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Screening a film to an audience, in a cinema or film festival, is the final stage of the film-making process. In the film industry, organising the screening of a finished film is known as the exhibition process. People working in the exhibition areas of film production help to form the final link between the finished film product and the target audience. Programmers are employed by cinemas around the country to select a range of films to be screened at a specific venue.
Programmers are film enthusiasts who research upcoming releases across all genres, to discover the latest films that they can sign up for the venue that they work for. Cinemas and other venues need the programmers' choices to fit their target audience and, ultimately, to bring in the highest possible revenue.
Programmers will view every available film before selection, weighing up the factors that determine whether it will be a successful purchase or not. The role can require elements of travel, to various film previews and screenings.
Programmers can work either for large cinema complexes, independent or art-house cinemas, or film festivals and events. Requirements for venues differ greatly as they all have different target audiences. For example, in smaller independent cinemas, programmers may be involved in the marketing of a film to increase sales in their venue. Programmers must always be aware of contractual commitments to the distributor and must work under strict budgets of their venue.
Communication and negotiation skills are also important, as programmers are required to build good relationships with distributors and must be able to make beneficial deals on signing up new releases. Ultimately, programmers must ensure that new films are not lost to other competitors, so being focused and determined is vital.