OPEN CALL: SAFAR Film Festival 2020 Curator

13 November '19


Curatorial Opportunity


APPLICATION DEADLINE: 8:00pm GMT (UK time) | 15 December 2019

The Arab British Centre is seeking a film curator for the fifth edition of the SAFAR Film Festival, taking place across London venues from 17 – 21 September 2020.

The opportunity is a freelance position and is available for candidates based in the UK and overseas.


Founded and run by The Arab British Centre, the SAFAR Film Festival is a curated festival that is dedicated to showcasing the best of Arab cinema to British audiences. Working in partnership with cultural institutions such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and the Institut Français in London, SAFAR has grown in popularity over the years and is today the largest platform exclusively presenting films from across the Arab world in the UK.

The SAFAR Film Festival launched in 2012 as a weeklong series exploring popular Arab cinema. Curator Omar Kholeif invited audiences to experience films that had popular following with domestic audiences, yet were un-seen in the UK. The festival provided a platform to explore cinema’s effectiveness in conveying Arab social histories, and following its inaugural success the festival returned in 2014 growing in scope to include an exhibition of vintage Arab cinema posters, memorabilia and contemporary art inspired by film.

In 2016, the SAFAR programme, curated by Rasha Salti, presented a series of UK premieres that celebrated contemporary Arab films defiant of stereotypes, social taboos and self-censorship. The most recent SAFAR edition in 2018, curated by Joseph Fahim, examined literary adaptation in Arab film, presenting a rich and diverse programme of cinema from the 1960s to the present day. With the support of the Barjeel Art Foundation, three films selected in the programme received funding for English subtitling.

For more information about each edition of the festival including the full list of films and programmes, please visit



Working closely with the festival directors and producers, the responsibilities of the curator include but are not limited to:

• Identify the 2020 theme and develop a coherent curatorial statement in consultation with The Arab British Centre
• Identify the final selection of films in line with the curatorial vision
• Identify filmmakers and/or guests and experts from the industry who will participate in the post-screening Q&As and general festival programme
• Liaise with film distributors to secure films for the festival. To include liaison on necessary contracts, film formats, subtitling and checking films prior to each screening
• Attend all festival screenings, introduce each screening and chair accompanying events as required
• Write content for the marketing materials related to the project, including but not limited to, curatorial statement, film synopses, articles for the media and further content for print and online marketing
• Carry out press interviews as necessary closer to festival dates, working closely with appointed PR Company. Proficiency in Arabic language would be preferable but not essential.
• Support with UK and Arab media coverage ahead of the festival opening, working closely with appointed PR company
• Work in collaboration with the Arab British Centre to develop and support the delivery of the wrap-around programme of events and activities around the festival. The programme will include public and industry events. Previous examples of events include talks, lectures, forums and workshops. For more information, please visit
• Provide regular status updates to the Arab British Centre by email throughout the development of the project
• Be available to travel to London from 10 to 25 September 2020 to host the festival screenings and events. If applicable, The Arab British Centre will provide visa support letters for candidates travelling from the region.


To be considered for the role, you will need to submit an application with the following:

• A cover letter detailing: (1,200 words maximum)
– Why you are interested in the SAFAR Film Festival
– What you hope to achieve
– One idea that you would like to develop as a theme.
– You should demonstrate understanding of current international trends in cinema with particular reference to issues and debates in Arab cinema.
• Evidence documenting two to three recent projects in film curation
• CV (please include an email address and phone number)

Please email applications to
Applications need to be submitted in PDF format, files no larger than 5MB in size.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Application deadline: 15 December | 8:00pm GMT (UK Time)

All submissions will be reviewed by The Arab British team and Saeed Taji Farouky, filmmaker, co-founder of the SAFAR Film Festival and Trustee of the Board of The Arab British Centre.

Successful candidates will be contacted by email on week of 16 December and interviews will take place on week of 20 January 2020, either in person at The Arab British Centre or by phone/skype depending on the candidate’s location.


The fee for the curator role is £7,600. Room and board during the festival period will be provided if the successful candidate will be travelling from outside of London.


The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)
Founded in 1946, the Institute of Contemporary Arts leads the debate in contemporary art and culture. Continually looking forward while laying claim to an extraordinary legacy, the ICA was home to the Independent Group and played a pivotal role in the development of Pop Art. It charted the course of Punk, Performance Art and Independent Cinema, and introduced numerous international artists including Richard Prince, Asger Jorn, Douglas Huebler, Gerhard Richter, Francis Bacon, Francis Picabia, Nancy Spero, Dieter Roth, Marcel Broodthaers, Mike Kelley, Cosy Fanny Tutti and Barbara Kruger. The ICA has always been the place for critical discourse, featuring programmes with the likes of Kathy Acker, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Stuart Hall and Homi K. Bhabha. From its home on The Mall, at the heart of the establishment, the ICA supports interdisciplinary practice, encouraging artists to experiment and explore new ideas.
More partners to be announced soon.

The Arab British Centre is a cultural organisation which works to further understanding of the Arab world in the United Kingdom. We organise and promote cultural and artistic events, and host a community of like-minded resident organisations at our central London premises. SAFAR, the only festival in the UK solely focused on programming Arab Cinema, is The Arab British Centre’s flagship event growing the popularity of Arab film culture in the UK.

The Arab British Centre is committed to equal opportunities and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership status, or pregnancy and maternity.