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Public Programs Manager

  • Full-Time


BlackStar is a filmmaker centric and POC-led organization that brings an intersectional analysis of race, gender and power into the work while providing high quality opportunities for artists and critics, and a thoughtfully curated experience for audiences. Founded to focus on the work of Black filmmakers (of the African diaspora), we are now dedicated to solidarity across artists and communities of color, including Black, Asian, Latinx, Arab, Native, and Indigenous while still centering anti-Black racism as core to our racial justice analysis.   

BlackStar is focused on the following issues: 

POC Authorship and not individual representation 

Aesthetic quality over celebrity 

Supporting a POC artists community, not just producing an event 

Curating a high quality and accessible program 

BlackStar’s core programs include:

BlackStar Film Festival


Many Lumens podcast 

Philadelphia Filmmaker Lab

Seen, journal of film and visual culture

William and Louise Greaves Filmmaker Seminar

Year-round programs 


BlackStar is currently looking for a Public Programs Manager to serve as an instrumental steward of BlackStar’s artistic vision and help shape the direction of programs designed to serve our regional and international communities. Specifically, the Public Programs Manager will contribute to the development, implementation and management of BlackStar Film Festival panels and parties, public programs taking place at BlackStar’s offices, and partnership programs with external partners year-round. We are seeking a thoughtful, creative individual with producing and/or broad arts administration experience. Practical experience with film production or special events production would also be helpful. This position is full-time and reports to both the Chief Executive & Artistic Officer and Festival Director. 

The ideal candidate should have a strong interest in uplifting the work of Black, Brown and Indigenous communities, in addition to being resourceful, able to think quickly and improvise, and meet deadlines. Candidates should also espouse a keen interest in justice and access.

Additional preferences include strong producing and interpersonal communication skills and an ability to work well independently and with a team. Candidates should have interests in BlackStar’s three key areas—filmmaking, visual arts, and media arts—as well as a demonstrated commitment to intersectional feminism and social justice.  


The Public Programs Manager is responsible for working together with the Chief Executive & Artistic Officer, Festival Director and other consultants on the development and implementation of programs designed for the public. The role is responsible for liaising with artists, keeping program production on schedule, coordinating with venues, and other ad-hoc projects as needed. The Public Programs Manager will also serve as principal coordinator for events that take place in space, which will be shared with other BlackStar program staff.

The Public Programs Manager needs to be based in Philadelphia and able to work from BlackStar’s offices. All BlackStar employees are expected to be available for meetings and on email during East Coast business hours (approximately 9:00am to 6:00pm). Black, Brown, and Indigenous producers, artists, and cultural workers who share BlackStar’s values are particularly encouraged to apply. 

As with all presenting arts organizations, this position may require some weekend work hours on occasion. It is also expected that full-time staff make themselves fully available the week of the annual festival (typically the first week of August).

General Responsibilities

In partnership with CEAO and Festival Director, develops both annual and long-term programming goals that address BlackStar’s mission and institutional objectives, which clearly define BlackStar’s place in the cultural landscape locally, nationally, and globally.

Helps produce and public-facing programs (Festival Panels & Parties, Year-Round Programs, Partner Programs).

Negotiates artist and partner relationships and contractual agreements; Manage programming research, timelines and schedules.

Helps establish and manage the overall Programming budget, including both expenditure and earned revenue goals.

Works in close partnership with Operations team to ensure effective and timely execution of public-facing programs and productions.

Develops and implements all aspects of public-facing programs including virtual programs in collaboration with CEAO and Festival Director and guest producers.

Builds relationships with artists, community partners, and venues.

Serves as a central point of contact for public program participants such as panelists as well as teaching artists, pop-up vendors, venues, partners and other external stakeholders in BlackStar’s programs.

Liaises with contractors, curators, facilitators, staff, interns and/or filmmakers to set tasks, deadlines, and overall schedules. Keep everybody on-task and aware of deadlines.

Performs research on artists and exhibition platforms.

Oversees writing of text for marketing and public materials in conjunction with the Communications team.

Works with community partners and develops community engagement strategies.

Fields requests from external partners and teaching artists.

Builds timelines in collaboration with CEAO and project manages all tasks related to those deadlines.

Develops operations plan in collaboration with Operations Director including staffing, catering, accessibility, and ticket sales.

Works with Business Director to ensure contractors, instructors and artists receive contracts, payments and reimbursements in a timely manner.

Facilitates programming calls to assist presenters with developing their respective sessions.

Co-creates program information with all presenters and compiles all relevant information into program welcome packets.

Tracks and reports attendance numbers for all year-round public programs.

Attends weekly staff meetings and other organizational convenings, as appropriate

Represents BlackStar in a professional capacity at the local, regional, and national level.

Uses and continually develops leadership skills.

Attends conferences and training as required to maintain proficiency and to grow in capacity.

Maintains extensive internal documentation so that all teams are aware of program processes, procedures, and timelines.

Performs other related duties as assigned.


Keeps abreast of film programming decisions and themes to determine the final slate of festival panels and parties.

Collaborates with Festival Director and CEAO to determine festival schedule and programming slate.

Serves as program point of contact for on-the-ground seasonal festival staff, primarily the Party Producer and Panel Coordinator.

Provides on-the-ground support at festival events where needed.


Works with CEAO to identify and implement public programs for exhibitions including receptions, talks, workshops, performances, and parties.

Generates full slate of exhibition public programs through research and joint ideation with CEAO and programs staff.

Supports in managing scheduling and catering.


Takes lead on planning festival “red carpet” premiere.

Coordinates “friends and family” screening and celebration.

Collaborates with Artist Programs Manager on wrap party.


For this role, BlackStar seeks an experienced professional who will serve as a leader on the Programs Team with an emphasis on public-facing programs. BlackStar has a tradition of being comfortable with ambiguity; it experiments and innovates and then follows up with reflection. Therefore, the Public Programs Manager must be astute enough to ask the right questions to keep BlackStar adaptive.  

While no single candidate will embody every quality, a successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:  

Informed passion for BlackStar’s mission, vision, and values. A demonstrated commitment to working for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice.  

Outstanding written and oral communication skills. A communication style that is direct.  

Demonstrated experience in event production, film programming, visual arts or performing arts curating, artist management, or cultural organizing.

Excellent strategic and intellectual abilities and analytic skill coupled with pragmatism and a roll-up-one’s-sleeves attitude. Sound judgment. A willingness to innovate and learn from mistakes made along the way.  

Knowledge of marketing strategies, and the ability to consider such as a standard part of programming.

Strong computer skills, including knowledge of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook;

Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills. 

An ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines, as well as other timely demands of the Public Programs Manager position. 

Impeccable integrity, honesty, and a reputation for a balanced, non-ideological approach. A willingness to challenge conventional thinking coupled with the ability to collaborate effectively, listen well, and bridge philosophies.  

An understanding of filmmaking and/or visual arts landscapes, and of the history of BIPOC participation in said fields.  

Entrepreneurial spirit and drive. An eye for creative, strategic opportunities tied to a commitment to accountability and results.  

Experience working comfortably and effectively with well-known and highly visible individuals across a broad spectrum of industries, possessing the ability to work efficiently and exercise discretion.

An outgoing, open, and optimistic personality. Tenacity, pragmatism, high energy, patience, and good humor.  

Ability to work independently and as part of a team. 


The salary will be $62,500. BlackStar’s benefits package includes but is not limited to 100% subsidized medical, dental, and vision coverage, flexible spending account (FSA) card, matched retirement contribution, SEPTA pass or bicycle maintenance, unlimited paid time off and public holidays, and reimbursements for home office utilities. 

We are currently in a hybrid model of remote work and office work options with some in person activities — advised by, but generally going beyond CDC and state level safety guidelines.


We seek to have a Public Programs Manager in place by December 1, 2022. 

Applicants should be legally able to work in the United States and based in the Philadelphia area. We currently have a hybrid work model which allows employees to work at home or in the office as needed. This is subject to change based on the safety demands of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Applications should be submitted through this form. Complete applications will require a single .pdf which includes a resume, one page cover letter, and writing addendum. Applications must be received by September 23, 2022. All applications will be kept confidential. Make sure the .pdf is labeled with your name and the job title (e.g., “Miltona Cade – Public Programs Manager”.  

The writing addendum should include your response to one (1) of the following prompts (your answer should be a single paragraph of no more than 250 words):  

Please imagine you could build your own museum: what would be its mission and where would it be located? Who do you imagine attending and what would be in its collection?

Tasked with creating a public conversation between two artists of different disciplines, who would you choose and what would you want them to discuss?

Please share which musician or visual artist you most wish would become a film director and why?

Applications that fail to include the addendum or follow instructions will not be considered.  

BlackStar Projects is committed to the principles of equal opportunity employment at every level without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity characteristics or expression, age, non-job-related disability, or political affiliation.   

Download a PDF version.

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Public Programs Manager


BlackStar is currently looking for a Public Programs Manager to serve as an instrumental steward of BlackStar’s artistic vision and help shape the direction of programs designed to serve our regional and international communities. This position is full-time and reports to both the Chief Executive & Artistic Officer and Festival Director.