Film curator Thom Powers speaks at Tower Theater

Film curator Thom Powers speaks at Tower Theater

Thom Powers (left) is pictured speaking with an attendee.

Thom Powers, a distinguished film curator who has done programming for the Miami International Film Festival for the past four years, conducted a free three-hour seminar on the art of curation on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Tower Theater on SW Eighth Street.

Powers, who has also been a curator with the Toronto International Film Festival and served as artistic director for the launch of film events in three other cities, explained to his audience of amateur and professional film enthusiasts what film curation is all about.

“As film curators what you’re doing is being a link between the film and your audience,” Powers said. “Curation is about making the most of time. Making the most of the audience’s time. Bringing them films that will be meaningful to them.”

He geared his presentation not only to those considering programming for large scale film festivals, but also to anyone interesting in creating smaller events, local film clubs or even simple screenings for friends in their own homes.

Finding out how to start isn’t easy according to Powers.

“There’s not a well-developed history or set of models when you look at film curation,” Powers said. “I think we’re at a pivotal moment when it comes to experiencing film.”

He described all the choices that people have now with the new technology to view films, such as Netflix, online streaming and even via their tablets and cell phones.

“With thousands of films to choose from, there’s a need for someone to help people make selections,” Powers said.

For those interested in starting out as curators, whether with an online blog, via Facebook or Twitter, he had eight suggestions or tips to follow:
1. Stake an identity (what’s your specialty?).
2. Listen to filmmakers (you are the bridge between them and the public).
3. Build a database of your audience members.
4. Deliver something unique (something that will motivate people to attend).
5. Find a home base (home, school, church or movie theater).
6. Keep a regular schedule (monthly, weekly or several weeks in a row).
7. Meet the press (local bloggers, newspapers, TV news).
8. Follow through (you need to practice the art of curation).

Powers also curates the online platform at

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