Portugal – FEST Film Festival

FIST 434 or FIPR 469 | 3 credits

About the Program

This course is led by William Brown & Mila Zuo, Faculty of Arts

  • Dates:  May 2, 2023 – June 30, 2023
  • Travel dates: Approx June 19 – June 26, 2023
  • Format: Hybrid
  • Locations visited: Vancouver, Espinho, Portugal
  • Approximate program fees: $2000.00 – $2500.00 (reduced to $1700) (plus tuition and flights)
  • Funding: 50%-100% of program fees and flight costs will be covered for qualifying Arts students (Vancouver).  Other qualifying students will receive a $1,000 Go Global Award We encourage students who are not eligible for the ARA funding to apply for the Global Pathfinder Award. See Program Fees and Costs for more details
About the Course                                                                                                               

The two courses running in partnership with the FEST Film Festival provide a scholarly introduction to film festivals and their role in contemporary global film culture. In particular, they take students to the FEST Film Festival in Espinho, Portugal, where they will be able to experience first-hand how a festival runs – not just in terms of seeing the films that are selected and screened, but also in terms of how festivals connect with and help to transform local, as well as virtual, spaces. Students will in particular be able to benefit from and to study numerous workshops by leading film specialists at FEST, as well as to enjoy guest lectures from FEST programmers. Ideally suited (but by no means limited) to film students, this will enable them to learn about not just films as texts, but also about how curation and programming themselves play crucial roles in bringing films and other aspects of film culture together. The courses will also enable students to think about how to develop audiences and to network at a film festival. In this way, the courses will help anyone interested in filmmaking, curation and/or programming as a career, as well as anyone interested in the wider film and other media industries. Starting with several pre-festival classes – offered online and in-person – concerning the history and politics of programming and curation, the bulk of the studies will then take place at FEST itself, with the students’ documentation and analysis of the festival forming the focus of their assignments.

Experience in the Field

In Vancouver students will attend 4 lectures and seminars over the course of two weeks (May 22 – June 5). Once in Espinho, students will each day attend not just film screenings, but also masterclasses, workshops and other events involving leading professionals from the world of film and media (see below for a list of recent workshops).  Students will also convene once each day for a review/lecture session in the FESTival Village, with one of these sessions including a guest lecture and chance to talk with one of Fest’s lead programmers. Further to this, students will be able to attend the Pitching Forum to see hopeful filmmakers pitching to professionals (they can also apply to take part in this if they meet the pre-festival deadline, but acceptance is not guaranteed since this is a professional pitching forum). At the festival’s Directors’ Hub, Industry Meetings and Networking Dinners, students will also be able to talk with the visiting filmmakers as well as numerous others. There will also be a screening of films by UBC students in the Filmmakers’ Corner during the festival. Students can expect to have activities from 10am – 8pm while in Espinho (June 19 – June 26).

Masterclasses in 2022 were run by, inter alia, Gael García Bernal (Actor, Amores Perros, The Motorcycle Diaries), Gaspar Noé (Director, Enter the Void, Vortex, Irréversible), Pete Travis (Director, Vantage Point, Dredd), Tomas Eskilsson (Producer, Another Round, The Worst Person in the World), Barry Alexander Brown (Editor, BlackKklansman, Do The Right Thing), Peter Webber (Director, Girl With a Pearl Earring, Hannibal), Jeff Pope (Screenwriter, Philomena, Pierrepoint), Melanie Oliver (Editor, Les Misérables, The Danish Girl), Polly Duval (Producer, Notes on a Scandal, Brooklyn), Mark Ulano (Production Sound Mixing, Titanic, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Will Files (Sound supervisor, Stranger Things, The Batman), John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone (Sound editors, Bohemian Rhapsody), Temple Clark (Storyboard artist, The Imitation Game, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Cyrille Aufort (Composer, A Royal Affair, Splice), Garry Brown (VFX Supervisor, Paddington, Paddington 2, Baby Driver), Jo Monteiro (Casting director).

Meanwhle, masterclasses in recent years have been given by, among others,  Asghar Farhadi (2x Academy Award-winning director, A Separation), Melissa Leo (Academy Award-winning actress, The Fighter), Ed Lachman (Academy Award nominee DOP, The Virgin Suicides), Béla Tarr (Director, Sátántango, Werckmeister Harmonies), Ritesh Batra (Director, The Lunchbox, Café Regular, Cairo), Fernando Trueba (Director, Belle Époque, The Girl of Your Dreams), Joe Walker (Editor, Blade Runner 2049, Arrival), Allan Starski (Art Director, Schindler’s List, The Pianist), Christopher Hampton (Screenwriter, Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement), Roman Coppola (Producer/Screenwriter, Isle of Dogs, Moonrise Kingdom), Iain Smith (Producer, Children of Men, Mad Max: Fury Road), Finola Dwyer (Producer, An Education, Brooklyn), Stephen Warbeck (Composer, Shakespeare in Love, Billy Elliot), Stuart Dryburgh (DOP, The Piano, The Painted Veil), Tom Stern (DOP, The Hunger Games, Gran Torino), Eugenio Caballero (Art Director, Roma, Pan’s Labyrinth), Martin Walsh (Editor, V for Vendetta, Wonder Woman).

Eligibility Requirements
General Global Seminar requirements

To participate in a Global Seminar, students must: 

  • Be in good-standing in their faculty (I.e. not be under academic or non-academic discipline) 
  • Have full-time status in the year leading up to the Global Seminar 
  • Have completed 2nd year requirements before the start of the program (i.e. 3rd or 4th year standing) 
  • Have at least a 70% academic average in your last full-time academic session before applying 
  • Maintain a 70% academic average leading up to the program 
  • Meet any program specific requirements listed below including pre-requisites before participating 

Final selection will be done by the lead faculty program directors. Spots in the program may be limited. 

Students who wish to participate in the summer after graduating may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.

Program-specific requirements
  • This is an interdisciplinary program: All that are interested in working in the film industry are welcome! 
Program Fees and Costs
Approximate program fees: $2000.00 - $2500.00* (reduced to $1700)

ARA funding will offset 50%-100% of the program fee + flight costs for Arts students from the Vancouver campus.  

*The final fee depends on the number of students in the seminar. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program. 

Funding: This is an Arts Research Abroad (ARA) funded program. The ARA program aims to ensure that upper-level international research courses are accessible to academically qualified students, and that scholarly preparation and aspiration rather than financial means are the deciding factors for student participation. Funded by a generous gift from donors, the Faculty of Arts, and Go Global, the ARA program sponsors advanced research-intensive courses involving international travel.  For Arts students at the Vancouver campus, 50% of the program cost will be offset for academically qualified students; and up to 100% of the cost may be offset for academically qualified students who demonstrate financial need (as determined by Enrolment Services).

Students are responsible for covering the costs of tuition, incidental travel costs, visa/passport fees, etc.

Students can only be considered for one major International Learning Award throughout their degree e.g. ARA (Arts Research Abroad) funded Global Seminars, Undergraduate Research Conference. 

Program fees include:  
  • Accommodation  
  • Excursions and entrance fees  
  • Some group meals  
  • On-site guest lectures
  • The Go Global Fee ($415)
Program fees do not include:  
  • Flights*  
  • UBC tuition for credits  
  • Visa/country entrance fees  
  • Health or travel insurance  
  • Personal spending money*  

*Some examples of incidentals are: personal mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the Program Fee, immunizations, Visas, etc.  

Travel to Portugal is a separate cost.  You are responsible for arranging your own travel. You should not book your flight until you are notified to book.                               


There are various options/possibilities for accommodation, but the aim, subject to confirmation, is for students to staying in shared apartments at the Hotel Solverde in Espinho, Portugal. Should students wish to stay elsewhere, they are welcome independently to arrange their accommodation.

Application Deadline 

Tuesday December 13, 2022 (11:59pm PST)

How to Apply 

Students apply through the Go Global Gateway. Go to “search experiences” from the top menu, search “GSP,” then press “apply search.” Scroll down to the program you wish to apply to and select Apply for “Summer” to initiate an application.

After the deadline, students’ applications will be reviewed by Go Global and the faculty program directors. You may be asked to participate in an interview as part of the selection process.

Global Seminars Refund Policy

To withdraw from your program, you must contact Go Global by email to request a withdrawal.  You will not be charged until you officially accept your spot in the program.  Refunds cannot be issued after the program fee is charged to your SSC account. 

In the case of withdrawal, Go Global Award funding must be returned in full.

If you have questions, please connect with your Go Global advisor or email Go Global at go.global@ubc.ca.

Student Safety Abroad and Pre-Departure Policy

UBC is committed to preparing students for safe and successful international experiences. In order to achieve this, any student participating in a Go Global Program must complete the following:

Failure to successfully complete these and any other requirements may result in withdrawal from the Go Global Program.

We encourage you to read the Global Affairs Canada travel report for your destination country before applying: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.

Global Seminars and COVID-19

Students and faculty are required to comply with the entry requirements of the host country, regulations of transportation carriers, and any local public health orders in the destination. These rules may require COVID-19 vaccination for entry or to participate in certain program activities, testing requirements, masking requirements, and/or isolation in case of infection. Alternatively, where isolation due to infection is not required by local health authorities and students are sharing accommodations isolation may be a challenge. We encourage you to review local requirements before applying and before departure. Check out the Global Affairs Canada Advisory (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories) under Entry Requirements for your Global Seminar destination to learn more.  Keep in mind that program conditions can vary and these rules can change before or during your trip.

Once it becomes closer to the departure date, the group will be informed of all updated local requirements and COVID-19 safety plans for the Global Seminar.


If you are considering applying for a Go Global program and identify with having a disability or pre-existing health condition (mental or physical) which could impact your participation, or if you require academic accommodations, you can contact the following offices and meet with an Accessibility Advisor before the start of the program:

Contact Go Global
In-person and Virtual Drop-in advising hours
  • Tuesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Go Global offers both in-person and virtual drop-in advising through Zoom during the times listed above.

Please use Go Global's new Ask Us Webform and we will respond to your inquiry.