John A Letham: reflecting on This Way Up 2017

John Letham delivered one-to-one mentoring sessions at This Way Up 17, we caught up with him to reflect on the conference and his advice for cinemas and venues.

John A Letham has had a successful career spanning several industries. As an engineer he worked within digital technology at Motorola, moving on to co-found Park Circus, a film distribution company that has offices in Glasgow, London, LA and Paris; it was sold to the Arts Alliance in 2014, with John returning to the company in 2016 as co-CEO.

As founder and director of his company, Considered Thinking, which specializes in executive coaching and mentoring, he works as an executive coach at the company with this breadth of experience. This Way Up were lucky to have him take part in TWU Festival 2017 as a coach, giving rare, personal, one to one, coaching sessions in Hull back in November. We catch up with John to get some his insights on the festival, the industry in general, and some of his top tips.

Could you tell us about your experience at TWU, and your thoughts about it as an initiative?

There is an extra layer, without doubt, about operating regionally […] I think the danger of taking a national event and just having it in London is that those delicate situations of operating regionally aren’t able to come up to the surface. And what I think is important about TWU and about where it is, where it’s choosing as its venues, and being centric in those venues – for example, we were in Hull, the city of culture, we had representatives from the city – the city is very much there, a strong presence, like an attendee at the event, it makes its presence known, which I think is really important because it gives that sense of place […] The vital importance of the event is being able to talk about global issues, international issues, national issues, national considerations, but always having that regional slant, that regional focus – because it is different and there are extra considerations, and pleasures, which is why I think it’s very much a vital addition to the industry calendar.

Could you tell us a little about the differing experiences in regards to the people you consulted with at TWU?

I worked with eight individuals, on a sort of one to one coaching surgery; it’s not something I would normally do, typically I would coach over 6-8 sessions, over a period of time, so I did warn people I would operate at a pace. But from the responses I’ve had, I do think people found benefit from it, and I do think even a brief intervention can have an advantage, an effect, and is certainly worth considering.

It was a great mix of eight people: everything from fairly new in their career path — perhaps in their first role looking to explore where to go in their next transition – right through to management, and beyond into board level. So the diversity of experience and resulting physical age and knowledge was vast; there was also a nice gender balance, which was super.

A lot of different issues were talked about and it was interesting how quickly in every case we got into the issue and finding a solution […] and trying to move forward, even by one degree. I did actually get an email the other day from one of the individuals I saw who has recently made a major change, successfully moving to a new and challenging role, and contributed some of it to the session we had.

Who were the kinds of people in your sessions? Was there a breadth of vocation or a pattern there?

It was a real breadth: covering venues, film festivals, contributors who are organising events within the film space – a real mix, and within that everyone from board members to programmers and administrator type roles.

In your opinion, was there a common theme, a commonality within the challenges people were facing?

Yes, there was. It was quite interesting, there were a number of themes that came through: the first was about confidence and the ability to be able to sell oneself appropriately […] there was a sort of apologetic nature, which I think is a fine balance, but the danger there is if you’re not celebrating what you have achieved and what you are able to do then it can eat away at your confidence generally.

Linked to that there is a phrase that’s used out there: imposter syndrome. People who find themselves in a position and they can’t quite believe that they’re there, and often it’s because people love their jobs […] they aspired to a role and they got it, and all of a sudden they’re like, “Oh my goodness!” Because sometimes when people are learning and performing, that buzz of being out of their comfort zone can make people feel a bit giddy. That doesn’t mean you are an imposter by any means, it’s just a combination of being able to sit back and say, “Well done, I’ve got here, and yes I am learning, and yes I may feel I’m privileged to be in this position; however, I’m working hard, I’m contributing and I’m performing.” Celebrate that.

“Well done, I’ve got here, and yes I am learning, and yes I may feel I’m privileged to be in this position; however, I’m working hard, I’m contributing and I’m performing.”

In regards to operating regionally a couple of issues did come up: if people decide they do want to stay in a particular region or city, or equally, are happy to move from Scotland to Wales for example, there is more limited opportunity […] and people in the industry tend to love the industry, so when people in more senior roles like the industry they’re in, they might stay in that role for twenty-plus years and they’re not likely to be leaving anytime soon […] So it does mean that there’s, not even a glass ceiling, it’s a ceiling of progression, it’s a pipeline ceiling, and often there’s a blockage. So sometimes it’s about thinking, “Maybe I need to go up another pipe.”

A final point that did come up, particularly a mid-career thing, is that when people are younger, generally speaking, people are fairly happy — and I’ll choose these words carefully – with a relatively low level of remuneration as a norm in this sector as opposed to other industries […] That passion and love doesn’t die, but as life throws responsibility at you, such as partnerships and family and property and children and whatever, that low level of remuneration that may have been acceptable when you were younger […] later on, there is a sense sometimes of people feeling that they’re not being paid what they’re worth and that can have impact on peoples own self-worth and value and its just an awareness of that.

Those last two issues — opportunity and remuneration — are more acute regionally, in my opinion, than they are in London.

Could you give us your three top bits of advice?

1. Let Go. When you let go you create space, and much more interesting things can come in to that space. Linked to that, let go of what other people think.

2. Be authentic. Be your own person. Your contribution will probably be richer because of that. Don’t say you like movie, per se, just because everyone does or it’s the ‘thing to do’, be your true person. If you listen to your inner being, no one can argue against you if you say, “In my opinion …” And linked to that: don’t judge other people if they have their own opinion as well. Other opinions are vital. Everyone doesn’t have to agree, and that’s what makes the diversity of the world so rich.

3. Grow and develop confidently. We’re living in fast-paced world right now, and if the world is changing so quickly, you have to change at least the same pace, otherwise, you’ll fall behind […] It is hard work. It does take effort. Staying in your comfort zone and doing the same old same old is easy. But learning new things and trying new techniques, listening intently and trying to understand and empathise with other people’s point of view has major benefits.

TWU17 Schedule

Start planning – this way up is just two weeks away.

This is our draft schedule for This Way Up 17, it is subject to slight changes, full schedule details will be released this Friday 27 October.

Tuesday 7th November
10:00-11:00 Registration and Coffee
11:00-12:20 Welcome and Keynotes
12:20-13:15 Discussion
13:15-14:15 Lunch
14:15-15:30 Afternoon session 1
15:30-16:00 Break
16:00-17:15 Afternoon session 2
17:30-19:30  Evening reception and Private View of Turner Prize at Ferens Art Gallery
Wednesday 8th November
10:00-11:15 Morning session 1
11:15-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Morning session 2
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:45 Afternoon session 1
14:45-15:15 Break
15:15-16:15 Afternoon session 2
16:15-16:30 Closing remarks

Unrest VR, Jennifer Brea

Unrest is, at its core, a love story. How Jen and her new husband forge their relationship while dealing with her mysterious illness is at once heartbreaking, inspiring and funny.

Unrest VR, at This Way Up 217, is an interactive non-fiction experience inspired by Jennifer Brea’s feature documentary Unrest (Sundance 2017 Special Jury Award). An immersive journey into Jen’s experience of an invisible illness, myalgic encephalomyelitis, the project contrasts the painful solitary confinement of a bedroom world with the kinetic freedom of an inner dreamscape. When you’re too sick to leave your bed, where do you go? Unrest VR premiered in the Virtual Arcade at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. It was also showcased at Sheffield Doc/Fest in the Immersive VR section of the Alternate Realities Exhibition, where it won the Alternate Realities VR Award.

Jennifer Brea describes Unrest

Unrest is a personal documentary. When I was 28, I became ill after a high fever and, eventually, totally bedridden. At first, doctors couldn’t diagnose me and later began telling me that either there was nothing wrong with me or that it was in my head. As I began searching for answers, I fell down this rabbit hole and discovered a hidden world of thousands of patients all around the globe, many of whom had disappeared from their lives and used the internet to connect with each other and the outside world.

We were all grappling with a disease called ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This wasn’t a disease I had ever really heard of, read about, or seen films made about, even though it is an extremely common condition. It’s a story that’s been flying under the radar for the last 30 years. Unrest follows the story of me and my husband, Omar. We are at the very beginning of our marriage, of our lives together, when this asteroid hits.

At the same time, I start reaching out to other patients and documenting their stories. We meet Jessica, for example, a young girl in Kent, England who has been confined to her bedroom since she was 14, and Ron Davis, a Stanford geneticist who is trying to save his son’s life in spite of some incredible obstacles. I made this film four times. At first, it was just an iPhone video diary. Those first few years, I could barely read or write but needed an outlet. And so I started creating these really intimate, raw videos. I met thousands of people, all over the world, living the same experience; isolated, without treatment or care, and often disbelieved. I thought, “How could this have possibly happened to so many people?”

There was this deep social justice issue at the heart of it. An entire community had been ignored by medicine and had missed out on the last 30 years of science. A part of the problem is that many of us are literally too ill to leave our homes and so doctors and the broader public rarely see us. That is when I decided to make a film. When we began shooting, I was completely confined to bed, so I built a global producing team, hired crews around the world, and directed from my bed. I conducted interviews by Skype and an iPad teleprompter a sort of poor man’s Interrotron. We had a live feed that (when it worked!) allowed me to see in real time what our DoP and producers were shooting on the ground. Filmmaking allowed me to travel again. As we started shooting, and I started to get to know these amazing characters, the film became about some of those burning questions that I had. What kind of a wife can I be to my husband if I can’t give him what I want to give? How do I find a path in life now that the plan I had has become impossible? If I am never able to leave my bed, what value does my life have? And I started to become interested in what happens not only to patients but to our caregivers when we, or a loved one, are grappling with a life-changing illness. These are questions we will all face at some point in our lives.

Lastly, there was a point at the middle of the edit when we had a very strong cut, but I felt unsatisfied with just seeing us, these bodies, from the outside. I knew that there was so much about this experience that an external camera just couldn’t capture. And so we started bringing in these elements of personal narration, visuals, and sound design in an almost novelistic way, to try to give the audience glimpses of our dreams, our memories. It was important to me to convey that regardless of our profound disabilities, we are all still fully human. That even lying in bed, we have these complex, inner lives.

It’s my hope that in sharing this world and these people that I have come to profoundly love, that we can build a movement to transform the lives of patients with ME; accelerate the search for a cure; and bring a greater level of compassion, awareness, and empathy to the millions upon millions of patients and their loved ones wrestling with chronic illness or invisible disabilities.


Project Creators: Jennifer Brea, Amaury La Burthe

Co-Producers: Jennifer Brea (Shella Films), Arnaud Colinart (Ex Nihilo), Lindsey Dryden (Little By Little Films), Amaury La Burthe & Grégoire Parain (Novelab by AudioGaming)

Executive Producers: Diana Barrett, Katherine Phillips

Co-Executive Producers: Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman


Directed by Jennifer Brea
Director, Writer – Jennifer Brea
Producers – Jennifer Brea, Lindsey Dryden, Patricia E. Gillespie, and Alysa Nahmias
Co-Producer – Anne Troldtoft Hjorth
Executive Producer & Creative Advisor – Deborah Hoffmann
Executive Producers – Ruth Ann Harnisch, Lisa Gunn, Donna Fairman Wilson, Dan Cogan, Ian Darling, Regina K. Scully, Lynda Weinman
Cinematographers – Sam Heesen, Christian Laursen
Editors – Kim Roberts, Emiliano Battista

Unrest is a co-production between Jennifer Brea’s Shella Films, based in Los Angeles, and Little By Little Films, a boutique production company based in Gloucestershire, UK, founded by Lindsey Dryden

© 2017 Canary in a Coal Mine LLC


Inside of Vintage Mobile Cinema

Vintage Mobile Cinema

Audrey, the lovingly restored 1960s Vintage Mobile Cinema, will make an appearance at This Way Up 17, don’t miss her!

Vintage Mobile Cinema at This Way Up

Delivered by  Vintage Mobile Cinema and the British Council, the screening programme includes;

Documentary shorts from the British Council/Scottish Documentary Institute Stories programme, which, since 2011, has trained filmmakers from countries as different as Jordan, Libya, Pakistan and Syria, in the art of creative documentary;

First Acts: bold, daring expressions of creativity, delivered in short film form by young artist filmmakers. Commissioned by the Random Acts Network for Arts Council England and Channel 4;


New Animated Shorts from the UK, curated by Abigail Addison; One Minute: artists’ films, curated Hull based artist Kerry Baldry;

Flare Films: from a British Council international touring programme in partnership with BFI Flare.

10:45 Stories 1 One Minute
11:30 Random Acts Presents Astounding Animation 2
12:15 Flare Films Random Acts Presents
13:00 One Minute Stories 2
13:45 Random Acts Presents Astounding Animation 1
15:15 Stories 2 Random Acts Presents
16:00 Astounding Animation 1 One Minute
16:45 One Minute Flare Films
17:00 Flare Films Stories 1
17:45 Astounding Animation 2
18:30 Stories 2

Alice Morrison at TWU17

We are delighted to announce that Alice Morrison will deliver Fail and Thrive at this year’s This Way Up conference.

Perhaps it could be considered a back-handed compliment to be asked to do a speech on “Failure”. We all want to succeed, to be the “est”, have the most: get the most bums on seats for our obscure Kurdish film, have the BFI recognise our venue as the best in the country, win the most funding for our fabulous new building. But greatness rarely comes from the soft cushions of success, it is forged in the fire of failure. Join adventurer and former Chief Executive of Regional Screen Agency Northwest Vision+Media, Alice Morrison,  for an hour of forging, and some top tips on how to fail and thrive. Get ready to unleash your inner phoenix.

Alice Morrison for This Way UpAbout Alice Morrison

Alice Morrison is a Scottish Adventurer currently living in Morocco. She used to be the Chief Executive of Regional Screen Agency Northwest Vision+Media. She left the rat race for a bike race when she went off to cycle across Africa from Cairo to Cape Town.

She pursued a career in journalism for Middle East Broadcasting, and then BBC News in Arabic and English. She helped launch the BBC News Channel where she went on to become Editor of the daytime hours.

For the new millennium she moved North to Manchester and onto the internet and started to break out into mini adventures squeezed into the holidays: the Snowdon Challenge, crossing Costa Rica coast to coast, Kilimanjaro, ice climbing in the Andes, climbing the Ruwenzoris….

As CEO of Vision+ Media, she grew the company from a funding base of £830,000 to £10 million per annum and was lucky enough to be in post for region-changing events like the BBC move to Salford and Liverpool’s Capital of Culture. After 9 years of fighting for the sector, she was defeated by a Tory government and their quango cuts, so she cast off her pinstripes and donned lycra.

It was a turning point as she entered the Tour D’Afrique and raced her bike from Cairo to Cape Town. Surviving close encounters with charging wild elephants and very nasty toilets, her first book came out of the experience: Dodging Elephants.

Bitten by the adventure bug, she entered the Marathon Des Sables, the toughest footrace on earth, 6 marathons across the Sahara in 6 days carrying all your own food and equipment.

She loved Morocco so much she stayed and committed to her dream of becoming a full-time Adventurer. Then in 2016, she and Tern TV made Morocco to Timbuktu: An Arabian Adventure, a series for BBC2. It was a dream come true for her. Her quest for the “furtherest place on earth” was an epic journey along the ancient salt roads, over the snow-covered Atlas mountains and across the Saharan sands. She mined for gold, risked death in a donkey cart and spent hours up to her thighs in pigeon shit. She also wrote her second book.

Reasons to come to TWU17

With 30 days to go until This Way Up 17 in Hull, we’re excited to announce some of the new speakers, sessions and content you can expect to see.


Writer, researcher and film programmer Simran takes our 3rd keynote speaker spot and with an interest in ethics, you can expect Simran’s session to cover challenges endemic within the industry around fair representation, diversity, and balancing the business of culture with ethical practice.


Gaylene Gould (Head of Cinemas and Events at BFI Southbank) will chair a plenary session with all three keynote speakers (Simran Hans, Jenny Sealey MBE and Moira Sinclair) during which there will be opportunities to explore and discuss some of the ideas raised.


VR producer, writer and tech commentator Catherine Allen, is passionate about the potential in tech for more equitable representation of gender, but also recognises the challenges that tech brings in terms of ethics. In this conversation with Tom Grater (reporter and deputy online editor for Screen Daily) they will discuss the potential and responsibilities of this new tech frontier.

DAVID ELLINGTON AND DUNCAN CARSON, BSL WORKSHOP – How can we make our cinemas Deaf-friendly?

The DCP revolution has made it easier than ever to offer subtitled screenings for the hundreds of thousands of D/deaf people in the UK. But there’s much more to making your cinema a welcoming space for D/deaf people than offering subtitled screenings. This session, presented by David Ellington of VS1 Productions, a Deaf trainer and director, and the Independent Cinema Office’s Duncan Carson will give you clear recommendations based on hundreds of responses of Deaf audience members. You’ll find out what you need to do to develop a thriving D/deaf audience, learn the key British Sign Language signs for cinemas and find out how to avoid the common pitfalls with D/deaf audiences.


Tara Judah, writer, blogger and broadcaster will hone in on some of the most interesting insights that came out of the recent Europa Cinemas Innovation Survey and the Tour des Cinema report, as well as talking with some of the case studies highlighted in the report.


Sarah Mosses is the CEO of Together Films, a boutique marketing and distribution consultancy and in this session, Sarah will talk about how to ensure a film reaches the right audience, at the right time, on the right platform by creatively and intelligently using data.


All sessions in the Main House will be signed.

Talk to us about child-care, we can help, click here to get in touch with TWU17 Coordinator Bex. 


30 Seconds with…JENNY SEALEY MBE


Jenny Sealey


Theatre Director

Three words to describe your feelings about arts and culture

An Essential Necessary Human Right

What inspires you daily?

The people I work with.

What’s the most challenging thing about being in arts and culture right now?

Sadly in my world it is juggling the double whammy of standstill funding and cuts to Access to Work (a scheme supporting access for Deaf and disabled people in the workplace).

And, the biggest opportunity?

Artists, no matter what is going on in the world, will always find a way to make art.

What was the last film you saw?

At the cinema? Pride (2014) Matthew Warchus, at Dalston Rio because it is my local and it had subtitles!

Video on Demand: forces filmmakers to think differently or ruins the cinematic experience?

I can’t answer this re theatre but I am struggling with how much some theatre streaming costs – almost as much as a theatre ticket which feels very wrong given theatre is about being live! But I also do understand that theatre can get to people who cannot access it easily, however cost must be kept down as that is often the reason people don’t go to the theatre!

Positive discrimination: essential for the film sector or the wrong approach to gender equality?

The film and theatre world need to take a serious look at all of this… and casting.

Director / Talent Q&As: insufferably boring or a great way to give engage and develop audiences?

Depends on who the director is!

What are you looking forward to most about TWU 2017?

Meeting new people and learning from them.

What part of the TWU 2017 debate are you most interested in and why?

All of it as a lot of it is outside my comfort zone which is good for me.

Where can people find you online?

Jenny Sealey credit Micha Theiner

On Twitter: @GraeaeJennyS or online

In real life, as a keynote at TWU17 in Hull!

30 seconds with…Laura Rothwell

Laura Rothwell is our resident marketer, last year she delivered our TWU16 marketing one-to-one sessions in Glasgow, and runs a marketing agency devoted to all things arts and culture. She gave us thirty seconds…


Laura Rothwell


Marketing person, founder of Crystlsd, marketing for creative organisations.

Three words to describe your feelings about film/cinema/culture

For. The. Soul.

What inspires you daily?

Big ideas. Talking to people about their ‘stories’ and reasons for doing what they do.

What’s the most challenging thing about being in the film/cinema/culture right now?

From a marketing perspective, trying to be all things to all people, doesn’t work, can never work.

And, the biggest opportunity?

That there are so many new stories to tell to new audiences. We just have to tell them!

What was the last film you saw

Their Finest (2016), Lone Scherfig

Video on Demand: forces filmmakers to think differently or ruining the cinematic experience?

VoD is a necessary development in the market, the market is responding to demand. It is on filmmakers who aspire to the big screen to make the ‘big screen experience’ worth it. I enjoy Netflix as much as I enjoy visiting my local cinema (Tyneside Cinema). Different moods, different experiences, different demand.

Positive discrimination: essential for the film sector or the wrong approach to gender equality?
Right now?

Absolutely FREAKING essential. Across gender and ethnicity. It’s in no way acceptable that white men run boardrooms/film/production/everything else. (Nothing against white men, some of my best friends are white men).

Choose your own adventure films: an exciting development or will destroy the shared cinematic experience?

A fun fad that won’t last.

VR in film: enhances the experience for the viewer or negatively impacts traditional storytelling?

Can enhance, but doesn’t eclipse traditional storytelling.

Director / Talent Q&As: insufferably boring or a great way to engage and develop audiences?

I think they could be better delivered, and I think they could engage more people, i.e. thinking about what the barriers for audiences are and allowing the events to cater for that. For example, getting audiences to submit questions via social beforehand (or on paper before the screening) for the chair to ask, would probably improve the experience, by removing that ‘fear of asking questions’, thus more voices are heard and the discussion is more vibrant.

What are you looking forward to most about TWU 2017?

Finally getting to hear some speakers! Last year I was delivering workshops and had massive FOMO.

What part of the TWU 2017 debate are you most interested in and why?

I’m really interested in the places and spaces that culture occupies. I am wholly against the idea that culture exists only “in a place”, only in a gallery or museum or theatre, and I believe that those organisations must embrace the idea that their presence, influence and responsibility extends beyond their four walls; digitally, geographically, ideologically.

Where can people find you online?

On Twitter @notmacbeth

On Insta @lauramrothwell

Or, for more professional utterings:

And of course, IRL at TWU17 in Hull!

30 seconds with… Annabel Grundy


30 seconds with Annabel Grundy, part of the THIS WAY UP 17 team.


Annabel Grundy


Arts Do-er, Producer, Developer  (currently co-managing Film Hub North)

Three words to describe your feelings about film, cinema and culture?

Beauty. Transcendence. Connection.

What inspires you daily?

The creativity and passion of Hub members – they’re all striving to create space and welcome places for culture, from the pop-ups & community screens to the larger venues.

What’s the most challenging thing about being in the film and cinema right now?

Ever reducing funding and ever-increasing KPIs.

And, the biggest opportunity?

Tech – there are literally new frontiers and ways of expression & storytelling being developed right now, which means there’s scope to hear some entirely new voices.  Also, tech is making it easier for anyone to become a ‘cinema’. A screen + passionate people + hall/field/cave/ (insert unique location here) to create all kinds of experiences.

What was the last film you saw?

Not quite a film but I saw the projected installation Waterlicht beamed onto Winnats Pass in the Peak District last night as part of AND Festival – it was ethereal, magical, and technologically exciting.

Video on Demand: forces filmmakers to think differently or ruining the cinematic experience?

Forces filmmakers – and by extension commissioners – to be more unique and aware of audiences, to create films and experiences beyond the everyday or that follow a homogenous blueprint.  VOD has brought threats, but there’s a huge case for diversity shown by the imaginative and new content coming from streaming platforms – who know people are watching it.

Positive discrimination: essential for the film sector or the wrong approach to gender equality?

Essential when it comes to public investment in film production or subsidized exhibition.  Beyond this, let’s see more work like that of Creative Federation, BECTU and Raising Films, highlighting issues for freelancers and parents in a gig economy.

Choose your own adventure films: an exciting development or will destroy the shared cinematic experience?

Sounds more like a game than a film to me.

VR in Film: enhances the experience for the viewer or negatively impacts traditional storytelling?

A different beast to cinema, as right now it’s a very individual experience.  I’m excited about companies like Magic Leap developing interactive AR worlds and environments to explore too.

Director / Talent Q&As: an insufferably boring, waking nightmare, or a great way to engage and develop audiences?

A fantastic addition to the cinema offer – vastly improved by having the right moderator and bringing lesser-known voices to the fore.

What are you looking forward to most about TWU17?

More in-depth sessions and room for debate and conversation.  Our Tuesday night drinks are going to be quite special too…

What part of the TWU17 debate are you most interested in and why?

Tech has a place in my geeky heart, but I’m most interested in ethics – part of culture’s job is to keep reminding us that we’re human, special, flawed, beautiful, with more to offer than the money spent on a ticket.

Where can people find you online?

On Twitter at @annabel__always

or at

And in real life, at TWU17 in Hull this November!

Promotional side note: delegate passes are still available, click to buy.



Next up in our ongoing exploration of the thoughts and views of THIS WAY UP pals, colleagues, speakers and facilitators, Joan Parsons, of Showroom Cinema.


Joan Parsons


Senior Programmer

Three words to describe your feelings about film and cinema

Essential. Political. Nourishing.

What inspires you daily?

My wonderful team, breakfast foods, tea.

What’s the most challenging thing about being in the film and cinema right now?

Balancing cultural ambition, commercial imperatives and personal satisfaction.

And, the biggest opportunity?

A chance to change the way the industry relies on opening weekend box office.

What was the last film you saw?

Beach Rats (2017), Eliza Hittman

Video on Demand: forces filmmakers to think differently or ruining the cinematic experience?

Potentially ruining the theatrical marketplace, having a lasting impact on audience taste and behaviour – however, more analysis and sharing of data is required to really gauge the effect.

Positive discrimination: essential for the film sector or the wrong approach to gender equality?

Needs careful consideration, at all levels. If audiences can be encouraged to apply to their choices, programmers to theirs, funders to theirs, training providers to their schemes. Positive Discrimination is a blunt tool to use when the industry is so complex.

Choose your own adventure films: an exciting development or will destroy the shared cinematic experience?

Gamification of narrative, where is the creative vision and powerful storytelling? I’ve no desire to choose a film narrative, I want it to grab me and take me wherever the filmmaker wants me to go.

VR in Film: enhances the experience for the viewer or negatively impacts traditional storytelling? 

Can be a nice additional element, however, this is a separate art form at fledgeling stages still so very reluctant to decide now before it has a chance to blow my mind.

Director / Talent Q&As: AN insufferably boring WAKIng nIGhtMARe or a great way to engage and develop audiences?

Some, of course, can be rather frustrating but when they work, they are a fantastic way to engage audiences with films, and filmmakers with their audiences. However, every time I hear “I don’t have a question, it’s more a comment…” I have major internal sighing.

What are you looking forward to most about TWU17?

Being inspired by other industries, thinking outside of venues, welcoming the industry to Hull.

What part of the TWU17 debate are you most interested in and why?

Basically everything! I think I’ll be watching the ‘Power of Culture’ and ‘Ethics and Resilience’ conversations very closely.

Where can people find you online?

On Twitter at @joan_parsons.