Online Courses

The Politics of Curating Short Film and Creating a Global Community

Lecturer: John Canciani, Laura Walde

Course dates: 16 Mar + 23 Mar 2024, 2–6pm (CET)
Maximum participants: 20

⮕ Enrol here until 09 March 2024
Special Fee: 280 CHF


In its most essential terms, the practice of curating consists in a communicative process with an audience within a certain temporal and spatial framework. Short films, selected and put in a specific context, serve as a manner of “zeitgeist gauge“ in a heavily globalized world, in which moving images are produced in abundance. Short films, at their best, challenge our perceptions while addressing contemporary and socially relevant issues.

What, then, are the processes that go into the selection and compilation of short film programs? This course will cover a range of questions regarding the practical considerations of curating film (how to do research, how to clear screening rights and address financial matters), but it will also open a debate on the epistemological dimensions of film curation: What does it mean, for example, to place an individual work in the dramaturgical setting of a program and engage it in a direct dialogue with the films that precede and follow it?

Both lecturers have been working at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur for more than a decade, which is Switzerland’s largest and most important short film festival. Kurzfilmtage Winterthur attaches great importance to presenting as expansive a program as possible, while also taking into account the geographical origin of the films. It is the festival’s goal to encourage the audience to broaden their own Global North-biased views and make room for other cultures, regions and voices at our screening venues. As curators, we aim to stimulate social debate both with our own political environment and in a global context. It is through the medium of film, especially the format of short film, that this spark can be ignited.

The encounter between a singular film and its programmatic context, the confrontation of the audience with the curators’ proposed thesis, and the immediate reaction of this audience with both the individual films and the whole program makes the festival a prime site for reflecting curatorial approaches for film exhibition.

This course aims to give an insight into curating for short film festivals (approaches, theories, methods) and, taking the two festivals’s ties to contemporary Ukrainian cinema as an illustrative example, a special focus will be places on the short film as a political format though the building of an international community of filmmakers, curators and audiences.

There will be the possibility to enter into a dialogue with Ukrainian filmmakers/curators/activists who exhibit both in galleries as well as in festivals and cinemas.


John Canciani is the Artistic Director of Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur since 2012 and a curator at Kino Cameo, Winterthur, where he advises the programme manager, regularly curates film programmes and moderates film talks. He has a Master in Advanced Studies in Curating from ZHdK and was Editor of the Issue No. 23 of the magazine on-curating “The Future of Short Film”. He is a Member of the Swiss and European Film Academy, as well as a board member of Pro Short, the Short Film Conference and Visions SudEst, where he also selects projects for the production and post-production of feature films and documentaries.


Laura Walde holds a PhD in Film Studies and English Literature from the Universities of Zurich and Aberdeen. She has completed her PhD thesis „Brevity – Program – Format: The Short Film and Its Exhibition“ in January 2022 as part of the research project „Exhibiting Film: Challenges of Format“ supervised by Professor Fabienne Liptay at the University of Zurich. Since 2013, she has been working as a curator for Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur. She acted as co-director of Schweizer Jugendfilmtage from 2014 to 2017 and currently also holds a position as a staff member of Stiftung für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte (SKKG), where she works in communication.


Photo Credit: 23. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, © Andrin Fretz/ IKFTW

Preparation for the course:
Please use a headset (or headphones) and stay in a quiet place with a stable internet connection. Please read the texts which you will get access to once you have booked the course.

This intensive two-part direct live teaching course will be held over Zoom on two consecutive Saturdays, 2–6pm CET. Please prepare a very short introduction of yourself. The first session will be used for an in-depth introduction to the topic, and workshop research. Assignments will be given for the second session. Feedback and evaluation will be given in the second session. After successful completion, a certificate with 1 ECTS point will be handed out.

Download the Zoom application. You will find a detailed installation guide here.
Zoom can be also used in a browser window on a Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or Android phone. You will find a Zoom invitation with a link to access the workshop.