Since 2014 Phoenix has partnered with De Montfort University on an original module designed to give students an introduction to film festivals. The Professional Practice module remains an unique idea when it comes to partnerships between universities and independent cinemas as not only do the participating students develop and programme a brand new film festival, but the festival is then delivered to the public at Phoenix as part of our curated cinema programme.
For me and the other staff at Phoenix who work on the festival it presents an interesting challenge. We have to try and give an overview of working in film but not get too bogged down in the details (who really wants to talk MGs, splits and Facebook algorithms guys?) Encourage them to think outside the box when choosing films but not let them get too hung up on a title that doesn’t suit the theme. Work with them to mould their ideas into something that also works for Phoenix but of course, not be too controlling and veto everything!
Meeting the new students each year is exciting, they bring a passion for cinema to the table; and their optimism and belief in the power of cinema and art to create change is a refreshing reminder of why places like Phoenix need to exist. With this year’s festival halted halfway through due to the pandemic, I have been looking back on previous years to pick out my favourite screenings.