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New Head of Queen’s Film Theatre (QFT) appointed

Queen’s University Belfast has today announced the appointment of Joan Parsons as the new Head of Queen’s Film Theatre.  Previously Senior Programmer at Showroom Workstation in Sheffield, Joan brings a successful track record in developing audiences for independent film across the North of England. 

Reacting to her appointment, Joan Parsons said, “I am delighted to be joining QFT, it is a fantastic organisation with a great reputation for cultural excellence across the UK and Europe. To begin leading QFT during this momentous year of its 50th anniversary is a privilege and I look forward to what the future holds.”

The appointment comes as the BFI confirm QFT will continue to lead and manage Film Hub NI, part of the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN). Supported by National Lottery funding FAN is a unique collaboration made up of eight Hubs managed by leading film organisations and venues strategically placed around the country, and is the backbone of the BFI’s strategy to ensure the greatest choice of film is available for everyone across the UK.  As outlined in its five year strategy for UK film, BFI2022, the BFI is making key changes to FAN across the UK, which will see Film Hub NI have increased responsibility to fund local festivals as well as working more closely with BFI NETWORK talent development partners in Northern Ireland.

Caroline Young, Director of Student Plus, Queen’s University Belfast, said “On behalf of Queen’s University Belfast, I am delighted to be able to welcome Joan Parsons as the new Head of QFT and excited that the University will continue as the lead organisation in the delivery of Film Hub NI, based at QFT.  Joan brings a wealth of experience from her role at Showroom Workstation in Sheffield and has a particular interest in working with young audiences, an area which aligns with both the University’s growth aspirations and the BFI’s strategic objectives.”

Film Hub NI has been in existence since 2013, based at QFT, harnessing the creativity and energy of the bourgeoning film exhibition sector across Northern Ireland. From 2013-2017, FHNI have supported 95,000 attendances at film screenings, supported over 90 independent film projects across NI and recruited 83 membership organisations from Enniskillen to Newcastle, Belfast to Dungannon. The membership ranges from large-scale exhibition organisations to a wide range of community level outfits, who are helping to bring the joy and love of film to a wider audience, especially in rural areas.

Across the next four years, FHNI will work with its members, Northern Ireland Screen and the BFI to develop opportunities for young people and diverse audiences to engage with the film world. This initiative takes its place in a very exciting film landscape in NI, with exhibition joining the film production and education sectors in a developing and blooming scene, led by Northern Ireland Screen. Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen said:

“I am delighted to welcome Joan Parsons to Queen’s Film Theatre. Her appointment comes at a very exciting time for QFT, as the cinema looks forward to its 50th birthday celebrations later in the year, and as the BFI announce that Queen’s University Belfast has been confirmed as the lead organisation to host Film Hub NI for the next four years. As Chair of the Film Hub NI Assessment group, I am looking forward to continuing to work with the team to develop the film exhibition sector even further.”

Nationally, £4million of National Lottery funding per year until 2022 will enable BFI FAN to continue its broad range of activity to encourage greater engagement with independent and British film across the UK and give greater support to new talent where they live. With increased decision-making responsibility, Hubs will continue to back innovative audience development activity, enabling them to meet the specific needs of their local exhibitors and audiences, and deliver greater choice and access to a diversity of content to audiences everywhere, with a focus on reaching 16-30 year olds.


PR Contact for Film Hub NI: Sara Gunn-Smith, Marketing Officer, Film Hub NI – /  028 90 97 2575

For media opportunities for Joan Parsons/QFT, please contact Stephen O'Reilly, / 028 90 97 1195