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Film Curating studies area aims to provide training in the conceptualisation, development, management and dissemination of all kinds of programmes in which cinema and the audio-visual arts play the leading role

The Film Curating course aims to define the specific nature of this profession which has excellent future prospects, but still needs recognition of an epistemological corpus of its own. The speciality provides access to the entire torrent of theoretical knowledge, partly inherited from the plastic arts, which film curating is based on, as well as access to the various programming traditions and schools. As well as cultivating the particular criteria and vision of each participant, the course provides the tools to develop film projects (either black box or white box), from the conception to the implementation phase. The speciality fosters the work of the curator in relation to research, criticism, essays and the academic field. We understand there are no curator jobs that do not include a research aspect; research that is as rigorous and in-depth as that of the academic world, but which in this case it is realised in a public project (an exhibition, a catalogue, a programme, a festival...), rather than a scientific text.

One of the basic features of the Film Curating studies is that is carried out in permanent contact with the professionals and teachers at the institutions that are responsible for this and who work in the same building on a wide variety of curatorial projects, such as Tabakalera, as the International Centre for Contemporary Culture, or the San Sebastián Film Festival.

María Palacios Cruz
Coordinator of the Department of Film Curating Studies

María Palacios Cruz is a curator (Tate Britain, London; Union Docs, New York; Cinematek, Brussels; Impakt, Utrecht; Centre Pompidou, Paris…) and a teacher (School of Graphic Research & Royal Academy of Fine Arts, in Brussels, and Kingston University and Central Saint Martins, in London). She writes in publications and books about cinema and motion pictures and is the co-founder of the London publishing company, The Visible Press, specialising in this artistic discipline. She was in charge of the Courtisane Festival in Belgium and at the present time she is deputy director of LUX (based in London), one of the most important distributors of independent and experimental films in the world.

“The Film Curating Studies programme proposes to consider curating as an essential aspect of an integrated film practice, intrinsically connected to the Archiving and Filmmaking programmes. Cinema comes to life through its encounter with the spectator - whether it takes place in the film theatre, online, in an exhibition, or even a text.

The film curator enables that encounter, both by providing a critical context for the work and guaranteeing the quality of its presentation, and by mediating it to the audience; working with and between artists, institutions, technicians and spectators. A thoughtful custodian rather than a gatekeeper, the film curator should be first and foremost a passeur, to quote Serge Daney.

This programme is both professionally oriented - looking at practical questions derived from curating and writing about moving images in both film and art contexts, with input from a number of professionals in the field - as well as conceptual, advocating for a holistic understanding of cinema and defending, just as Henri Langlois famously did at Cinémathèque Française, that there are not two or three kinds of cinema, but only one".


María Palacios Cruz

Conceptualisation and full development in cinema and audio-visual arts


  Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5

Core Subjects

The map of the (three) archives History of the materiality of cinema The filmmaker's thinking: practice and theory The sound point of view Aesthetics of reception

Module details

Curating and film programming theoretical approaches Film apparatus, spaces and materiality of cinema Project management: programming Project management: expanded cinema Project management: producing films

Main subjects

Key concepts of curatorship thinking Spaces for exhibition and exposure. Black box vs. white box Programming models, criteria, schools and paradigms Films in the territory of plastic arts: ideation, research and follow-up of projects The curator as producer
  Peculiarities of film curatorships Film apparatus and technological mediation Drawing up and scheduling curatorship projects The curator’s editorial work: catalogues and publications Ways of funding contemporary films
    Writing and critical thought 1 Writing and critical thought 2 Curatorships, mediation and public audiences  
Meeting, optative subjects and other events          
Tabakalera programme          


Common Subjects

  • The map of the (three) archives

    The cinematographic and audio-visual archive is today a vast and extensive territory that demands the attention of research, conservation and creation professionals. It is by no means a static storage area, but rather a territory which, depending on why it is approached, offers different readings and possibilities of intervention. The subject poses the possibility that students of EQZE assume their role (creator, researcher, curator) as an exploration of the cinematographic and audio-visual memory.

  • History of the materiality of cinema

    There are as many cinemas as (not only optical but also haptic) materialities of cinema. This subject proposes an approach to the filmmaker based on his/her materiality to unravel not only the most relevant technological milestones, but also the ways in which the materiality of the image has contributed to generate specific artistic discourses. The subject will focus initially on the materiality (resolution, texture, colour) of the sensitive photochemical material and then progressively look at other magnetic and digital types of audio-visual media.

  • The filmmaker's thinking: practice and theory

    An approach to the theory of creation by filmmakers before or after their films: as a film project or as a reflection on the work itself. In all cases, the theory of filmmakers seeks an approach to the fundamental aesthetic dilemmas of the medium and a reading of cinematographic thinking away from traditional methodologies. Accordingly, the subject also looks at purely intuitive and non-reflective approaches, contrary to the rationalization of creation.

  • The sound point of view

    Analysis of sound in cinema, looking for connections with other contemporary manifestations of sound, such as music and art, but also with the sound dimension of everyday life.

  • Aesthetics and ideas of cinema. One single story. Just a story

    Approach to the genealogy of cinematographic images to establish a single narrative of cinema that does not distinguish between traditional genres or categories (fiction, documentary, experimental cinema, etc.), but rather sets up a dialogue and constant crossover between films and images. One single story is the result of an iconological, flexible, transversal and non-diachronic analysis to reflect on the unity of cinema as the basis of the EQZE teaching project.

  • Aesthetics of reception

    Thinking about cinema from reception does not imply doing so based on the box office results of a film or its audience, but rather on the role played by viewers in the complete meaning of any film. Their active or passive role, the place given to them in the film, the processes of identification and distance, the generation of estrangement and the mechanisms of emotion and empathy are all essential components of cinematographic creation examined in the subject. The subject questions all these matters because, in short, to think cinema from the point of view of reception means to assume that there is no filmmaker who is not, first and foremost, an active viewer.

Itinerary subjects

  • Key concepts of curatorship thinking

    Introduction to curatorship thinking. Not only does the subject take students on a historical voyage of developments in museology, exhibitions, collectionism, artistic programming and the emergence of independent curators, but it also touches on the key concepts of contemporary artistic curatorship.

  • Peculiarities of film curatorships

    Reflection on cinematographic exhibitions has been with films since the outset, but conceptualisation is an extremely recent topic and is still being systematised. The subject attempts to furnish an accurate definition of knowledge and action in connection with film curatorship, its relationship with other activities such as preservation and the archive, its predominant role in creation and its responsibility in expanding new spaces of cinematographic exhibition.

  • Spaces for exhibition and exposure. Black box vs. white box

    Films are examined on the basis of a categorisation of exhibition areas. The complex history of movie screens has recently been enhanced by screens in galleries and rooms in museums, propitiating new ways of going to the cinema. In addition to its analysis of the theoretical implications and major case studies, the subject offers tools for a practical examination of spatial adaptation of a curatorship project or a programming project.

  • Film apparatus and technological mediation

    The peculiarities of exhibition facilities to create the emotional and intellectual experience of films have been the focus of theoretical reflection since the 70s. Moreover, the changes introduced in recent years with new digital projection systems and a network strewn with images from Internet, from the point of view of creation, and therefore of curators, have made a huge star of film equipment, not only in the sense of necessary intermediate technology, but as an agent actively creating emotions. This subject focuses on an analysis, comparison and examination of apparatus and technological mediation.

  • Writing and critical thought 1

    The need to activate critical thought in relation to the film industry and to seek ways of developing it in a practical manner by means of exercises and readings forms the basis of this two-part subject which appears throughout the entire course. The first part addresses writing about images and sounds, while the second focuses on writing with images and sounds.

  • Programming models, criteria, schools and paradigms

    This subject conducts a detailed examination of the various film programming paradigms, both those emerging on a regular basis over time (in archives and stable centres) and those concentrated in certain periods (one-off events and festivals). The subject features a historic/conceptual journey which pauses to dwell on specific creators, spaces and projects which have turned programming into an art of “putting on films”.

  • Drawing up and scheduling curatorship projects

    The purpose of this methodological subject is a breakdown of sections, requisites, approaches and tools to draw up a curatorship project. Setting the project out in a written document is an essential step in terms of sharing and materialising this idea. This phase constitutes the initial specification of the project, and in this regard it is an ultimate test of its sense of reality and its feasibility. The subject examines practical issues in relation to styles of documents, styles of writing, indexing and structure, among others.

  • Writing and critical thought 2

    Continuation of the section on writing and development of critical thought. Here it addresses the generation of thought on the basis of writing with images. Particular emphasis will be laid on audiovisual essays, in a bid to produce critical thought generated using the film industry’s own media.

  • Films in the territory of plastic arts: ideation, research and follow-up of projects

    An in-depth look at film-related exhibition projects. The subject performs an analysis of the specifics of the white box on a dual parameter: on the one hand, gestation of projects in which film is the exhibition’s content and, on the other, projects associated with an expansion of films, where the filming device itself is the issue occupying what is known as the “white box”. The subject specifically focuses on aspects of ideation and methodology to carry out this kind of project.

  • The curator’s editorial work: catalogues and publications

    A practical examination and analysis of all aspects of the curator’s editorial work: catalogues of exhibitions and cycles, monographic editions, books by artists, pamphlets, posters and web publications. The subject touches on editorial contents and structure, image rights and literary contributions, and other issues in relation to timelines and technical-mechanical printing and distribution processes.

  • Curatorships, mediation and public audiences

    To a large extent curators act as intermediaries between the project and society. Although all the work they do ultimately comes under public scrutiny, an essential component of this process is a specific examination of communication and final mediation, to usher in a certain amount of circularity, exchange, dialogue and mutual enrichment, including the artist or the director. The subject avails itself of a heterogeneous plural vision of public audiences to address these issues.

  • Film production and ideation processes: the curator as producer

    Curators often play the role of an agent in the ideation and management of a film project, i.e. in the production of a film or a number of films. Although the origins of the productions may differ from the usual procedures, production processes adhere to the same criteria. From this analytic viewpoint, the subject takes a practical look at the work of the curator as the initiator and driver of cinematographic or audiovisual productions.

  • Ways of funding contemporary films

    An in-depth look at the funding of contemporary films at home and abroad. The subject avails itself of a detailed analysis of sources of funds to draw up a map of alternative resources: festivals, forums, foundations, sponsorship, subsidies, internships, competitions, self-funding and patronages. It draws comparisons between the financing of films and the financing of audiovisual art, in a bid to find connections and cooperation to help depict the economic panorama in which films are emerging in the 21st century.