Training Courses

Cultural Cinema Exhibition 2021 - online

24/06/2021 - 08/07/2021

Applications for access to the Cultural Cinema Exhibition 2021 programme are now closed
  • Do you know about and love film, but want to gain the practical skills and detailed knowledge to become a truly expert programmer?
  • Do you want to start a film club, run a community cinema or deliver a festival?
  • Do you want your CV to jump to the top of the pile for film jobs?
  • Do you work in film and want to develop the skills needed to deliver exciting and innovative programmes?
  • Do you want to know how to deliver specialist programmes or bring underrepresented groups into your cinema?

Cultural Cinema Exhibition (CCE) is essential training for anyone who wants to take their film career to the next level.

In the decade-plus history of the course, its alumni have achieved top jobs at the BFI, Picturehouse, Curzon Cinemas, Watershed, the Barbican and film festivals around the world.

Whether you currently work in cinema or festival programming, film curation, artists’ moving image, film education or specialist film, film marketing or audience development – or you want to in the future, this course is comprehensive, practical and will immeasurably boost your skills and knowledge.


24/06/2021 - 08/07/2021


£150 for three selected webinars & access to the Practical Programming online learning course (applications to the full access CCE programme are closed)

How is it taught?

We are delivering two versions of this edition:

CCE Webinars & Practical Programming OLC (£150)

With this package, you can access three selected webinars from the CCE course, as well as the full upcoming Practical Programming online learning course (OLC), due to launch in June 2021. The three webinars on offer are:

  • Marketing an independent releaseRocks case study with Alice Werdine, Marketing Executive at Altitude Films. On Thursday 24 June, 10:30-11:30
  • Audience development and independent cinema – Rio Cinema case study with Andrew Woodyatt, Marketing and Development Manager at Rio Cinema. On Thursday 1 July, 10:30-11:30
  • Programming archive film with Robin Baker, Head of Curator of BFI National Archive. On Thursday 8 July, 10:30-11:30

Full access (£800) – now closed

This is the traditional Cultural Cinema Exhibition experience. You will have access to every element of the course, including all presentations, webinars, screenings and networking sessions. You will also have the opportunity to have a one-to-one meeting with one of the speakers from the course.

Applications for access to the CCE 2021 programme are now closed. 

What topics does it cover? (Full access version)

Cultural Cinema Exhibition 2021 is taught through presentations and webinar panel discussions from industry experts; and includes access to exclusive online film screenings, peer discussion and networking opportunities.

Co-led by Catharine Des Forges (Director, ICO) and David Sin (Head of Cinemas, ICO), the full access course features a range of speakers with sessions focusing on:

  • Programming – Exploring both the commercial and curatorial sides
  • Distribution – Highlighting the role distributors play in the film value chain
  • Marketing – Understanding how marketing can help you do new and ambitious things
  • Festivals – Learning how important a part they play in the exhibition sector, and how to programme your own
  • Specialisms – How to create and build audiences for all kinds of films, such as programming for children and young audiences, archive film, artists’ moving image, short film and feminist cinema
  • The future of the UK film industry – What’s in store for the industry over the next few years?

You will learn:

  • How the film industry works; from key figures including producers, sales agents, programmers, exhibitors, digital distributors and more
  • How to market a film; from press campaigns to copy, from social marketing to traditional media
  • The technical aspects of film, so you can keep the magic of the big screen alive
  • How you can create and build audiences for archive film, artists’ moving image, international cinema, event cinema and alternative content
  • The key details of practical programming; negotiating, securing rights and understanding release windows

You will gain:

  • A solid understanding of audiences and their behaviours
  • A valuable network of peers based around the UK

Course programme (Full access version)

The core elements of the course will take place every Tuesday and Thursday for five weeks, starting from 15 June and ending on 15 July.

The preliminary schedule for this course is as follows (All course sessions take place from 10.30am – 12.30pm, and all webinars take place from 10.30am – 11.30am):

Week One

Tues 15 June (Course session)

  • Introduction to the UK film industry context
  • The independent exhibition sector
  • The practicalities of programming new releases

Speakers: Catharine Des Forges (ICO), David Sin (ICO), Jonny Courtney (ICO)

Thurs 17 June (Webinar)

  • Cinema exhibition panel and Q&A

Speakers: David Sin (ICO, Chair), Damian Spandley (Curzon), Iain McLeod (Empire Cinemas), Allison Gardner (Glasgow Film), Simon Ward (Palace Cinema, Broadstairs).

Week Two

Tues 22 June (Course session)

  • New release strategies for preview screenings
  • Distribution panel and Q&A

Speakers: Catharine Des Forges (ICO, Chair), Ray Ward (Paramount Pictures), Bryony Forde (Altitude Films), Delphine Lievens (Gower Street Analytics), Matt Smith (Lionsgate Films)

Thurs 24 June (Webinar)

  • Marketing an independent release – Rocks case study

Speakers: Alice Werdine (Altitude Films)

Week Three

Tues 29 June (Course Session)

  • Introduction to audience development for independent venues 

Speakers: Duncan Carson (ICO)

Wednesday 30 June (Course Session)

  • Prints and rights research

Speakers: Simon Duffy (BFI Southbank)

Thurs 1 July (Webinar)

  • Audience development and independent cinema (Rio Cinema case study)

Speakers: Andrew Woodyatt (Rio Cinema)

Week Four

Tues 6 July (Course Session)

  • Programming strategies for archive films
  • Press and PR for independent exhibition

Speakers: Catharine Des Forges (ICO), Wendy Mitchell (Screen International)

Thurs 8 July (Webinar)

  • Programming archive film

Speakers: Robin Baker (BFI National Archive)

Week Five

Tues 13 July (Course Session)

  • Programming for the widest range of audiences

Speakers: David Ellington (VS1 Productions), Lizzie Banks (Oska Bright), Anthony Andrews (We Are Parable)

Weds 14 July (Course Session)

  • Technical aspects of film exhibition
  • Virtual tour of NFT projection

Speakers: Dominic Simmons (BFI Southbank)

Thurs 15 July (Webinar)

  • Where do we go from here?
  • The challenges for independent exhibition

Speakers: Adrian Wootton (Film London), Eve Gabereau (Modern Films), Simran Hans (The Observer, Freelance writer), Mia Bays (Birds’ Eye View, BFI Film Fund)


Adrian Wootton

CEO, Film London and British Film Commission

Adrian Wootton is the Chief Executive of Film London, the agency charged with developing the screen industries in the capital, and the British Film Commission, the unit responsible for promoting the UK as the best place to produce feature films and high end television. Prior to becoming the Chief Executive of Film London in 2003, Adrian was Acting Director of the British Film Institute (BFI), in addition to having been the Director of the London Film Festival (LFF), the National Film Theatre (NFT), Head of BFI Exhibition and Director of the crime and mystery film festival, Crime Scene. Before his appointment to the BFI, he was founding Director of Broadway Media Centre in Nottingham and Director of the Bradford Playhouse & Film Theatre. Adrian is a Programme Advisor to the BFI London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and Noir in Fest, Milan. In 2012, Adrian received an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts and was appointed Visiting Professor of Film & Media and Norwich University of the Arts. In 2014 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from The University of East Anglia. Adrian is also a member of the London Mayor's Cultural Strategy Board, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA), the European Film Academy (EFA), the British Screen Advisory Council (BSAC), and a Board member of Creative Skillset's Crafts & Technical Skills Academy.

Allison Gardner

CEO, Glasgow Film

Allison Gardner is CEO at Glasgow Film. What began as a single screen cinema over 40 years ago has become Scotland’s most diverse and best publicly attended independent cinema in Scotland, with Glasgow Film Festival one of the top three film festivals in the UK. Glasgow Film is a national centre for film and moving image media where audiences and filmmakers experience and debate cultural practice and ideas through diverse, unique and quality programmes that transform the way people see the world, through film. Glasgow Film is: GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre), Glasgow’s year-round centre for film-lovers; Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) the launching pad for the best of international and Scottish cinema; Glasgow Youth Film Festival (GYFF) one of the most innovative youth film festivals in Europe; Film Hub Scotland, supporting a network of over 200 film exhibitors serving Scotland's diverse population; Glasgow Film’s Learning and Engagement programme integrated across all areas of Glasgow Film’s work. Allison joined Glasgow Film in 1993 as a Duty Manager and then began to work in the programme team eventually becoming Programme Director and Co-director of Glasgow Film Festival. She became the CEO in April. Additionally, Allison is a director of CinéFile a distribution company that releases widely different titles ranging from classic thriller, costume drama, youthful escapism, family comedy, to documentary films.

Andrew Woodyatt

Marketing & Development Manager, Rio Cinema

Andrew Woodyatt is a multi award winning film marketeer, having spent fifteen years in exhibition running multiplex cinemas, and then programming them for the UCI chain, then as Marketing Director at Picturehouse Cinemas, then spending twelve years in film distribution at Lionsgate creating campaigns for BAFTA winning titles like The Lives Of Others and I've Loved You So Long, to Head of Marketing at Revolver and Metrodome winning seven Screen Marketing Awards for innovative and ground breaking campaigns for titles like Frances Ha, The Imposter and Iron Sky. Andrew now works as a consultant with film producers, he also works as a film lecturer for MA students at the Met Film School, London Film School and Birmingham University. Andrews is also the marketing and development manager of the legendary Rio cinema in Dalston.

Anthony Andrews

Co-Founder, We Are Parable

Anthony Andrews is an award winning co-founder and creative director of We Are Parable, a film exhibition company that provide audiences with opportunities to experience Black Cinema in culturally relevant, unique and memorable ways. Anthony has collaborated with film studios such as Altitude, StudioCanal and eOne as well as working closely with the BFI and the Film and TV Charity to create events and screenings that support films that feature and are made by Black creatives. Since co-founding the business in 2013, he has worked with Oscar winners Spike Lee and Steve McQueen, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and and actor Idris Elba on the release of their respective films. In 2019, alongside The British Blacklist, The New Black Film Collective and SOUL Celebrate Connect, he co-founded SOUL Fest, a film festival which was designed to celebrate Back talent in front of and behind the lens. In 2020, Anthony co-curated Who We Are, a week long online takeover of the BFI which celebrated the artistry of Black British Film over the last 50 years. In 2021, Anthony was included in the main jury for the British Independent Film Awards and the longlisting jury for the EE BAFTA Awards.

Bryony Forde

Director of Theatrical Sales, Altitude Film Distribution

Bryony has been working in theatrical sales since 2014 for independent distributors Icon (It Follows, The Nice Guys) and STX (American Animals, I Feel Pretty), she became Sales Director for Altitude in 2019 working on a huge range of titles including Horrible Histories, David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, Rocks and Minari. Altitude also work with companies like Sky (Hotel Mumbai, The Secret Garden) and Netflix (The Irishman, Mank) to give their films theatrical releases.

Damian Spandley

Director of Programme & Distribution Sales, Curzon

As Director of Programme & Distribution Sales, Damian’s role at BAFTA-winning Curzon crosses all three divisions of their fully integrated cinema, distribution and on demand business. His programming team oversees the curation of films, events and alternative content across the Curzon Cinema circuit and partner venues; and he manages the team behind digital cinema platform Curzon Home Cinema, the home for Curzon’s distribution slate of day and date new release and films from a range of independent and studio partners. Damian also runs the distribution sales teams that manage the release of Curzon’s critically acclaimed and award-winning world cinema movies into cinemas, on DVD and via home entertainment platforms. Previously Damian was an independent distributor for almost ten years, at The Works UK and Metrodome, as a film salesmen before heading up theatrical, TV & new media divisions. In his early career, he worked as a projectionist, cinema manager and for Picturehouse Cinemas as senior programmer.

Delphine Lievens

Box Office Analyst, Gower Street Analytics

Delphine started her career in film as part of the FEDS trainee scheme, completing a 9-month placement at Altitude Film Distribution. Later she was Theatrical Sales Executive there for over 2 years, working on a variety of critically acclaimed films including Moonlight, Lady Macbeth and The Rider. For the past year she has been a Box Office Analyst for Gower Street Analytics where she works with various clients in Distribution, and implements forecasting and analysis for the UK and German markets.

Dom Simmons

Head of Technical Services, BFI Southbank

Dom has worked as a technical specialist in the cinema exhibition sector for approaching 20 years. He is currently Head of Technical Services at BFI Southbank, where he is responsible for the delivery of the cinemas programme, managing the team that brings to the screen formats ranging from nitrate to 4K digital cinema. Dom has technical oversight for the London Film Festival and its 17 venues and recently designed and specified the 2016 Embankment Garden Cinema. One of Dom’s challenges is to ensure that the BFI remains at the cutting edge of cinema technology whilst also securing heritage formats.

Eve Gabereau

Founder and CEO, Modern Films

Eve Gabereau is an award-winning film distributor and producer, with a further background in journalism, communications and cultural affairs. Originally from Canada, she also holds a French passport and has lived in the UK since 1998. Prior to that she spent three years living and working in Japan and China where she fully ensconced herself and began her career in media. She has a BA in Political Science from McGill University and an MA in Communications and East Asian Studies from Simon Fraser University with further graduate studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She is a published writer with bylines in The Guardian, Independent, Time Out and Sight & Sound, amongst other publications.

Iain McLeod

Head of Film, Empire Cinemas

Iain McLeod has 20 years experience working in the UK film Industry. He has worked in film exhibition for Virgin Cinemas, UGC Cinemas, Cineworld, and VUE, and in film distribution for Icon Films working on titles including Drive, A Single Man, Nowhere Boy and The Road. Iain is currently Head of Film at Empire Cinemas.

Lizzie Banks

Producer, Oska Bright Film Festival

Lizzie Banks is the Producer of Oska Bright Film Festival. The festival is the biggest film festival in the world showcasing films made by, or featuring people with a learning disability, autism or Aspergers. The festival is supported by the BFI, Arts Council England and Adult Swim and is also now BAFTA accredited. Oska Bright Film Festival tours the UK and abroad in non-festival years sharing award-winning shorts and features, running workshops and hosting seminars.

Mia Bays

Director-at-large, Birds’ Eye View Film

Mia Bays is an Oscar winning twice BAFTA nominated creative producer. Prior to producing, Mia worked in some of the top sales, marketing, distribution and exhibition companies in the UK, across both documentary and fiction. In 2016 Mia took over Birds’ Eye View pivoting it from being a film festival about to close into a year-round charity – running the Reclaim the Frame exhibition project (a mission to bring ever-greater audiences to films by women) and Future Leaders in Distribution, a leadership training programme for women with 7+ years of film distribution experience. Alongside this, Mia also produces Sundance London. Mia has recently been appointed the new Director of the BFI’s Film Fund and will lead the strategic and cultural direction of the BFI’s investment of National Lottery funds into supporting UK feature film production.

Ray Ward

Director, Sales, Exhibitor Marketing & Distribution (UK & Ireland), Paramount Pictures

After graduating from Leeds University with a Degree in Management with Media, Ray began his career in the film industry as a Cinema Manager with the Odeon Cinema chain in London, where he quickly progressed to the role of National Film Buyer for Odeon Cinemas. From there he moved across into Independent Film, with Pathe Distribution, as a Sales Executive, before returning to Exhibition with Odeon to jointly head up the Film Buying team. Following that, the lure of Studio life proved too tempting and he moved to a new role as Deputy Sales Director at United International Pictures (UIP), the then joint International Distribution Operation handling films for Universal, Paramount, MGM, DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation. When UIP disbanded, he became part of the Paramount UK team, where he has been Sales Director since 2009, and has recently assumed the additional responsibilities of overseeing all of their Exhibitor Marketing and Distribution operations. My responsibilities in my current role include forecasting, budgeting, research and planning, release date selection, commercial terms negotiation, revenue cycle, logistics and Exhibitor and in-theatre marketing.

Robin Baker

Head Curator, BFI National Archive

Robin has worked in film exhibition, distribution, marketing and archiving for 20 years. He has worked extensively as a film programmer, including as co-director of the London Children’s Film Festival, co-programmer of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and director of the Southampton Film Festival. In 2001 he was part of the team that established the Independent Cinema Office. In 2005 he joined the BFI to oversee the curation of the BFI Mediatheques. His recent research includes work on the BFI’s extensive collection of non-fiction films shot in pre-Independence India. He has written and directed two short films, Seafood (2004) and Christmas Merry (2005). His radio play Elephant and Castle was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 2008. Robin wrote and presented the 13-part series The Art of Cinema (Artsworld) and was one of the presentation team of BBC2’s The Home Movie Roadshow (2010).

Simon Duffy

Programme & Research Manager, BFI Southbank

Simon has been the Programme & Research Manager at BFI Southbank since 2016 and leads the team responsible for researching screening materials and negotiating rights clearances on all films shown at the venue. He began his BFI career as a cinema usher at the National Film Theatre and then worked in the BFI’s regional department, which offered training and programming services to venues across the UK, before joining the NFT’s programme planning department. He’s also worked as the London Film Festival Screenings Coordination Manager and as a programme advisor to the From Page to Screen and Le Città Visibili film festivals.

Simran Hans

Freelance Writer

Simran Hans is a freelance culture writer and broadcaster based in London. She has been a film critic for The Observer since 2017 and is a member of the London Critics Circle. Her bylines include BFI, BuzzFeed, CinemaScope, Crack Magazine, Dazed, Eater, Empire, The FADER, The Guardian, Huck, Interview, i-D, Little White Lies, Lenny Letter, Mubi, Munchies, New Statesman, Noisey, No Man’s Land, Nylon, The Observer, Pitchfork, Refinery 29, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, SSENSE, Stereogum, Variety and VICE among others.

Simon Ward

Owner, Palace Cinema

Simon began working in independent film as the administrator of London Electronic Art's Pandemonium Film Festival in 1995 before moving on the following year to join the BFI London Film Festival (LFF) and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (now BFI Flare). He was Industry Events Officer for the LFF, organising masterclasses with such luminaries as Paul Schrader and Jerry Goldsmith. He subsequently took up the position of Deputy Director of Cinema at the ICA in London where he spent three years programming new international cinema, much of which was not in UK distribution. Subsequently, Simon has produced documentaries on various filmmakers, from François Ozon to Wong Kar-Wai and has also contributed to books on UK and US cinema for academic publisher Routledge. Simon joined the Independent Cinema Office at its very beginning in 2003, first as Head of Programming and then as Deputy Director. In 2016, he took over The Palace Cinema in Broadstairs, Kent with his wife Corinna and left the ICO to run it.

Wendy Mitchell

Contributing Editor, Screen International and Editor, EFAs Close-up. Moderator/Festival Consultant (Rotterdam, San Sebastian, Zurich, Goteborg)

Wendy Mitchell is a journalist, moderator and film festival consultant. She is a contributing editor at Screen International (where she previously served as editor in chief) and is the editor of the European Film Academy's Close-up magazine. She is the Nordic and UK delegate for the San Sebastian International Film Festival, a consultant for the Zurich Film Festival and Zurich Summit, Connext by Flanders Image, Goteborg's Nordic Film Market and TV Drama Vision, and CPH:DOX. In the US, she previously worked on staff at Entertainment Weekly, indieWIRE, Time Inc and Rolling Stone. Her website is

Catharine Des Forges

Director, Independent Cinema Office

Catharine has spent over 20 years working in the exhibition sector for a variety of organisations including the BFI and Arts Council England. She has worked as a freelance programmer and arts consultant, and programmed for festivals and cinemas both in the UK and internationally. She has lectured on film at a number of UK universities and is a regular contributor to industry events and a frequent filmmaker Q&A host. Catharine founded the ICO in 2003 and has been its Director ever since.

David Sin

Head of Cinemas, Independent Cinema Office

Over the past 25 years, David has worked as a Programmer, Consultant and Distributor, on occasions two or three of these at the same time. From 1998-2002, he was Director of Cinema at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) where he programmed an award winning season of Japanese experimental film, increased admissions by 100% and also made a success of the ICA’s cutting edge distribution company; releasing over 40 films including Ring, A One and a Two and Kandahar. Whilst Head of Content at the British Film Institute, he co-produced a screening of Borderline staged at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall; and A Throw of Dice with a live orchestra in Trafalgar Square.

Duncan Carson

Projects and Business Manager

Duncan Carson is the ICO Projects and Business Manager, working on (among other things) distribution and venue consultancy. He joined the ICO as Marketing and Communications Manager having worked as an editor and marketer in the publishing industry. He runs the itinerant screening programme Nobody Ordered Wolves, which shows neglected films across London. He’s taken his love of film in a lot of different directions including running a university film society, working with an independent distributor, running a pop-up screen in Hackney and lecturing on film. He has spoken at international events about social media, audience development and cinema marketing. After a year’s secondment at Curzon Cinemas, working on cinema marketing, CRM and audience development, Duncan re-joined the ICO in 2020 as Projects and Business Manager.

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