • The ability to work closely, collaboratively and effectively with colleagues at a senior level;
  • Target driven – with success in reaching audience, box office and other financial targets;
  • Skilled in managing a budget, and in working partnerships to share resources and make budgets go further;
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines;
  • Strong leadership and verbal communication skills;
  • Excellent negotiation skills;
  • The ability to represent Sheffield Doc/Fest to a broad range of stakeholders locally and nationally.


  • A specialist knowledge of the UK and international documentary industry, with high level industry contacts;
  • Possess deep knowledge of current developments in documentary film and factual television and have a strong interest in their history;
  • A thirst for supporting, mentoring and championing filmmakers, working directly with filmmakers and producers.

How to apply

We are inviting prospective applicants to apply for this role by completing the downloadable application found here.

Please address applications to: Maria Stoneman, Operations & HR Manager. Please note that CVs will not be accepted.

Email address: 
Subject heading: “Director of Film Programming Application”.

The deadline for applications is 09:00 UK time on Friday 2 September 2016.

Interviews will take place on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 September 2016.

Please note that those selected for interview will be notified by Wednesday 7 September 2016.

If you would like to request an informal chat about the position, please contact Maria Stoneman, Operations & HR Manager.

Email: Telephone: +44 (0)114 276 5141

About Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Film Programme

The Sheffield Doc/Fest film programme offers filmmakers an essential platform to launch their films at one of world’s leading documentary festivals, and allows audiences to experience these first through World, international, European and UK premieres. The Festival screens approximately 160 documentary films – of all lengths and across all platforms – with the 2016 programme featuring documentaries from the UK, Europe, North America, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Sheffield Doc/Fest looks to push the boundaries of documentary through a strongly curated programme that anticipates and responds to trends and topics, celebrates cutting edge and diverse creativity and sparks highest-level debate.

The Festival is a place to inspire, with the biggest names both on screen and behind the camera, with audiences comprising national and international highest level industry delegates and members of the public.

About Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sheffield Doc/Fest is a world leading and the UK’s premier documentary festival, celebrating the art and business of documentary.

We’re a hub for all documentary and factual content across all platforms, from feature length to shorts, and including interactive and virtual reality projects.

The Festival comprises:

  • Film programme for the very best international screenings;
  • Alternate Realities for digital and interactive innovation;
  • Talks & Sessions to inspire, inform and debate;
  • Marketplace for international business.

Every year, we’re proud to connect thousands of creatives in a nurturing environment, resulting in the discovery of new talent, new collaborations and new commissions for cinema, television and online.

We aim to create a festival experience that is creatively inspiring and the place for pioneering and innovative ideas, projects and thinking.

Sheffield Doc/Fest welcomes over 32,700 documentary makers and lovers each year, including 3,500 industry delegates from over 60 countries.

The 24th Festival will take place 9 – 14 June 2017.