1-2-1 Advisors Scheme

The Advice & Experience Advisory Scheme gives our Members access to high level industry experience on a broad range of topics.
1-2-1 Advisors Scheme

The Advice & Experience Advisory Scheme gives our Members access to high level industry experience on a broad range of topics.

Film Hub NWC is collaborating with Film Hubs – North , Central EastScotland, London, South East and South West & West Midlands to provide Hub Members with access to free 1-2-1 specialist advice on a wide range of areas.

The Advice & Experience (A&E) Advisory Scheme enables Members access to high level industry experience on topics such as effective marketing and introductory programming.

We’ve recruited a group of sector specialists from across the country who are available to book for half day 1-2-1 sessions. Sessions can take place on the phone, skype or face to face and will be followed up by a report covering key next steps for your projects. All advisers will be available to members from other areas if appropriate – please Contact Us to discuss.

If you need support with marketing plans to attract new audiences, completing funding applications, selecting films for a specialised season or improving your project evaluation the A&E scheme can help.

Email: alison.kennedy@homemcr.org for more info or to arrange an advisor session.

Below are the biographies of the advisers available for face to face meetings in our region, more info on the advisers from all regions can be found here:

Password: FAN1617

Our Advisors

Jay Arnold

Jay Arnold


Key Expertise: Bid-writing/Fundraising, Monitoring and Evaluation, Audience Development, Audience Engagement and Education, Working with Staff and Volunteers, Business Development, Marketing, Press, Public Speaking.

Jay worked at Sheffield’s independent cinema The Showroom from its opening in 1995 until 2003. He then joined the newly formed Regional Screen Agency Screen Yorkshire working with the region’s cinemas, film educationalists, film archives and film festivals. As national structures were re-organised in 2011 he became Head of Film Culture with Creative England from where he moved to the BFI in 2013 to work on the BFI Film Audience Network.

He left the BFI in October 2014 but retains links to FAN through freelance roles. Following a year at National Media Museum as Film Business Manager Jay is now Projects Director with Live Cinema UK.

Catherine Waddington

Catherine Waddington

Freelance Project Manager and Communications Specialist

Key Expertise: Audience Development, Marketing, Brand Management.

An experienced professional specialising in arts marketing and management, with more than 15 years in the cultural and events sectors. She trained in Business Management and has spent most of her career working in strategic communications and project management roles for a variety of organisations. This range of projects has been diverse in scale, with budgets ranging from £0 to £3million so she has developed the ability to be truly audience focussed while being able to understand and work within the wider business and operational context.

She is driven by developing creative partnerships to deliver communication strategies and has worked in Senior Management roles for more than 10 years with relationships being key to her success. Her core experience and interest is in brand management and the development creative and effective communications campaigns alongside strategic audience development. Now self-employed, She is currently working with Abandon Normal Devices delivering their Marketing & Communications. Previous roles include: Programme Manager for WE PLAY, the North West cultural legacy programme for London 2012; Marketing Manager for Imperial War Museum North, Roadshow Manager for London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, Brand Marketing Manager for Liverpool 2008, Events Executive for the London 2012 Olympic Bid team, Finance & Administration Manager for Greenwich & Docklands Festivals.

Melanie Iredale

Melanie Iredale

Deputy Director: Sheffield Doc/Fest

Key Expertise: Bid-writing/Fundraising, Income Generation, Programming, Audience Development, Audience Engagement and Education, Working with Staff and Volunteers, Business Development, Budgets and Financial Management, Marketing.

Melanie Iredale is a film curator and festival producer with experience of working in film exhibition and events across the North of England for the past ten years. Starting her career at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, Melanie went on to manage Northern Lights Film Festival in Newcastle-Gateshead, and then work as film programme director at the Scandinavian mixed arts event, NICE-Festival in Liverpool, while freelance work included project coordination for AV Festival and Northern Film & Media.

In 2009, Melanie was appointed as director of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival on the English-Scottish Border, leading the festival artistically and strategically, and responsible for a dramatic growth in audience numbers, national profile and commissions over the past five years. Work commissioned by Melanie at Berwick has gone on to be exhibited at festivals and galleries across the UK, to New York, Hong Kong and beyond. Ben Russell’s Greetings to the Ancestors, co-commissioned by Melanie as part of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in 2014 was recently awarded the Tiger Shorts Award at Rotterdam International Film Festival. From 2010, Melanie was brought in to work with Sheffield Doc/Fest on a freelance basis as a development consultant, raising funds for arts and public-facing projects.

In November 2014, Melanie started a new job as Deputy Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest – one of the top three documentary festivals and marketplaces in the world. Melanie’s role involves overseeing the film programme, industry conference and marketplace teams.

Jen Skinner

Jen Skinner

Audience Development Manager, Reel Solutions

Key Expertise: Programming, Audience Development, Audience Engagement and Education.

Jen Skinner loves film and is passionate about the magic of cinema. Having spent 14 years working in the creative sector, most of which has been based in cinemas, she has developed partnerships with a wide range of organisations and venues including the BFI and ICO. She has worked with diverse audiences through programming film festivals, screenings and live events and has worked as an educator in formal and non-formal settings. From lecturing at degree level through to being a creative practitioner in gallery settings. Jen has delivered and devised workshops for students as part of their syllabus and engaged families with gallery and museum collections.

As manager of Hebden Bridge Picture House and as the only full-time member of staff, she experienced just about every element there is to running a cinema. This included programming all films and live events, managing a team of 20 staff, dealing with marketing through to finances, health and safety and building management.

Jen started at the National Media Museum in 2009 as their Film Education Officer where she programmed and produced courses and events for adults, schools and colleges. She worked as part of the festival team on Bradford International Film Festival and Bradford Animation Festival which included programming and producing education events and screening submissions.

Jen recently joined the Reel Solutions team as their audience development manager and is looking forward to new projects and ways of working within the independent cinema sector. She helps to screen great films and foster a further interest in film through a wide range of learning opportunities. Her passion for the shared experience drives her to develop audiences for cinema, now and for the future.

Michael Wood

Michael Wood

Director: Minicine

Key Expertise: Programming, Audience Development, Marketing, Working with Staff and Volunteers.

Woody is a community film exhibitor, running the award-winning Minicine in Leeds and screening to audiences across West Yorkshire. In 2015, Minicine was named Cinema For All Film Society of the Year while also being awarded Best Marketing and Publicity as well as Best Film Programming for the second time.

With a passion for community cinema and film exhibition in general, Woody offers expertise in creative film programming, marketing on a shoe-string budget, building collaborative networks and audience development."

Woody has previously worked for Leeds International Film Festival, Scalarama and, most recently, Cinema For All.

Sam Meech

Sam Meech

Director: Re-Dock & A Small Cinema

Key Expertise: Bid-writing/fundraising, Programming, Audience development, Audience engagement and education, Working with staff and volunteers, Budgets and financial management, Marketing, Public speaking, Other (AV equipment and space design).

Sam Meech is a co-director of Re-Dock and founder of the Small Cinema project. Since 2008, Re-Dock have developed film events and spaces in Widnes, Kirkby, St Helens, Manchester and most recently in Liverpool, working with volunteers to create a permanent 56 seater cinema in a former Magistrate's Court.

Through these projects Sam has gained a range of skills and experience in space design, AV installation, design and branding, administrative tools for volunteer groups, and even the dark arts of programming.

More info on Re-Dock here:


Rachel Hayward

Rachel Hayward

Programme Manager (Film): HOME

Key Expertise: Programming, Audience Development, Audience Engagement and Education, Festivals, Cross-art form programming and audience development, Bid-writing/fundraising.

Rachel has over 12 years' experience in film exhibition, distribution, education and festivals. As a senior producer in HOME's Film team, she has responsibility for programming and producing seasons and festivals, developing our partnerships and managing the new release programme. Along with Jason Wood, HOME's Artistic Director: Film, she provides cultural leadership for Film Hub North West Central.

In addition to her role at HOME, she has lectured on a range of film and cultural topics, and from 2007 – 2011 worked at Manchester College where she devised and taught the Foundation Degree Visual Culture modules. She joined the Board of Trustees of the Alliance Française de Manchester in 2014, where she specialises in arts programming; growing income, audience development and audience reach.

George Whalley

George Whalley

Head of Finance: HOME

Key Expertise: Budgets and Financial Management, VAT, Business Development.

George qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte LLP in Manchester. Over 4 years he worked with a broad range of clients from TV stations to landfill operators.

He managed the audit of The University of Manchester before joining them in the role of Financial Accountant. Over 6 years with The University he undertook a number of roles across Financial and Management Accounting. He oversaw the financial side of the merger of two Schools in The University to create the largest School of The Arts in any University in the world. His last role at the University was Head of Finance for Alliance Manchester Business School.

In June 2015 George joined the newly opened HOME contemporary arts centre in Manchester, formed from the merger of the legacy organisations Cornerhouse (cinema and art gallery) and Library Theatre Company.

Bill Lawrence

Bill Lawrence

Executive Director: Reel Solutions

Key Expertise: Programming, Audience Development, Working with Staff and Volunteers, Business Development, Budgets and Financial Management, Public Speaking.

Bill set up Reel Solutions in 2006 to pursue his passion for supporting all forms of cinema. He was Creative Director  at  Showroom Cinema, Sheffield, one of the UK’s leading independent cinemas, and Head of Film at the National  Museum of Photography, Film & Television (later the  National Media Museum), Bradford. He set up three of the city’s  film festivals – Bradford International Film Festival, Bite the Mango Film Festival and Bradford Animation Festival.

In  2006 Bill was one of the key people to set up the partnership board of  Bradford: City of Film and was involved closely in achieving the UNESCO designation in 2009. Bill is chair of  All Animated  Limited  and is a director on the  Board of  Creative England  and previously  Screen Yorkshire.

Sylvia Bednarz

Sylvia Bednarz

Business and Marketing Director: Sheffield Doc/Fest

Key Expertise: Bid writing/fundraising, Income generation, Monitoring and evaluation, Working with staff and volunteers, Business development, Marketing, Press and Public speaking.

Sylvia is the Business and Marketing Director at Sheffield Doc/Fest – the UK’s largest and most exciting documentary and digital media festival. Prior to this, Sylvia worked in documentary film and TV production, beginning her media career as Production Coordinator on the feature documentary The Age of Stupid. She then joined Current TV as an Associate Producer, working alongside the commissioning editor to manage both single and series documentaries from development through to broadcast.

Before joining Doc/Fest, Sylvia was the Business Development Director and Film Festival Producer at digital short film platform The Smalls.

Clare Wilford

Clare Wilford

Freelance PR

Key Expertise: Press

Clare is one of the UK's leading film publicists, specialising in event and film festival PR. Clare gained over ten years' experience in arts marketing including Head of Press & PR at the Barbican Centre London, before moving into Film PR in 1992.

She has orchestrated press campaigns for many film festivals, venues and organizations including: Channel 4 Television; Film London; Brief Encounters, Bristol; Borderlines Film Festival; BFI London Film Festival; Cinecity: Brighton Film Festival; Cambridge Film Festival; Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, and most recently Slapstick: Bristol Silent Comedy Festival.

Clare was Talent Manager for the Empire Film Awards, as well as Hospitality Co-ordinator for the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. She freelanced for leading film publicists Premier PR for over 10 years, handling press campaigns for features premiering at international festivals, as well as in UK distribution. From 2006-09 Clare lived in New Zealand where she worked as a PR consultant for the New Zealand Film Commission, since returning to the UK she has been based in the North East. She also currently sits on the Film Hub North Steering Committee.

Kathryn Penny

Kathryn Penny

Festivals Director and Film Business Manager: National Science and Media Museum​

Key Expertise: Working with Staff and Volunteers, Business Development.

Kathryn is the Festivals Director and Film Business Manager at National Science and Media Museum. During her 7 years at the museum, Kathryn has delivered 16 festivals ranging from 2 – 15 day events across multiple venues.

Kathryn heads the Widescreen Weekend and Yorkshire Games Festival in additional to
managing the contract with Picturehouse Cinemas who deliver the Museum’s cinema

Kathryn also oversees the rural and community cinema initiative Cine North, a project with
over 50 venues across Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Kathryn is best placed to advise on festival management, business development and rural and community cinema.

Jonny Tull

Jonny Tull


Key Expertise: Marketing, Programming, Bid-writing/Fundraising, Audience Development, Working with Diverse Audiences, Press.

Jonny has 15 years of experience as a programmer working in the independent cinema sector and has curated festivals, seasons and first run programmes –spanning specialised, mainstream, family, repertory and first run film. Throughout his marketing career he's managed publicity for thousands of films and special events using print, PR and social media. On a wider organisational level he's worked on branding/rebranding, web development and has launched several businesses and initiatives, including playing a key part in the major rebranding and relaunching of Tyneside Cinema.

As a senior-level manager he's been involved in devising business plans, led many audience development initiatives and been part of several major capital redevelopment projects. Alongside his on-the-job experience he has a degree in Business Administration, has served as an active member of the Arts Marketing Association and has taken leadership courses including those delivered by Common Purpose and the Theatrical Management Association.

He has a part-time teaching role at Newcastle University, is a Trustee of Queen’s Hall Hexham, and serves on the advisory board of Animex International Animation Festival at Teesside University.