Irish Film Institute -Job description: Head of Programming at the Irish Film Institute (IFI)

Job description: Head of Programming at the Irish Film Institute (IFI)

The IFI is seeking to appoint a Head of Programming to join its management team in this senior role.


The Irish Film Institute is Ireland’s national cultural institution for film. At the IFI’s historic home in Eustace Street, Temple Bar, our diverse audiences and loyal members enjoy our 3 cinemas, IFI Irish Film Archive’s research and access facilities, IFI Film Shop and IFI Café Bar. 

 The IFI has developed strategic objectives around three core activities:


  • EXHIBIT Providing audiences throughout Ireland with access to the finest independent, Irish and international cinema
  • PRESERVE Preserving and promoting Ireland’s moving image heritage through the IFI Irish Film Archive
  • EDUCATE Providing opportunities for audiences of all ages and backgrounds to learn and critically engage with film through IFI Education 


The IFI is seeking to appoint a Head of Programming to join the management team in this senior role. The successful candidate should possess the energy and acumen to build on what has been achieved and lead the IFI into the next exciting phase of its cultural programming policy. This is a unique opportunity to develop and shape, in consultation with the IFI Director, the IFI’s programme and artistic vision.


This job description provides an outline of the key day-to-day and strategic responsibilities of the role.


Key Job Purpose:


  • The delivery of an extensive and diverse cultural programme including independent Irish and International film that engages different audiences
  • Programming the IFI’s 3 main cinemas with a varied selection of new releases, classics, special events and retrospectives
  • Ongoing development of the IFI’s Programming Policy to tie in with the Institute’s strategic aims and priorities
  • Maintaining a balance in programming
  • Enhancing and developing productive relationships with partners and stakeholders
  • Ensuring that the IFI operates to the highest standards of cinema provision delivering an exemplary cinema experience to patrons


Key Responsibilities


Cultural Programme


Exhibit. The IFI delivers a challenging and diverse programme of the best of international and Irish film culture through a programme of new releases, curated seasons, festivals and events. The IFI is committed to providing its audience with access to the best of new Irish film, including a number of films that would not otherwise have a theatrical release, and many films that would not otherwise be seen in Ireland.




The Head of Programming with work with the IFI Director to ensure that the IFI delivers a diverse, critically engaging and distinctive programme of film exhibition.

  • Managing the Cinemas Department on the delivery of the overall IFI programme
  • Working with the Special Events Programmer on a broad selection of one-off events, seasons and retrospectives
  • Liaising with the wider IFI programming team, including internal and external programmers, on the delivery of the IFI’s broad range of programming from festivals to one-off events
  • Responsible for the overall cinemas calendar and schedule, and for liaising with internal and external programmers
  • Working with the IFI Curator on developing relationships with the Irish filmmaking community
  • Working on IFI National initiatives to develop IFI partnerships with cultural cinema exhibitors nationwide
  • Developing integrated programming for the public by working with the IFI Irish Film Archive and IFI Education on collaborative programming ideas and events
  • Developing opportunities for critical engagement through facilitated talks, debates and various events
  • Representing the IFI on panel discussions, events, film introductions, Q&As etc. at the IFI and elsewhere


  • Developing and maintaining good relationships with media, distributors and other exhibitors
  • Managing the team within the Cinemas Department
  • Working with the IFI team across the organisation ensuring high levels of programme knowledge for all relevant staff
  • Liaising with the wider IFI programming team on the delivery of the IFI’s programme
  • Ensuring that all contractual commitments relevant to cinemas and programming made to government agencies, partners, sponsors and exhibitors are adhered to


  • Working with the Cinemas Technical Manager on ensuring high cinema provision levels are constantly maintained
  • Working with the Cinema Department and Cinemas Technical Manager on print transport systems and procedures

Communication and Public Affairs:

  • To champion the consideration of audience, development and engagement in relation to IFI programming and public affairs
  • Facilitating media requests for interviews etc. that help promote the IFI’s various programmes and events
  • Working with the Marketing & Communications team on the production of marketing materials including copy sourcing and/or copywriting
  • Working with the Public Affairs & Marketing Director on audience development initiatives to increase public participation in the cinema activities of the Institute and ensuring that the IFI’s objectives and activities are communicated effectively to the public and key stakeholders
  • To work with staff across the organisation to ensure that an excellent customer service experience is delivered on a consistent basis


Finance and Operations:

  • Working closely with the Deputy Director/Head of Finance on the financial management of the Cinemas Department
  • Ensuring the financial resources are managed in a productive manner and within budget
  • Responsible for expenditure budgets related to the Cinemas Department and for income targets related to programming across the three cinemas

Person Specification

The IFI requires that the successful candidate be able to demonstrate strong examples from their past experience highlighting that they have both the capability and desire for this role. Specifically, it is seeking someone who has:


Experience and Knowledge

  • Significant programming experience including at least 3 years working at a senior level
  • An excellent and comprehensive knowledge of all types of film including art-house, independent American and European, Irish and world cinema
  • Proven experience and success in devising and implementing dynamic and engaging cultural cinema  programmes


Personal Qualities / Attitudes

  • Possesses the flair and creativity to identify and frame cohesive programmes in collaboration with the dynamic IFI team and partners
  • Strong people management skills and the ability to lead and motivate the Cinemas Department and foster a positive culture and environment
  • A natural capacity to facilitate productive relationships with external partners in cultural agencies, education, government, and corporate supporters/sponsors
  • Someone who combines vision with the ability to make things happen, particularly in relation to bringing their own cultural vision to reality
  • A track record of working to budgets
  • An effective communicator who can make a personal impact with individuals and groups in a range of different scenarios and can represent the IFI in the media and at various events including introducing films, participating in panel discussions etc.
  • Strong organisational skills and an ability to work to tight deadlines

Terms and Conditions of Employment

The Head of Programming is a senior role and reports to the IFI Director. The IFI is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. It operates a model of cultural enterprise, using its Arts Council subsidy to procure diverse income streams, which are then invested back into its 3 core activities, EXHIBIT, PRESERVE, EDUCATE.


The position is offered as a fixed term contract with a six month probationary period and is based primarily in the IFI flagship venue on Eustace Street in Dublin.  The Terms of Contract and remuneration will be offered to the successful candidate commensurate with experience. 


Application Process

Interested applicants are invited to forward a detailed CV that highlights relevant experience and a covering letter in strict confidence, with the subject line ‘Head of Programming’, addressed to:


By email:     


It is essential that the covering letter addresses in a reasonably concise way:


  • What particular skills and qualities you would bring to the role of Head of Programming of the IFI
  • How you feel that your experience has prepared you for the key challenges of this role


The closing date for applications is Tuesday, March 19th 2013 at 12 noon. 


Interview Dates and Selection methods

  • Short-listing of candidates will be on the basis of the information contained in their CV and covering letter
  • Candidates who are short-listed will be invited to attend for an initial interview to be held in early April 
  • The first interview may reduce the initial short list and remaining candidates will be invited for a subsequent second interview
  • One of the interviews will require candidates to make a presentation
  • Both interviews will be with an interview panel made up of Board members and may include an external expert


  • This job description describes the principal purpose and main elements of the job.  It is a guide to nature and key responsibilities of the job, but it is not intended as a wholly comprehensive or permanent description. 
  • Applications can be made by email only.
  • In the event that a large number of candidates will meet minimum eligibility requirements for the role, the board may decide to invite a smaller number to interview.  This is not to suggest that other candidates are necessarily unsuitable or incapable of undertaking the job, rather that there are some candidates who are, prima facie, better qualified and/or have more relevant experience.
  • The onus is on short listed applicants to make themselves available on the date(s) specified by the Director of IFI and to make whatever arrangements are necessary to ensure that they receive communications sent to them at the contact details specified in their covering letter or CV.
  • IFI is an Equal Opportunities Employer and is committed to the legislation governing the equality of opportunity.
  • To all recruitment agencies: Agency CVs or applications will not be accepted in relation to this role.  IFI is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited applications.

The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland