Isabel Moura Mendes

Film Programme Manager

A new recruit to the Film Team, Isabel came on board in January 2019, through a professional development opportunity, to cover Jemma Desai's Film Programme Manager role for 6 months while Jemma undertakes a Clore Fellowship. She looks after programmes in the Middle East & North Africa and across Sub Saharan Africa, as well as leading our Scottish relationships.

Alongside her time at British Council she continues as one of the lead programmers for the London-based African film festival, Film Africa. In addition to curating the festival’s overall programme as well as specific film strands, Isabel also acts as one of the main hosts, facilitating the encounter between African filmmakers, their audiences and their peers in the UK. In 2015, Isabel curated the Film Africa/BFI Industry Forum entitled ‘Digital Africa: A New Me on TV’.

In the last eight years Isabel has developed practice in African & Lusophone cinema curation, namely programming for festivals such as Africa in Motion (Edinburgh), Film Africa (London), and Africa Mostra-se (Lisbon). She has attended important African film platforms such as FESPACO (Ouagadougou), ZIFF (Zanzibar), Luxor African Film Festival (Egypt), and Afrikamera (Berlin). Isabel has been working with Film Africa since 2013.

Before starting with the Film team, Isabel managed Momentum – the international delegate programme delivered by British Council in partnership with Creative Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh, which, since 2011, has brought over 700 international delegates to Edinburgh. The aim is to encourage curators, creative entrepreneurs, funders, media professionals, officials, producers and programmers to embark in new international partnerships, as well as investment in and collaboration with Edinburgh’s festivals and the wider arts sector in Scotland.

Isabel has a background in journalism and media, having collaborated with various cross-arts, film training and international arts exchange programmes across the US, Europe and the African continent. She holds an MA in Arts & Cultural Management (distinction) from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she is based.

Isabel is fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish and French.

Specialism at British Council: Programmes in Middle East & North Africa, Sub Saharan Africa; Scotland.

Joined British Council in: 2014

Best thing about working on British Council Film Team: How passionate, dedicated and down to earth the team is.

Career highlight so far: ...the best is still to come.

Favourite British film of all time: Adeyemi Michael’s hard-hitting documentary Sodiq

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