“The Cultural Cinema Exhibition programme is one of a kind. The course is unparalleled in its breadth and content and features a high calibre of speakers and facilitators. Listening and questioning these professionals, as well as the wide range of people also participating, was a brilliant opportunity you would be hard pressed to experience in one week anywhere else. All of these factors, and of course the brilliant ICO team, contribute to the great reputation and status the course enjoys within the industry. The course has had a profound effect on my professional development. I left feeling more confident, creative and ambitious, with a notebook and head full of ideas, issues I wanted to address and goals I wanted to achieve. It has helped clarify my role, improve communication and planning across departments and, I hope, add to the overall health of the wider organisation. It is a rare luxury to be able to spend a week interrogating ideas, issues and opportunities with skilled, passionate people, and an experience I am hugely grateful for.”
Claire Stewart, Deputy Communications Manager, Watershed
"The ICO Cultural Cinema Exhibition course was a vital part in my career development, not only providing me with extremely useful information about programming and publicity for independent cinemas, but also giving me the confidence to put a lot of this teaching into practice. This lead to me being able to take on more responsibilities at work, gain a promotion into a management position and also provide more support to the cinema so the organisation could develop as a whole.”
Chris Scott, Marketing Manager, Tyneside Cinema
“The Cultural Cinema Exhibition course gives participants a rare opportunity to work together creatively outside of the workplace. It encouraged me to think strategically about exhibition and distribution, offering realistic ways to connect with national initiatives. Time spent with other professionals was complemented by the range of expertise offered from respected industry professionals, particularly the ICO team themselves. The course gave me valuable insight and reaffirmed where I was taking the right approach and what I could improve upon in the future. I left feeling fully equipped with fresh ideas, new contacts and enhanced knowledge.”
Hana Lewis, Exhibition and Education Project Manager, The Film Agency for Wales
"It was because I'd attended the two-week intensive Introduction to Cultural Cinema Exhibition in 2006 that I was approached to do some programming at Side Cinema in Newcastle upon Tyne. Since then I started working in film festivals, and have been on a number of ICO courses over the past few years. I've always found them really informative, and a great chance to meet lots of other people working in the same field. I've learnt a lot from the guest speakers, but have increasingly found that you can also learn a lot from the other attendees, who all have different experiences but a lot of shared concerns. In 2007 I attended the ICO's Screening Artists' Moving Image course at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, which was really useful. Two years later I was appointed as Director of the same Festival and invited the ICO back to run the same training day as part of the 2009 Festival. Again it was well attended, with people coming from the Arts Council, Edinburgh Film Festival, and even a festival in Bulgaria (!), and we had some really good feedback. I look forward with working with them again later this year."
Melanie Iredale, Festival Director, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival
"The Cultural Cinema Exhibition course is brilliantly structured and run, and gave me an invaluable insight into the ins and outs of programming cinemas. It also gave a real understanding of how the industry, distribution, exhibition, festivals etc actually work and the networking there was fantastic as well. Overall, the course was a great stepping stone to my career in the industry."
Alex Stolz, Distribution and Exhibition Executive, BFI
"Coming out of university I had all this different experience but didn't know how to package it and I didn't really know much about how the industry worked. I was working freelance for festivals and got so tired of making no progress! I found out about the ICO Cultural Cinema Exhibition course and it was like a beacon of light - finally I'd found someone organising exactly what I'd been looking for. Since then, I've become Programmer at City Screen and the rest is history."
Madeleine Mullett, Programmer, City Screen
"I was coming to the end of a festival I was working at and there was a job coming up at Curzon Cinemas in the events team, but I just felt that I wasn't ready for it. So I worked at a cinema and then took the ICO's Cultural Cinema Exhibition course and, when the same job came up again later, I applied and without a doubt my CV jumped to the top of the pile because I did the course. It's recognised by people in the industry - it's a standard and a brand that the industry trusts."
Michael Pierce, Marketing and Publicity Executive, Curzon Cinemas
"Attending the Cultural Cinema Exhibition course in 1998 was hugely valuable in that it gave a really thorough grounding in the way exhibition and distribution works in the UK. The most useful thing about it was that the speakers on the course came from both commercial and independent backgrounds so that you received a very balanced view of the way the industry works. I'm sure that having the course on my CV helped me get my job in the Exhibition Development Unit at the BFI, my job at the Film Council as Policy Executive and the Exhibition Office job at (LFVDA/Film London) as well as my current job!!!"
Pip Eldridge, Chief Executive, First Light
"I was already working in my current position as Head of Public Events, but the chance to work and debate with fellow programmers over an intense and creative period has given me extra confidence in curating specialised programmes and seasons. The course also had a significant impact on helping me to understand our audience better and how to reach them, and it helped to ‘shape’ our programmes into accessible and more attractive packages. For example, the way we structured last year's inaugural Short Film Summer School was very much influenced by what I learned at the ICO programming course. The event saw over 1,500 individual ticket sales over four days."
Verena von Stackelberg, Head of Public Events, Curzon Cinemas
“The ICO Cultural Cinema Exhibition Course hugely boosted my knowledge and credibility as Wimbledon Film Club’s new Bookings Manager (the club exhibits independent movies locally at both the hmv/CURZON and the Odeon). I learned the reality behind the perceived glamour and power of distributors, about the down-to-earth practice of selecting films for distribution and marketing, and, more importantly, about how to speak to distributors without (as a mere club volunteer) appearing to be naive. I also learned about independent cinema exhibition: availability of films and the importance of research, the conceiving and onward planning of seasons, celebrations and retrospectives, the methods by which audience numbers are maximized and the importance of presenting and introducing films in ways that add to the total cinema experience. All this (and much more besides) has proved invaluable to me in my key club duties, which require direct dealing with both distributors and cinemas (often at senior levels) and which involve the fostering and development of prosperous and fruitful relations with local audiences. The Cultural Cinema Exhibition course is highly regarded amongst professionals in the business, and extremely beneficial to anyone seeking to further their career prospects in cinema.”
Mike Gould, Wimbledon Film Club
"The Cultural Cinema Exhibition Course offered me an excellent opportunity to look at the nuts and bolts of cinema exhibition and distribution in the UK. From PR and marketing to programming and the issues and opportunities surrounding digital projection, every component of the course felt relevant. The opportunity to meet and learn from some of the main players working in cinema has proved invaluable, and greatly aided my career trajectory! My role at Barbican involves working across an incredibly diverse mix of film, ranging from new release cinema to repertory programming, documentary and major annual festivals – the ICO course certainly gave me some of the tools to understand and market to the wide-ranging cinema audiences of today."
Rob Baker, Cinema Marketing Manager, Barbican
"The wide range of speakers that the ICO provided, from PR representatives, to festival directors, to commercial programmers, to projectionists, was an incredible overview of the UK cinema industry. The course is essential for anyone working in the various areas of cinema exhibition within the UK whether it be running festivals or developing alternative audiences within the regions."
Philip Ilson, Director, London Short Film Festival
"After leaving University I was at a loss to do. I'd studied Psychology but this more through academic curiosity than a burning desire to be a psychologist and so I found myself in a job selling tickets and popcorn at my favourite independent Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh. There my casual love of cinema flourished into a full blown obsession and I began to do more and more; from distributing leaflets and flyers to University campuses to writing the monthly film club news. But I was restless and didn't feel I was fulfilling my potential. Then I read about the Cultural Cinema Exhibition Course and I knew it was something I needed to do. I applied on a wing and prayer and was luckily granted place and a bursary. It proved to be a fantastic course that covered everything you could possibly wish to know about the sector including programming, distribution, education, technical aspects and marketing. It provided a great overview of an industry I'd fallen in love with and provided me with the focus to pursue a career in the industry. Within 4 months I'd landed a job in the Press and Marketing Department of Momentum Pictures. 7 years later and I've worked across a fantastic range of organisations around the world from distribution companies to film festivals, from PR agencies to funding bodies. If it hadn't been for the Cultural Cinema Exhibition Course I might still be pulling tickets and serving popcorn."
Sambrooke Scott, Market Development Executive, Creative Scotland
"I absolutely loved loved loved the course! I didn't want it to end and at the same time, I was so enthusiastic that I couldn't wait to get home at night to work on the course project. I found the two weeks inspiring, interactive, educational, and extremely interesting; broad yet focused, practical and informative. In all, it made me feel alive and I totally fell in love with the idea of film programming. I loved the location and course content which, as well as programming, covered topics ranging from film marketing and distribution, to highlighting differences between commercial and independent cinema. I also really enjoyed listening to all the speakers and indeed felt inspired by Catherine and Robin's enthusiasm. A BIG BIG THANK YOU. The course was very helpful in giving me an insight into the world of cinema and indeed the arts. Having dipped my toe in the world of arts played a part in encouraging me to apply for my present job at the Barbican."
Layla Moosavi, Business Development Manager, Barbican