This chapter provides an overview of film programming, as well as the terminology to be employed throughout the rest of this book. The central activity in the domain of film exhibition is known as ‘programming films’, or ‘curating films’. In light of this, all of the various film programmers worldwide are to be considered as ‘custodians of cinema culture’. This means that their screenings should offer a varied supply of worthwhile film productions, by presenting a diverse selection of the most recent releases, and simultaneously keeping the varied and complex past of cinema alive through screenings of all sorts of film heritage. It is also important to see things from the perspective of the film viewer in order to improve the decisions of the film curator about the choice and the order of films in the programme. This book offers an exploration of essential issues concerning the phenomenon of selecting films and presenting them on a big screen, to a paying audience, whether at a film theatre, film festival, or film archive.
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