OPEN CALL: SAFAR Futures Young Programmers 2024

22 February '24

The SAFAR Film Festival is the largest festival in the UK dedicated to cinema from the Arab world. First launched in 2012, the festival screens in London and in 8 other cities across the UK, with a programme of around 30 films.  

SAFAR Futures is our strand of activity that focuses on developing the next generation of Arab British industry talent. We currently offer initiatives to support early-career filmmakers and curators, with an alumni of over 30 individuals having benefited from these opportunities since 2018. 


SAFAR Futures Young Programmers

The SAFAR Futures: Young Programmers scheme invites 3 emerging film curators to collaboratively devise and deliver an event at the SAFAR Film Festival in London, taking ownership of it from start to finish whilst also benefiting from mentoring sessions with industry experts and the SAFAR team. 

SAFAR Futures Young Programmers is delivered in partnership with Curate-It, an eight-step digital programme that teaches film theory, film curation and the practical and logistical elements needed to create film events.  

Past editions of the programme have seen curators produce a short film competition for Arab British filmmakers (2022) and screenings and events exploring the restoration of film archives and transnational solidarity through filmmaking (2023). 


Open Call 

We are looking for 3 emerging film programmers to participate in this year’s edition of SAFAR Futures. 

Over an intensive 14 weeks of online workshops and mentoring meetings you will work together to collaboratively plan and deliver a film event / programme during SAFAR Film Festival 2024. You will work closely with the SAFAR team to produce this event and gain insight into the wider delivery of the festival. 

The programme will be structured around the Curate-It course which consists of eight steps: Watch-it, Analyse-it, Curate-it, Finance-it, Market-it, Execute-it, Evaluate-it and Screen-it. Each step consists of written information, activities, tailored reading lists and videos featuring film experts sharing their knowledge. The programme is aimed at beginners or those with intermediate knowledge. At the end of the course, you will be able to: 

  • Critically analyse films you want to curate 
  • Understand the theories and practices of film curation 
  • Negotiate rights to films 
  • Develop marketing strategies 
  • Create budgets and funding applications 
  • Implement screenings and events 
  • Monitor and evaluate events 
  • Screen events online or in real life 

The workshops will be led by Justine Atkinson, founder of Curate-It and Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow, alongside the SAFAR Film Festival team. The workshops will be specifically focused around Arab cinema and will also include mentoring sessions / workshops with film industry professionals, tailored to the interests and needs of the participants. 

Each participant will receive a £500 bursary to cover any expenses incurred during their participation. 


Person Specification   

  • Aged 18-30 
  • Identifies as Arab* 
  • Based in the UK 
  • Have a demonstrable interest in film from the Arab world 
  • Enthusiastic, open minded and enjoy working in a team 
  • Committed and reliable – spaces are very limited so being fully committed is a must! 
  • No prior qualifications required 


*The Arab world is defined as the 22 countries who are members of The Arab League: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. 

SAFAR Futures welcomes applications from all people from or with heritage from these countries and cultures. While for some this may refer to nationality, for others the reference might be to identity and/or regionality. Whether you are born in or recently migrated to the UK, we recognise that the way participants self-identify is complex and personal and we welcome applications from all who want to be involved. 


Time Commitment and Dates 

  • The programme starts with an in-person induction at the Arab British Centre in London on 22 March (TBC). Day return travel to this induction will be covered by SAFAR Film Festival.  
  • From w/c 25 March, there will be a 2 hour online meeting weekly until SAFAR Film Festival runs from 19 – 30 June. Workshop timings will be agreed collectively once the group is selected and will run weekly from then.  
  • Outside of the meetings, participants will have collective and independent group work to develop their event, from watching and selecting the films, to working on marketing and delivery. Time commitment for this will vary depending on the week but at the beginning of the programme when selecting your films, anticipate a higher time commitment so you can watch and select your films. 
  • Participants will be given access to the Curate-It course which will frame the weekly topics and discussions. You will receive 6-months access to the online course and can undertake it at your own pace over this period. Guidance and advice for how best to use this can be provided 
  • Participants must be available between 19 – 30 June to attend SAFAR Film Festival in London and run their event 


How to Apply 

Open call opens 22 Feb 

Open call closes end of day Sunday 10 March 

Decision reached and successful applicants contacted by Wednesday 13 March 

Programme commences with in person induction on Friday 22 March 


Please fill in the form below to apply for this opportunity or if you prefer to submit via video please feel free and send to