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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 Film Curating Studies Department

María Palacios Cruz is a film curator, writer and educator based in London. She has curated retrospectives of Ute Aurand, Alia Syed, Luke Fowler, Robert Beavers, Morgan Fisher & Ken Jacobs and worked closely with artists including Laida Lertxundi, Beatrice Gibson, Ana Vaz, Basma Alsharif, Mary Helena Clark, Kathryn Elkin & Lis Rhodes to present their work in the form of screenings, exhibitions, publications and other events. She is course leader for Film Curating at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola in San Sebastian and was formerly Deputy Director of LUX, the UK agency for artists’ moving image. She is a programmer for the Punto de Vista and Courtisane festivals and in 2019 she edited an anthology of writings by British artist Lis Rhodes. Together with Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson and Ben Rivers, she programs The Machine That Kills Bad People, a bi-monthly film club at the ICA in London.

“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 Module 6

Common subjects 

Film Hypothesis  History of the materiality of cinema 

The filmmaker's thinking 

The soundtrack of reality  The spectator-filmmaker   

Module details 

Curating and film programming theoretical approaches Film apparatus, spaces and materiality of cinema Project management: programming (I) Project management: programming (II) Project management: expanded cinema Inside filmmaker’s studio


Peculiarities of film curatorship Festival under construction  Hypotheses (publication) Festival under construction  Festival under construction   
  Festival under construction Screens Festival under construction  Screens Screens  
  Screens Exhibition under construction Screens Exhibition under construction

Hypotheses (publication)  


  Exhibition under construction Film as an off-screen experience: contraction and expansion of film apparatus Exhibition under construction Hypotheses (publication) 

Curator's editorial work: catalogues and publications


Curators as producers


Writing and critical thought (I)


Otras Luces

The other film camera


Experimental documentary today

Writing and critical thought (II)


Subtitling workshop



  • Programming models, criteria, schools and paradigms (I) & (II)

Basque film: a cinematography with tradition, an emerging cinematography

Curatorships, mediation and public audiences


Research, curating and creation related to the militant film archive


Programming models, criteria, schools and paradigms (III)

Film and video in the space of contemporary art


Map of the (three) archives


Meeting, programs and other activities


Akelarre I


Historie(s) of cinema

Akelarre II


Historie(s) of cinema

Akelarre III


Historie(s) of cinema

Akelarre IV


Historie(s) of cinema

Akelarre V


Historie(s) of cinema


Tabakalera program             


Common Subjects

  • Film Hypothesis

    The theme of the first of the core subjects is the school itself, viewed as an aesthetic project rather than just an educational centre. The result is poetics, that is to say, an action plan, an ethic, a unitary vision of film, a shared life experience and a notion of collective co-responsibility that affects all members of the school. It is the EQZE as poetics, as Raúl Ruiz might say, or as ars poetica (the art of poetry), to borrow Horace’s term. A Single History/ Just a Story [Una sola historia/ Solo una historia] shows the EQZE’s place in the context of other legendary film education experiences, carrying out an iconological, flexible, cross-cutting and non-diachronic analysis of film in order to engender a reflection on the unity of film which lies at the heart of the EQZE teaching project.

  • 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

    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 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.

  • The map of the (three) archives

    This subject offers EQZE students the opportunity of taking on an exploratory role (creative, researcher, curator) within archive-related film and audio-visual practice, bearing the three tenses of cinema in mind: the past, linked to memory; the present, linked to action; and the future, linked to planning and foresight. This philosophical proposal aims to prompt students to think about historical and contemporary cultural and political problems from the perspective of the conceptual framework offered by the concepts of profanation (Giorgio Agamben) and the creative act (Gilles Deleuze).

  • Basque film: a cinematography with tradition, an emerging cinematography

    This course suggests an approach to Basque film. Beginning with an historical contextualization in order to provide the background of the birth and development of Basque film up to the present time, it will carry out a chronological and thematic review of the history of Basque film and will present the most notable Basque filmmakers from its origins to the present day, with particularly close attention to the three (or more) generations of Basque filmmakers who are currently active.

  • Inside filmmaker’s studio

    The sixth module begins in mid-August and is only partly classroom-based. This is a time for students to apply the knowledge they have gained, both through their work experience and in their individual or group end-of-course assignments.

Itinerary subjects

  • 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.

  • Festival under construction

    A cross-curricular subject directed by the San Sebastián Film Festival in which the preparations for the forthcoming edition of the festival are explained and a reflection is proposed on the nature of film festivals in the 21st century. The San Sebastián Film Festival will be the starting point and will serve as a case study based on which it re-thinks itself.

  • Screens

    The film and audiovisual department at Tabakalera is structured around the cinema screen. This is its epicentre, and it is at this primordial spotlight and darkness- that we recognise ourselves. At the same time, its programme provides a vast range of activities that revolve around, complete and expand what occurs on the screen: conferences, workshops, meetings and the presence of directors, programmers and festivals who share experiences and working processes with our audiences.

  • Exhibition under construction

    This subject is based around an exhibition of the photographic work of the artist Nestor Besterretxea, curated by Peio Aguirre for the Kutxa Kultur Artegunea Room in Tabakalera and aims to work with students on a specific curating project. Specifically, students will help curate the film-related part of the initiative, thereby participating in an exhibition which combines fixed images, moving images and traces of film and expository film. In other words, students will be working with contemporary curating practices focused on the contemporary and fluid status of technical images.

  • Writing and critical thought (I)

    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.

  • Otras luces

    For the second consecutive year, Curating students from EQZE will be programming the moving image show "Otras luces" in Pamplona in December 2019. "Otras luces" is an outdoor moving image show that takes place in the historic centre of Pamplona during the shortest days of the year. These sessions will accompany the different stages of the programming and production of "Otras luces" : from site visit, research and previewing to contacting artists, negotiating rights and writing promotional texts.

  • Film as an off-screen experience: contraction and expansion of film apparatus

    With the advent of the new millennium there has been an international convergence of a number of artistic practices associated with the cinema that make it necessary to revisit and reinvent its history. For a number of reasons - the digital revolution, the dematerialisation of artistic objects and the recovery of theatricality and body action - the "apparatus" of film has been reconfigured in a way that has both contracted and expanded it. That "apparatus" (in the sense of a system of interrelated factors that include not just the screen, the projector and the film itself but also the projection venue, the position of the audience and the images projected to them) has become a new area for visual, choreographic, performance-related and conceptual experimentation. This subject seeks to locate and analyse the core concerns of contemporary work on the contraction and expansion of the "apparatus" of film.

  • The other film camera

    A theoretical reflection and practical exercise in forms of projection. Learning to project, exploring the vision and experience of projectors, from the magic lantern to the DCP.

  • Experimental Documentary Today

    This course will examine how and why a strong documentary impulse has emerged in contemporary artists’ moving image. We will consider the hybridization of art and film and discuss how artists have interrogated the complex relationships between reality and representation in ways that extend, expand, and contest cinema’s long documentary tradition.

  • Publication of "Hypotheses"

    This is a practical, process-based subject, and involves working on EQZE's annual publication, which is produced by students on the Curating course. In a series of different sessions throughout the year, we will examine in detail all the issues related to publishing, editorial design and production that need to be considered when creating a publication. The finished book will contain all the different projects from students, as well as contributions from teachers and guest faculty who have been involved in the course.

  • Writing and critical thought (II)

    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.

  • 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”.

  • 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.

  • Programming models, criteria, schools and paradigms (III)

    Continuing the work done in module 3, this subject looks at film programming via specific cases covering both regular arrangements (at film libraries and permanent establishments) and more concentrated arrangements (festivals and one-off events). It deals with conceptual issues concerned with programming and practical organisational matters (such as budgeting, funding, the negotiating of rights, showing, etc.).

  • Curator's editorial work: catalogues and publications

    This class considers editorial aspects of curatorial practice, both conceptually and practically: from programme notes and festival catalogues to magazines, books and other kinds of publications. Through specific projects and historical examples, it proposes a look at print production, interviews, editing, proofreading, book design & layout, printing and distribution.

  • 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.

  • Film and video in the space of contemporary art

    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.