YFN Stories: Piers Courtney

From YFP to Social Media Lead and Events Planner

Piers Courtney in a living room in front of a window.
Piers Courtney shares his journey from Young Film Programmer to Social Media Lead and Events Planner.

I had already been working at Fabrica in Brighton as a technician, where there is a strong community around film, when I was persuaded to arrange for a short to be made by some contemporary animators I knew to be played alongside a screening of Fantastic Planet (1973). The short worked great with the film and it was fantastic to hit the ground running.

Becoming a YFP

I began as a YFP at Fabrica in 2021. Our group is called Fresh Perspectives and my favourite aspect of becoming a YFP was our voting system. It seems silly but we would bring suggestions for the theme that was a response to the exhibition we were currently running, and to see how everyone interpreted the theme brought a new awareness for audience expectations. For example, a realisation that film programming doesn’t necessarily mean putting on your favourite films. Also working with other local film groups such as Oska Bright, Platform Asia and Woman Over Fifty Film Festival (WOFFF) meant reaching a community in the town. I think my favourite event was my last one with Fresh Perspectives. We screened Beba by Rebeca Huntt. The marketing and enthusiasm of the group really shone through, we were able to get a local poet to create a workshop, make badges and screened an Oska Bright short beforehand. It was just a very joyous event and made me proud of my achievement with the group and how far both individually and as a collective we had come.

Getting a job in the industry

After I matured past the age of YFP, an opportunity came up for a film programming internship at Fabrica. In this paid role I was able to create the first trailer reels for the site and the group’s first social media presence on Instagram (@freshperspectivefabrica), all whilst learning the inner workings of film programming, such as funding, licensing and marketing. It was great to enhance the Fresh Perspectives presence after how many great experiences being a YFP had given me.

After the culmination of the internship in April, I’ve been working freelance with both Fabrica and got a full-time job at Depot Cinema in Lewes which involves introducing films, planning events, and programming.

My role today

Today I lead our YFP team’s social media strategy at Fabrica, support the programming and front of house teams at Depot, alongside supervising our YFP group as we move into our 3rd round of recruitment. I’m particularly excited for my Q&A at Fabrica with Jamie Patterson for a screening of Tucked, a film I’d previously engaged with as a community curator for the Queer the Pier exhibition at Brighton Museum. In addition, I’m still working on a couple of short films, including set design with filmmakers involved in the new Evil Dead film which I’m very excited about. I’m also planning an event merging my passion for drawing and film, with a themed life drawing session of a secret British director, but that project is still in its infancy.

I think my advice would be to listen to your other members. YFP groups give you different perspectives (a fresh perspective, if you can pardon the pun), and I’ve discovered some of my favourite films through other members’ suggestions. It will give a better range when it comes to freelance programming. Also, network! I hate it and I’m terrible at it but it’s the best way to meet contacts.

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