Andrew Murphy

Director of Programming, Inside Out

Bachelor of Journalism, 1998

There were so many direct links to what I was taught at King’s, and of course, I would not have been considered for that job without my King’s degree.

A year at King’s led Andrew Murphy to play a role in redefining Canada’s LGBT landscape by showcasing the best in queer film with Inside Out.

Having completed a degree in anthropology at Saint Mary’s University straight out of high school, Andrew found himself still searching for the right career path. He had been drawn initially to physical anthropology fields such as archaeology, but by the third year of his undergrad, Andrew found himself gravitating more toward socio-cultural anthropology. Throughout his degree, he had been hosting a radio show at SMU and also writing for the school’s newspaper. Arts and culture, it seemed, was calling.

“I found I was more interested in people, in cultural dynamics,” says Andrew, “and I’d always been a music fan and reader of pop culture magazines and music publications like Billboard, as many of us are at 21 years old. So, my interest was piqued by the one-year Bachelor of Journalism program at King’s, which was for students, like me, who already had an undergraduate degree. I experienced a kind of clarity when I learned of that program at King’s.”

Andrew found his year at King’s to be what he called “a perfect intersection” of the academic and the practical; learning about theory but also gaining marketable skills. It all felt good, and right away. From his first few weeks of courses at King’s, Andrew started getting the feeling that he just might be able to do something he loved—and get paid for it.

A mentor steps in

After graduating from King’s, Andrew spent a year working part-time jobs and contracts when he spotted an advertisement for a four-days-a-week summer contract with the Atlantic Film Festival (AFF). As Andrew describes it, the job became “my first grown-up job,” and a job “that would change my life.” He cites the AFF Program Director at the time, Lia Rinaldo, as a key mentor.

“Working under Lia’s guidance, the first thing I realized was how much I was using the skills I had learned at King’s. I was amazed at the parallels between what I had learned in the classroom and what I was doing in this job. Not just lots of writing and copy editing but also describing how different stories are told, as was the case when I would write descriptions of the documentaries featured at the festival, which would be published in the festival guide, so this was yet one more facet of journalism I was able to explore. There were so many direct links to what I was taught at King’s, and of course, I would not have been considered for that job without my King’s degree.”

That first “grown-up job” would indeed shift the course of Andrew’s life: the following year he was hired full-time, and he would end up working with the Atlantic Film Festival for the next eleven years.

The critical role of connections and relationships

When Andrew felt it was time for a career change he saw that Inside Out, the highly lauded Toronto-based queer film festival, was hiring for a Director of Programming—and he knew the Executive Director there at the time, Scott Ferguson.

“The queer film festival community in Canada is a relatively small one,” says Andrew, “so you get to meet people in the industry at various conferences and at other film festivals around the country, so I was able to reach out personally to Scott about this position. I recall that when I saw the posting, the deadline had already passed by a day or two, but I reached out all the same. Scott replied, ‘Yes, please do apply, send me your resumé,’ so I think that speaks to the importance of developing relationships in your industry and getting to know people. In this case, it played a big part in my getting the job.”

The new opportunity came fast, too, with Andrew applying to Inside Out in December 2011 and starting in January 2012. Making arrangements with both Inside Out and the Atlantic Film Festival, Andrew actually worked both jobs that first year, so 2012 saw him traveling often between Toronto and Halifax, where he was able to help the AFF team in terms of the transition and making way for his successor. The following year, Andrew became a permanent resident of Toronto and, ever since, has been working with his Inside Out colleagues to bring Canadians the best in queer film and video from around the world.

“And to think this journey all began, with that decision to apply to King’s.”

Date updated: March 2021