Sunday, 20 July 2014

G - R - O - W

Now that the internship cycle is complete, it is time to assess the whole process and adjust my Goals, consider the Reality of my past and present professional career by taking into account my Options and the Obstacles that I had and will have to face, as well as plan my Way forward.



Since the beginning of this course, I was aiming to apply for internships because I strongly believe that even though education is, to quote Nelson Mandela, 'the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world', all of your theoretical knowledge is somehow useless if you do not put it into practice. Taking all of the theory of the course and applying it, by evaluating the structure and work conditions of the cultural sector (or, in my case, the film sector), is the best way to actually acquire knowledge, since you observe real examples of what you have learned in class. Internships can also make you more employable, which is really important in a city as competitive as London, especially for me, a foreigner, who has never worked in the UK before, a country where employers really value UK based work experience.

Bearing in mind that my long-term aspiration in life is to work in the film industry as a film producer or, alternatively, a festival director, an internship was also a way for me to gain some expertise on the field, since I had little experience in the film industry. Looking at my original goals for this internship, I feel really satisfied with what I achieved, since I got the chance to work at a respectable British film festival, and I developed a nuanced perspective of the cultural economy and cultural labour.


Realistically speaking, based on my previous academic and professional experience, it was highly unlikely that I could get a job at a production company. The choice to prioritise on applications for film festival positions was a conscious and logical one, since my previous experience in events would make it easier for me to find an internship. After all, a film festival is the best place for film industry members to network and explore new job opportunities, let alone if you are actually working at said festival.

Looking back on my CV before this internship, I see a man who, even though he is quite inexperienced in the field, he seems really passionate about film culture and film events. Because of my home country's financial situation, art projects are rare and it is really hard to get into the film industry, since people rely almost exclusively on their own social and professional circles to find people to assist them in their projects. However, if I am completely honest, I feel like I should have tried to get a more active role in film festivals, and take some film production lessons that would showcase my interest in the field. However, I choose to live my life with no regrets, as the 'game' is still on, and there are still plenty of opportunities for me in the near future. Better late than never.



Before my internship at EEFF I was aiming for an exciting but yet approachable organisation, which could potentially offer me a position based on the experience I already had. I could not hope to work at the BFI or the BBC. It is not that I would not love to, but even though I dream big, I also like to be realistic. Since I had experience in festivals and events, it was more feasible and logical to search for an internship at a medium sized organisation.

From now on, I feel more comfortable setting my expectations higher. Breaking into the film industry is hard, as you usually need to have good connections, or be someone's personal recommendation. This experience at EEFF opened up a lot of new opportunities for me; it got me an interview at MoMA, and a lot of connections in the UK film industry, even though with low-profile people who still struggle in the field. You have to start somewhere though, right? 

Way forward

Bearing in mind that I do not wish to return to Greece after my studies, I will focus on sending as many CVs as possible, for jobs in film production and festivals, but this time in a Production Assistant position. The good thing is that there are so many different ways to go if you want to embark a career at film events and film production, and I wish to explore all of them. The main goal is to make my breakthrough into film production, in any capacity, by the end of 2014. Not necessarily with a high profile, stable, or well paid job; just something to explore how things work behind the camera.

Furthermore, I am considering that a good way to go would be to focus on part-time, or project-based jobs, so that I will have the opportunity to get experience in all different kinds of positions; after all, a producer needs to know how everything works so as to tie all of the different aspects of a project together. Moreover, a lot of film institutions offer short courses on film related subjects, and I believe that it would be a good idea to attend some courses on film production so as to reinforce my academic knowledge on the matter.

I already began sending CVs for jobs that I find appealing, but, for now, the immediate focus of attention should be on my dissertation so that I ensure that I will achieve a respectable, if not excellent, overall grade in my MA. When all of my academic duties are over, I will resume the job hunting more intensely, with the hope that by the next 4 years I will be producing my own feature films. This time I will be the one submitting films for festivals and not the other way around! 


Friday, 27 June 2014

... and so it ends.

Source:, taken from 'Pocahontas' (1995), directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg

It is so weird how time flies when you are having a good, creative time. The festival is officially over and even though I am quite relieved that it is done, I cannot help but feel a little bit melancholic at the same time. Working at the EEFF has been an amazing experience for me and so have the 2 weeks of the actual festival. I got to work with new people and explore new, interesting aspects of the job (namely venue managing and what the work of a runner entails), I had the chance to meet and take care of foreign directors and producers who visited the festival but did not really knew anyone else in the city, and came across people that could potentially be beneficial during job seeking after this MA is over. 

After the intensity of the first few days, things got more chilled as time passed, since we had fewer and fewer responsibilities, as time passed. The most integral part of the last days was... partying. I am saying this in all seriousness. Festival guests that came to London for a few days wanted to see what the night life of the city has to offer, and the EEFF team was more than happy to show them around. Apart for been good hosts, going out at night after a hard day's work also helps to bring the team closer, as well as offers networking opportunities, especially in the festival parties, where a lot of people of the industry are gathered together, having fun, and getting drunk, which makes it easier for them (but also for me) to talk to them. It might sound weird, but parties are indeed a vital part of a festival, not only because of the fact that practically everyone likes dancing and drinking, but also because it reinforces team spirit and gives a sense of community to audience and guests.

Parties and fun aside, there is nothing that can make a festival worker happier than listening to directors and producers saying how pleased they are with the co-operation and how thankful they are for all our help. It makes it all worthwhile to know that the filmmakers are satisfied with how it went. That is practically the very reason we are all doing this!

It is always sad to say goodbye to something you love. On the bright side, this experience gave me so much insight into how film festivals are run, that I will be forever grateful to everyone that I got to work together with this year. My negotiation skills got better, thanks to the King's Professional Skills programme and of course the practice that I did during my internship (securing films with a low screening fee is not an easy job, but sales agents and producers are always happy to lower the price for a better position in the programme that will offer more exposure) and I got more confident and fluent (even though I still need to work on my accent, as my Director stated that 'your written speech is better than your oral'). Furthermore, I found out what my strengths and weaknesses are and how I can sell my skills to a new employer, and, most importantly, I was able to secure a couple of interviews because of my experience here. Plus, it was quite satisfying putting things I learned in this MA into practice. 

There is still a long way to go till I reach my highest career aspirations, and a lot of things yet to learn but, as they say, 'you have to start somewhere', and my start was pretty brilliant! 

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

So it begins...


Things I realised after the first 4 days of the festival:
a) There is a hell of a lot of things that can go wrong when you are working on an event
b) Working at a festival can be unhealthily stressful
c) I love this job (well, I realised that about 2 months ago, but it bears repeating)

The East End Film Festival kicked off last Friday with the spectacular Opening Night Gala at Genesis Cinema, that included the World Premiere of Dermaphoria, special guest Ron Perlman, a fancy party at Trapeze, lots of alcohol, and exciting networking opportunities. It is really hard to describe with words the feeling that I had during the Opening Night Gala; it was a mixture of excitement, anxiety and relief, mostly because everything worked out fine, at least as far as my responsibilities are concerned.

However, there were a lot of things that went wrong in the first couple of days, proving that running any kind of events requires you to think on your feet and be resourceful. The first few days I got to help out with the management of the EEFF events at Red Gallery, which included Grits 'N' Gravy. Grits 'N' Gravy was the first event that took place in that venue, during the first day of the festival, and things actually got kind of messy. The space was not fully decorated when guests and audience arrived, and due to the fact that it was the first day of screenings, some short films were not properly screen tested and we had to cancel the screening of two of them because, as it turned out, the copies we had were defective. The manager of the venue did her best with what she got but unfortunately it was not enough for a perfect day. Luckily, our guests were happy with the turnout, even though not even half of the venue was full. At least, we were better prepared for the rest of the events there; we took better care of the venue's appearance, screen and sound tested all of the films on time, and advertised the rest of the events better. For instance, on Sunday we had a full house at the World Premiere of a documentary about the Levellers, which was followed by a concert from the iconic indie rock band.

As far as One Stop Film Shop is concerned, all of its activities finished on Saturday and there were a lot of things that one needs to take into account for next year (that is, if they plan to do the same thing next year). First of all, nobody really cares for short talks on film related subjects and that was quite obvious from the minimal turn out. However, a lot of people showed up for the screenings. Especially on Saturday, when we screened the Top 15 films from the My London Film Competition, that the festival organised along with Time Out London. That was even more satisfying for me, because I had the idea for that screening; a way to thank the contestants for their submissions and honour the creme of the crop. Moreover, the space was beautiful, cosy and arty and it increased the visibility of the festival. A lot of people were getting inside asking for information and getting flyers and programmes, proving that such a space can be beneficial for the festival, but only as long as there are more activities and screenings going on inside.

It is quite obvious that festivals need a lot of attention to detail, and extremely good organisation and communication between the whole team. Also, venue managing is super interesting! It might be extremely stressful, but at the same time it is so fulfilling seeing people leaving the venue satisfied, with a smile in their faces. 

By the way, I already met a director, a producer and two actors. That is my payment for all the free work that I have been doing! 

Monday, 9 June 2014

As long as I work, so long do I learn.

Source:, taken from 'An Education' (2009), directed by Lone Scherfig

There are three things that I learned from this last, stressful week:

a) In the Cultural and Creative Industries you need to feel comfortable working on your own, but you should also not be intimidated by working with a big team. Communication might be relatively tricky but on the bright side, there are so many things you can learn from people that come from different backgrounds, and even countries. Employers expect you to be able to work autonomously, but also willing to cooperate with others, since nothing in the CCIs can be planned, organised and executed thoroughly without somebody's assistance. For instance, film festivals require people that acquire different kinds of expertise. You need to have someone in control of marketing/social media, content (online and physical), print traffic, press, hospitality, awards, venues, transport, graphic design, events, sponsors, and so on. It is physically impossible for one person to deal with all of these, but it is also highly unlikely for anything to work without the smooth collaboration between employees from different departments. For example, the one responsible for hospitality needs to talk with the Head of Programming and find out who is invited to the festival, then work with the marketing team in order to advertise the guest's arrival, and so on.

b) If you wish to work in events, you really need to master your time management skills. In my case, One Stop Film Shop appeared in the last minute, and it's incredibly stressful to organise a full week of activities just a week before they are actually launched. I had to brainstorm for ideas of activities, including screenings and talks, then find the contact details of people that we wanted to invite, email them with our idea, or even call them if they fail to reply to us quickly. Since I was not really working there full time, I had to arrange everything perfectly time-wise, and luckily everything turned out just fine, at least as far as programming is concerned. It remains to be seen if this venture will turn out right. By the way, the space is absolutely stunning. Judge for yourselves here.


c) One of Alison's advises during my research for speakers for One Stop film Shop, was to look for people that work at the Tech City, since most of the talks we were planning had to do with film and technology. I was not really familiar with the fact that London had its own version of Silicon Valley, let alone that it was located in East London. According to this infographic from MIT Technology Review (n.d.), it turns out that Tech City is one of the largest technology clusters in the world, that expands from Old Street to Stratford, with most of the companies concentrated around Shoreditch (BBC, 2010)

That realisation was particularly interesting due to the act that I feel like I am applying things that I learned from this MA in practice. According to Porter (1998), a cluster is a geographic concentration of companies, suppliers and institutions that specialise in specific sectors, and are competing but also co-operating with each other. It is like a city within a city, a place where cultural products are created and consumed at the same time.

From an academic perspective, Tech City is quite interesting, as far as theories of co-location are concerned. As Comunian and Chapain has stated (2010), through co-location the CCIs create a network that provides networking opportunities, the advantage of geographical proximity that allows workers to check out their competition and interact face-to-face with colleagues from other companies, thus giving a strong sense of belonging to the CCI workers, who connect their creative work with a specific place. It would be really interesting to explore how that particular part of London came to be the centre of technological advances of the capital, and how it adds to the city's marketability in a touristic sense. It is too late to change my dissertation topic now, right?

  • BBC, 2010. Cameron reveals Silicon Valley vision for east London. BBC, [online] 4 November 2010. Available at: [Accessed on 8 June 2014].
  • Chapain, C. and Comunian, R., (2010). Enabling and Inhibiting the Creative Economy: The Role of the Local and Regional Dimensions in England. Regional Studies, [online] 44:6, pp. 717-734. Available at: [Accessed 9 June 2014].
  • MIT Technology Review, n.d.. World Innovation Clusters. [infographic online] Available at: [Accessed 8 June 2014].
  • Porter, M.E. On Competition. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Back in the office..


The last exams of my life are finally over! No time to celebrate though. I have been away from work for the last two weeks, and so I had to catch up. The festival is only two weeks away and there are still lots that need to be done. Unfortunately, the programming part of the festival is more or less over, so now I got assigned different tasks that related to the job that I did before but at the same time offered a better insight into different parts of organising a film festival. It was also interesting to work closely with more people from the team, which keeps on getting bigger and bigger the closer we get to the festival.

So now, for the next weeks, my tasks will be to work along with the Film Coordinator in order to help him arrange print traffic (mostly for the films that I helped securing), find and contact potential hosts for various Q&As, help out with hospitality (for filmmakers whose invitations I handled) and help curate the activities of One Stop Film Shop, a special pop-up space that the festival will be running from 9-15 June with Little White Lies Magazine, one of the UK's most respected film magazines. The shop is located at Old Street Station and will act as a hub for festival guests, cinephiles and Londoners to alight for short conversations and film screenings.

Let's see how this will go...

Friday, 16 May 2014

Locking this year's line-up

Taken from the festival's website

The closer we get to the announcement of this year's festival programme, the more hectic my days in the office are. My last day in the office, before my studying-for-the-exams break, coincided with the day that we were locking the programme and I had to finish all of my tasks before leaving. We had to confirm in about 24 hours all of the "pending" titles, which, unfortunately, were a lot. 


About 10 titles got cancelled in the last minute, which made me realise that nothing is really certain in this job and that you always need to have a plan B. Maybe it was even an issue of lack of organisation. If we have confirmed more of the films earlier, then we would not have to be so stressed in the last minute. It was quite crazy during the last hours before the announcement and I gladly stayed over for more than 7 hours (which is the amount of hours that I usually work) to help out. It was as stressful as it was exciting; a very good chance to test my ability to work under pressure and manage my time, and, once again, I proved to myself and to my colleagues, that I, somehow, work better under pressure. I tend to be more organised and concentrated, which is a good asset if you seek employment in the cultural and creative industries.

Taken from the festival's website

All's Well That Ends WellIt's so exciting seeing all of your hard work getting out there for the world to enjoy! As far as the programme is concerned, there are some parts that I am really proud of. For instance, the Grits 'n' Gravy line-up looks amazing; Grits 'n' Gravy is a special part of the festival that was presented last year for the first time, and celebrates the films and music from the Deep South of the USA. I worked really hard on this so I am really looking forward to see how it will turn out. Then, there is the special event about Palestinian films, for which I chased all the copies and arranged traffic; the exceptional Palo Alto with James Franco (one of the "Coming of Age" films that we are doing this year, since the festival is also becoming a teenager); Hong Khaou's Lilting, one of the (unfortunately) few, but absolutely mesmerizing LGBT films of this year's line-up; Mistaken for Strangers, a really entertaining documentary about the relationship between the lead singer of National, Matt Berninger, and his brother Tom, the director of the film; and The Golden Dream, by far my favourite from the Mexican Focus that we are co-curating with last year's winner Sebastian Hoffman.

Monday, 12 May 2014


The last couple of days were crazy in the office and it's amazing what coordinated, team effort can do. Half of the money for the EEFF's first crowd funding campaign was raised in the last two days! And just 12 minutes before the end, the campaign reached its goal! Well, that was intense!

Apart from the fact that a strong, cooperative team is key for any cultural business that wishes to survive and prosper, the EEFF's crowd funding campaign is also an apparent example of how increasingly important social media are in modern marketing, especially for small businesses that cannot afford the extremely costly traditional advertising of print, radio and TV. 

Social media marketing refers to the creation of online content that aims to grasp the audience's attention and urge them to share that contact in their social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr, etc), blogs and websites, thus creating what Jan Kietzmann and Ana Canhoto describe (2013) as "electronic word of mouth". In the last hours of the EEFF crowd funding campaign, tweets and re-tweets were crucial, as they generated this electronic word of mouth which resulted in drawing a lot of attention in the campaign and helping EEFF to reach its goal.

Taken from EEFF's twitter

The value of social media originates on the collective and the individual, instead of the mass (Evans, 2012). Nancy R. Jones (2013) highlights the assets of social media marketing by pointing out:

a) its ability to target large audiences quickly and cost-effectively, and enable branding
b) how it enables direct feedback through interactive procedures such as polls, comments on facebook posts, and Q&As on twitter
c) the exposure that social media offer, bearing in mind that most people in developed countries uses social media today

The EEFF team is heavily using facebook and twitter as its main marketing tools, for all of the reasons above. Also, it is pretty obvious that, because of the festival's financial situation, it is impossible for EEFF to afford a lot of traditional advertising.

The efforts of the EEFF team escalated in the last few hours before the end of the kickstarter campaign. The marketing team was on fire, and anyone else did their best by tweeting about it, sharing the campaign on facebook, and practically forcing their friends, relatives, and former colleagues to share and donate.

Congrats team. Now let's go organise this festival!


  • Evans, D., (2012) Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day. Indianapolis: John Wiley & Sons
  • Jones, N., (2013) Importance of Social Media Marketing Among Small Businesses. Available at: [Accessed 11 May 2014].
  • Kietzmann, J., Canhoto, A. (2013) Bittersweet! Understanding and Managing Electronic Word of Mouth. Available at: [Accessed 11 May 2014].