Newcastle Festival Group
The Newcastle Festival Team is made up of leaders in industry, all with a passion for film and a wealth of experience in business and industry
JACQUI MILLER-CHARLTON MBE
Jacqui has worked within a male dominated business environment for over 3 decades. She built an international business brand which is now recognised as a global leader within its sector. She is a member of various initiatives aimed at raising aspirations and assisting start ups. In addition she is a trustee on the board of Kielder Observatory as well as a board member of the Local Economic Partnership.
KIRSTY BELL LLB (Hons) CTA
Film Finance and Distribution Director
Kirsty founded Goldfinch Entertainment and is both a successful film producer and Chartered Tax Advisor. This combined expertise had enabled her to focus on the structuring of film companies and their finances. She has successfully raised in excess of £150 million for the industry in the past 20 years.
Garen has been in the business of film in America for over 40 years. His career started as a Cinema Manager working on the likes of the legendary Orson Welles Cinema before becoming an Operator for one of Boston’s better known art houses and reviving such places as the Somerville Theatre and the Dedham Community Theatre. Garen has also been on the boards of the Filmmaker’s Collaborative, Somerville Cultural Council, Boston Film and Video Foundation, Dedham Visionary Access and Somerville Community TV. He has international stature as a board member for the (in)famous Museum of Bad Art (MOBA).
In addition, Garen is an award winning programme and consultant who continues to produce the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, the oldest genre festival in the US and also currently sits on the Vermont International Film Festival (VTIFF) board of directors.
AMMAR MIRZA CBE
Businessman and Entrepreneur
Ammar is a leadership and management consultant as well as being a serial entrepreneur with experience and interests across a wide range of sectors. Ammar is a true ‘local hero’ in the field of business development across the region and is passionate about making a sustainable difference to create more plentiful and better job prospects across the North East of England. As a founding member of the Primary Inspiration through Enterprise (PIE), a private sector charity aimed at engaging business with children to challenge them from an early age at understanding more about challenges they will face later in life whilst encouraging them in a fun and proactive way to engage within their learning curriculum, Ammar has seen measurable and sustained success through this initiative. In addition, Ammar was selected for the IOD regional director of the year, is on the board of the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and was selected as a Maserati 100 top 100 entrepreneurs across the UK for ‘giving back’.
Caroline has starred in some of the most recognisable blockbusters of all time and her roles include Moira in Hook opposite Robin Williams and Emilie in Schindler’s List for Steven Spielberg. Other roles include Krystal in Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone; Dr. Alice in Ridley Scott‘s White Squall; Susan Hendler opposite Michael Douglas in Disclosure and Anne Hathaway‘s mother Helen in Princess Diaries and its sequel. Recent films include, The Dressmaker, with Kate Winslet; A Street Cat Named Bob; The Cold Light of Day opposite Bruce Willis and Mental with Toni Collette. In addition to over 35 films, Caroline has starred in many TV series such as The Sculptress; Trust; Me and Mrs Jones with Robson Greene; Berlin Station and as Duchess Cecily of York in The White Queen and The White Princess. Caroline is a former member of the RSC and NT. A member of BAFTA, SAG AFTRA, AEAA, British and US Equity, she has twice served on the BAFTA TV jury.
Craig is a North East born actor, film producer and director of creativity of 54Films. This provides him with valuable experience both in front of and behind the camera. Craig has worked alongside some leading film producers and directors from Neil Marshall to Mike Leigh. Credits include Dog Soldiers; The Descent; Doomsday and many more. His own recent film producing credits include Devil’s Playground; Four; The Ghost Writer and more recently The Estranged. He is currently preparing his directorial debut with the psychological thriller/horror Kruger set to film in Australia.