Skip to Main Content

MHS Library | Specialist roles in filmmaking

Specialist roles in film - Programmer


Programmers are responsible for choosing the right films for the right target audience. This involves building good relationships with film distributors, to ensure that the required films are secured.  Programmers must view everything they select for exhibition. Some degree of travel may be required, to attend previews or screenings of the films due for release. 

Once they have selected a film, programmers may be responsible for negotiating deals with Dstributors, and ensuring that all the necessary paperwork is completed. They must be aware of, and adhere to, any contractual obligations. They should also be aware of any specific technical issues concerning the film print, and ensure that this information is passed on to Projectionists. 

Programmers may have to work to specific budgets. Depending on the size of the venue, the Programmer may also be responsible for marketing and promoting the films. This involves organising print advertising and promotional events, and ensuring that up to date databases are maintained to facilitate mail outs. If Programmers are required to develop new audiences for a particular venue, they are responsible for doing audience research, and for ensuring that the results are reflected in their choice of films. (Source: Creative Skillset


Projectionists are responsible for receiving films, and for inspecting them for any technical problems. If they discover any faults, they may have to make the necessary repairs, working to deadlines. They provide the required film projection service, and ensure that all advertisements, trailers and films are projected on time.

Projectionists carry out any necessary administration, including the maintenance of film records. They may also be responsible for all aspects of the cinema's technical operations outside of the projection room, including lighting, heating, ventilation, fire alarms and equipment, electrical, water and gas supplies.

They must comply with the relevant Health and Safety legislation and requirements. They must also be aware of all statutory and local authority measures related to the projection suite, and ensure that they are adhered to. In larger establishments, Projectionists may report to a Chief or Senior Projectionist. (Read more here)

The projectionist

A projectionist's job