CHASE placement
Essay Film Festival


Placement:

Full-time placement of 6 months (FTE) which could be worked over 9 months. Work pattern to be agreed with successful candidate and variable to meet project needs. Starting December 2019, if not earlier.

Project description and training opportunities:

Curatorial internship at the Essay Film Festival, Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image: http://www.essayfilmfestival.com

Description:

The Essay Film Festival is a well-established film festival, taking place in London in late-March/early-April every year since 2015, and currently looking forward to its sixth iteration in spring 2020. The EFF screenings and events are held at Birkbeck Cinema, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and other venues (e.g. Goethe-Institut, Institut Français). The EFF is a unique project in that it is a research-based film festival, created in the context of a multidisciplinary and public-facing research institute (Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image) by academic researchers for whom film curating and film programming is an integral part of their research and teaching, and who share a vision of how their academic work interacts with artistic creation, political debate, and social activism.

The festival is highly focused and distinct in its aims. It does not seek to compete with or emulate any existing film festival, and this is why it has been so successful, gaining international recognition alongside strong and committed audiences at home. We focus on the essayistic in film and media practices past and present, where the “essay film” is understood as the creative and critical intersection between the documentary and the experimental: on the one hand, the ambition to engage critically with the real, the everyday, the lived experiences of communities and societies across the globe; and, on the other, a desire to challenge and explore the formal language and technical possibilities of audiovisual media, both contemporary and historical. We have also boldly expanded the understanding of essayistic film and media practice beyond the western tradition where the “essay film” once appeared to reside, and we have thus shown work and engaged with filmmakers and artists from Iran, the Lebanon, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Argentina – to give a few examples – as well as from various European countries and North America.

Our working method is also unique. We deliberately limit the number of screenings and events to a level that allows us to focus on quality rather than quantity. We curate each session with great care and attention, always looking for the best way to present the films and the filmmakers as part of a critical conversation – rather than the conveyor-belt of “screening plus Q&A” that typifies so many other film festivals. Thus, while our festival programme may only feature 12 to 15 sessions, stretched over a week to 10 days, most of these sessions are very substantial, lasting several hours, sometimes a whole day or more, and therefore allowing for multiple screenings, long-form screenings, and crucially the right amount of time for interventions by artists, academics and activists, as part of a well-rounded and well-informed public conversation. Our approach to film curating is greatly appreciated by the artists themselves, who happily respond to the challenge of more open and sometimes “performative” modes of presenting and discussing their work.

This is the ambitious and dynamic environment in which we work, and the context in which we would like to offer a curatorial placement to a CHASE doctoral student willing to learn and to share our vision.

Role and responsibilities:

The successful candidate will work with the EFF programming team, currently including: EFF Director Dr Michael Temple and the BIMI Manager Matthew Barrington (also a Birkbeck doctoral student), and also: Professor Catherine Grant (Birkbeck, interim Director of BIMI 2019-April 2020), Professor Laura Mulvey (Birkbeck), Dr Janet McCabe (Birkbeck), Ricardo Matos Cabo (independent curator and Birkbeck doctoral student), Kieron Corless (deputy editor Sight & Sound), and Raquel Morais (former MA Film Programming and Curating student, Birkbeck).

While managed and mentored by the EFF Director and BIMI Manager, the intern will be totally integrated into the programming team and will work as a full and equal member of this group,  learning and receiving training on the job in all aspects of creating and curating this unique festival.

The internship duration will be the equivalent of 6 months full-time, but this could be adapted to suit the candidate, for example 3 or 4 days per week, over a longer period. For this coming year, 2019-2020, it is likely that the placement will start in December 2019, and run until May 2020, full-time, or to July 2020, 4 days a week, or to September 2020, 3 days a week.

Key tasks and training opportunities:

The initial line describes activities; the bullet-point the training / development opportunities afforded

Participation in and minuting of EFF group meetings

·         Training - Working with others; communication;

Prospection and selection of films, artists, speakers and discussants

·         Training - Knowledge base; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity

Conceptualisation of screenings and content of discussion/debate events

·         Training - Knowledge base; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity

Contact, negotiation and liaison with potential and existing EFF partners, such as embassies and consulates, cultural institutes, arts foundations and cultural organisations, university research centres, film and arts festivals

·         Training - Communication; ability to work flexibly with others

Contact and negotiation with rights-owners, film distributors, film archives

·         Training - Knowledge base and legal/other issues; working with others; time-management

Sourcing and administration of film prints, including technical specifications and shipping

·         Training - Knowledge base; working with others; time-management

Technical checking and testing of all materials to be shown at the festival

·         Training - Knowledge base; working with others; time-management

 Organisation of travel and accommodation arrangements for artists and other contributors

·         Training - Knowledge base; working with others; communication

 Preparation of research materials on selected films and filmmakers for EFF website and other platforms

·         Training - Knowledge base; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity; communication and dissemination

 Preparation of publicity and advertising materials, for social media and traditional media campaigns

·         Training - Knowledge base; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity; communication and dissemination; working with others; time-management

 Working with press and media contacts interested in EFF

·         Training - Knowledge base; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity; working with others; communication and dissemination

 Communicating with a wide range of students, academic departments in universities, colleges, art schools and film schools

·         Training - Knowledge base; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity; working with others; communication and dissemination

 Design and printing of festival booklet, posters, and screening notes

·         Training - Knowledge base; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity; communication and dissemination; time-management

 Organisation of logistical day to day matters during the festival itself, including catering and entertainment

·         Training - Knowledge base; organizational abilities; communication; working with others; time-management

 Welcoming and helping invited artists and guest speakers, and coordinating student volunteers

·         Training - Organizational abilities; communication; working with others; time-management

Recording and documenting festival events, including audio, filming, and blogging

·         Training - Technical knowledge; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity; communication and dissemination

Gathering feedback during and after the festival

·         Training - Organizational abilities; communication; working with others; time-management

Post-festival administration tasks, including returning of prints, settling bills and invoices, basic accounting and accountability in relation to EFF supporters and partners

·         Training - Knowledge base; organizational abilities; communication; working with others; time-management

Post-festival communication with all artists, contributors and partners

·         Training - Organizational abilities; communication; working with others; time-management

Analysis of audience numbers and public feedback

·         Training - Knowledge base; communication;

Archiving of written, audio, and film materials related to current festival, and reviewing of archiving practices related to past festival

·         Training - Technical knowledge; cognitive and organizational abilities;; communication and dissemination

Initial preparatory work for the next iteration of EFF

·         Training - Knowledge base; cognitive and organizational abilities; creativity

All elements of the post require, test, and enhance personal effectiveness including time-management, working with others, and appropriate and effective communication. Students will gain detailed knowledge of the entire process of film festival programming, publicity and hosting. They will be trained by the EFF Director and the BIMI Manager.

Applications

To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter to Dr Michael Temple, EFF Director, Birkbeck: m.temple@bbk.ac.uk