How do you manage several major city-wide events a year and ensure they run like clockwork with just a small handful of people?
The secret for the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) is excellent teamwork and communication, say executive director Roger Garcia and finance and operations director Jannie Ma.
The society organises events such as the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Asian Film Awards, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum, the Summer International Film Festival, and the Jockey Club Cine Academy.
The society is now hiring more than 30 people on short-term contracts to prepare for three flagship events to be held in March and April next year.
“Teamwork is the basic quality we require all staff to have,” Garcia says. “As the society is a relatively small set-up, every part is interlinked. What each member of staff does will affect other people, so communication and teamwork are essential.
“Working as a team also helps to strengthen problem-solving. Our three flagship events occur at around the same time, and in the fast-paced work environment which results, there can be many unexpected problems. Working together, rather than in isolation, is the best way these problems can be overcome.”
Most of the short-term contracts will be for four to five months. This short period of time will still give a good view into the events-management industry, as well as the chance to see some great movies.
Another attraction is the society’s receptive and approachable management style, which welcomes creativity. “We encourage staff to express their ideas and suggestions in an open-minded management culture,” Garcia says.
The society is looking for a business development manager who has good selling and presentation skills, is familiar with writing sponsorship proposals, and can provide good after-sales service. The right person should be familiar with the society’s event products.
The hospitality team is looking for a manager and three officers, who will be responsible for inviting overseas guests, arranging travel and accommodation, and preparing itineraries. They will work closely with public relations firms, travel agencies and hotels.
“It would be good if candidates have a background related to travel, hotel or events management,” Ma says. “However, good interpersonal, communication and organisational skills are most important for the job.”
Staff in events, marketing and public relations positions will coordinate with functional teams within the HKIFFS, as well as its external PR agency, event-production company and design house, the press, and other event participants.
They will organise press conferences, red-carpet opening ceremonies, gala premieres, presentation ceremonies, lunch gatherings and parties.
In the operations and production departments, staff coordinate with ticketing-service providers and event venues, compile sales reports, and arrange film censorship and subtitle projections. Operations staff cooperate closely with programming, marketing and events staff, as well as event venues and external vendors, while production staff help to ensure the smooth running of awards ceremonies. The jobs of both teams underline the importance of communication and teamwork.
“Having hands-on experience in large-scale event management is essential for events such as the Asian Film Awards. Good knowledge of the film industry and good relationships with film-industry professionals are also a plus,” Garcia says.
The society is also looking for an editorial officer, a very busy position involving a great variety of duties. These include supporting the programming and editorial teams through research, proofreading, co-ordinating with design and printing companies, and monitoring the progress of freelance editors.
Candidates should possess good language skills in written English and Chinese.
More than 50 per cent of applicants say they like films, though this is not a deciding factor. “It’s the skill set for the particular position that is paramount, not just an interest in film,” Garcia says.
About one-third of the society’s permanent positions are filled by those who previously worked with them on short-term contracts.