Rotha Johnston – Chairperson
Rotha Johnston took up her post as Chairwoman in June 2013. A Queen’s University graduate, Ms Johnston has had a career in the textile, the economic development and the food sectors. She currently has various investment interests primarily in the property sector.
In addition, Rotha holds a number of non-executive positions including Director of Northern Ireland Electricity, Member of KPMG NI Advisory Board and a Belfast Harbour Commissioner.
Previously she was a shareholder and director of Variety Foods Ltd, a food service company supplying the Irish market; Head of Marketing in Moygashel Textiles, part of Lamont Holdings and Business Development Director, LEDU.
Ms Johnston was also a BBC Trustee, Pro Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast and Deputy Chair of Invest Northern Ireland
In 2006 she was awarded the CBE in recognition of her contribution to industry in Northern Ireland and in 2016 was made a Dame.
Elaine Sperber – Vice Chair (appointed from 1 July 2015 – 31 December 2018)
Elaine Sperber was Head of Family and Children’s Drama for Zodiak Media from March 2006 – 2013. Since then she has been Executive Producer on a number of her own productions for CBBC through Foundation and Zodiak Kids Studios. Most recently, she has created and Executive Produced four series of family comedy Millie Inbetween, five series of the hit children’s comedy Dani’s House, and three series of Dani’s Castle. Prior to taking up this post, she was Head of Drama at CBBC for over six years, where she executive produced more than 54 drama and comedy series – winning numerous BAFTA, RTS and Broadcast Awards for outstanding children’s and family drama. Her particular successes included Microsoap, Custer’s Last Standup, Feather Boy, Fungus The Bogeyman and Tracy Beaker’s Movie of Me. Her production of Stig of the Dump also won the International Emmy
Previously Elaine was Vice President of Production at HBO Pictures in the US, producing the HBO movies Perfect Witness and Framed. She also produced the Walt Disney feature film A Far off Place with Reese Witherspoon, based on the novels of Sir Laurence Van der Post.
Greg Maguire (appointed from 1 July 2015 – 31 December 2018)
Greg Maguire is Professor of Animation at the Ulster University Belfast School of Art. He is actively involved in promoting a sustainable all-Ireland animation industry through his work with Creative Skillset, Northern Ireland Screen, Invest NI, Irish Film and Television Academy and the Visual Effects Society (USA). In 2010, he formed Northern Ireland’s largest animation cluster, Toody Threedy for students, researchers and industry which has enabled students to develop their practice with both local and US-based companies. In partnership with Northern Ireland Screen and Creative Skillset, Professor Maguire has developed a series of flexible learning programmes for industry which run concurrently with university taught content, ensuring content delivered is current and fit for purpose.
Greg served as R&D Supervisor, Character Supervisor and Creature Supervisor at two Lucasfilm Divisions. At Lucasfilm Animation since its formation in 2003 as a global digital animation studio and at Industrial Light & Magic on the Academy Award nominated, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Terminator Salvation and Avatar. Prior to his role at Lucasfilm, Greg was Technical Animation Supervisor on Walt Disney Feature Animation’s first computer animated feature, Dinosaur. At Disney, he was responsible for creating and maintaining Dinosaur’s eighty diverse creatures.
Michael Catto (Re-appointed from 1 Jan 2015 – 31 Dec 2018)
Mr Catto is a Visiting Professor at Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art. He is currently a Trustee of National Museums of Northern Ireland and a member of the BFI Film Hub NI steering committee. He has taught film and media related studies at tertiary level in NI since 1968. He has written or edited scripts for several TV art documentaries for BBC and RTE, and presented film programmes for BBC and UTV. He has broadcast and written on Film and Media topics for various BBC channels and stations since 1976. In the past, Mr Catto has served both on UK national governance bodies for Polytechnics and Universities and on other boards such as the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland. He is the author of three art history books and over 100 academic articles on art, film and design. Mr Catto has not been involved in any political activity in the last five years.
Adeline Dinsmore (Re-appointed from 31 Dec 2016 – 31 Dec 2019)
Mrs Dinsmore is a former teacher (36 years) and Principal who has used film to engage students while teaching literature. She has introduced and developed a number of creative initiatives to harness the use of digital technologies in teaching to offer a wider curriculum to her pupils and staff. Mrs Dinsmore served as a member of the Broadcasting Council of BBC NI for five years and as President of the Northern Ireland Schools and Colleges Careers Association. Mrs Dinsmore has not been involved in any political activity in the last five years.
Jennifer Johnston (Re-appointed from 1 Jan 2015 – 31 Dec 2018)
Jennifer Johnston is Head of Learning at Into Film and leads the Curation, Training, Resources, Industry Visits, Filmmaking and Careers teams in delivering Into Film educational and research programmes across the UK. Previous experience includes running If…Media, which delivered multimedia and film training to school and college educators and pupils, and leading the specialism at Hazelwood Integrated College, specialist school in Creativity and Digital Arts. Jennifer is Principal Moderator for CCEA’s Moving Image Arts A2. Jennifer has not been involved in any political activity in the last five years.
Michael Kuhn (Re-appointed from 31 Dec 2016 – 31 Dec 2019)
Mr Kuhn built up the film studio – Polygram Filmed Entertainment which has produced/distributed over one hundred films including major productions such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Fargo, Trainspotting and Shallow Grave. He has been awarded the Michael Balcon BAFTA for outstanding contribution to the UK Film Industry. Mr Kuhn has served as Chair of the National Film and Television School from 2003 – 2010. He was a member of the board of governors of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute and helped set up the Sundance Film Channel. He was a member of the EU Committee which reported on the media industry’s digital future in 1998. Mr Kuhn has not been involved in any political activity in the last five years.
Fiona MacMillan (Re-appointed from 1 Jan 2015 – 31 Dec 2018)
Ms. MacMillan is a communications and public affairs consultant. She was Public Affairs Officer at the Arts Council (2008-2011) and press officer for Cinemagic (1993-1995) and the Northern Ireland Film Council (1993-1995). She was commissioned by Sesame Workshop to project manage Sesame Tree from 2009-2011. She was Media and Communications Manager for NI’s largest children’s charity, Barnardo’s, for 11 years. Ms. MacMillan has been non-Executive Director of Stratagem NI since 1998 and is company secretary of Stratint. Fiona is a member of the Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland of Ofcom and a guest lecturer on the masters degree in Arts Management at QUB. A joint owner of the Carnegie library on the Oldpark Road in Belfast she is working to restore the building for community use. She has an M.A. (Hons) in Modern History and Politics from the University of Edinburgh and a post-graduate diploma in Journalism Studies from the Ulster University.
She has not undertaken any political activity in the the last five years.
Tim McKane (Re-appointed from 9 Feb 2012 – 31 Dec 2016, extended until 30 June 2017)
Tim McKane runs Navatalk, one of Northern Ireland’s leading digital marketing agencies. He has been involved in marketing and advertising for over thirty years, and has chaired the Publicity Association of Northern Ireland and the NI Branch of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. He currently sits on the Board of the Nomadic Trading Company. Mr McKane has been a Board Member of Northern Ireland Screen since 1 January 2008.
Laurence McKeown (Re-appointed from 31 Dec 2016 – 31 Dec 2019)
Dr McKeown founded the West Belfast Film Festival in 1995 which later became the Belfast Film Festival in 2001. He currently serves on the Board of the Festival. He has co-written a feature film, H3, and has written and directed several short films including Private Day of Reflection, When the Summit is Shrouded in Mist, We Won’t Be Kept Down Easy and The Visit. He also produced the short film I gCillín an Bhaís. Dr McKeown was Project Coordinator with Coiste na nLarchimi from 1998 – 2007. He is a regular commentator in the media, speaking on a range of cultural, current and political affairs. Dr McKeown has canvassed on behalf of Sinn Féin.
Ian Parsley (Re- appointed from 1 Jan 2015 – 31 Dec 2018)
Ian Parsley has run a small PR and translations company for many years and is a media commentator on issues as varied as languages and road safety. He has also worked on projects through the Council of Europe and the Soros Foundation promoting civic participation, democracy building and linguistic diversity in locations such as Estonia, Moldova and South Tyrol. Closer to home, he is involved with work to develop qualifications, promote international cooperation and develop SMEs.
He has chaired the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund as it has developed from pure programme funding to promoting and delivering apprenticeships. A linguist by academic background, he also published a grammar of Ulster Scots in 2012.
James Penny (Re-appointed from 9 Feb 2012 – 31 Dec 2016, extended until 30 June 2017)
James is Commercial Director of Mammoth Screen Limited. He was previously an independent adviser to several television production companies and, before that, Head of Business Affairs (Drama) at ITV Studios. James has been a Board Member of Northern Ireland Screen since 1 January 2008 and sits on the Investment Committee, the Strategic Resources Committee and has previously chaired the Finance and Audit Committee. Mr Penny has not been involved in any political activity in the last five years.