Feature film positioning strategy

Our conversations with Jonny were hugely informative and insightful, and they provided us a detailed overview of the industry from a distribution point of view; as a result of which we came away with a much greater understanding of how best to take Second Spring forward.  With Jonny it’s not simply about number crunching: he cares about film, and filmmakers.  

Jonny Tull is passionate about championing independent cinema, especially micro-budget films, and he also brings a wealth of cinematic knowledge to every aspect of his practice.  Jonny has a can-do attitude, an ability to think out of the box, and he’s prepared to fight for the underdog, which was just what we, as first-time producers needed.  

Independent distribution can seem like a daunting business, but with Jonny involved it never felt impossible.

Martin Herron
Writer and Co-Producer
Second Spring



Cinema marketing and programming support

We have been running our cinema for 18 years, within this time we have grown from screening educational films to, over the past two years, a full programme of new release mainstream and indie films. My main reason for meeting Jonny was to get advice on programming for our audience. I decided Jonny was the right person for me as I knew about the amazing work he produced at Tyneside Cinema.

Jonny is super friendly and I really got the feeling he understood my challenges.  He provided me with solutions and great ideas and after our meeting, followed up with a structured plan which will help keep me focused. 

Helen Campion
Cinema Manager
Rheged Cinema – Penrith


Event, programme and audience development, Hinterlands Festival

Jonny Tull came our way via Film Hub North, as we started to dream up our film festival Hinterlands. Jonny mentored us through the planning process, helping to point us in the right direction, keeping us on track and asking really useful questions about the Why as well as the What and the How.  He has an open and friendly manner and puts you at ease, which means you feel entirely relaxed and can ask all the questions you think might be too stupid to ask.  His years and depth of experience in the film industry proved an invaluable resource to us.

We’re looking forward to working more with Jonny in future.

Sarah Bird
Wild Rumpus

Audience Development, programming, stakeholder and business development,  fundraising and planning

We have been working with Jonny on planning for Warwick Arts Centre’s 20:20 Project. Jonny’s expertise in film programming, marketing and evaluation has been invaluable in helping us prepare the way towards the major redevelopment of Warwick Arts Centre, which includes the opening of three new cinema screens and a new ground floor gallery.

Jonny has been patient, proactive and practical and we’ll be continuing to call on him for advice and guidance in the run up to opening in October 2020.

Find out more about Warwick Arts Centre’s 20:20 project here.

Katie Anderson
Marketing Director
Warwick Arts Centre

Audience design and distribution – film production

I’ve known Jonny for ten years or so.  He has always been a champion of all types of cinema, and a passionate one at that. 

I worked closely with Jonny while he was programmer of the Tyneside Cinema during the release of my Venice title, Bypass, produced by my company Third, in 2015.  It was a pleasurable and rewarding experience for the film and us both.

When Jonny left his post at the Tyneside to explore pastures new in freelance programming, curation, audience development and distribution, Third was at a development point of its cycle with several projects germinating. My experience told me that even as a small independent I needed to bring thoughts of audience design and distribution into much sharper focus much earlier in the process.  Why not broach and plan audience design during development? 

I approached Jonny with this concept and he jumped at it with the verve, vigour and passion that he displays across all his work.  Working with Jonny in this way over the past 12 months has not just brought us closer together as colleagues but allowed my understanding and appreciation of audience and how to reach them to grow.  This is down to Jonny and his deep understanding of the sector, married with his engagement and enthusiasm. 

I look forward to growing my working relationship with Jonny over many projects and many years.

Samm Haillay
Third Films

Cinema programming

Few people know cinema and audiences like Jonny.

Knowledgeable, passionate, and a joy to work with, Jonny is able to connect venues with their local communities and people to a broad and diverse range of moving image. With a proven track record of success and an ability to think outside of the box, Jonny is also a genuine pleasure to work alongside. 

Jason Wood
Artistic Director of Film at HOME, Manchester
and Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University


Film distribution and audience engagement
Jonny has opened doors for my work that I didn’t even know how to knock on.

He has broadened my audience by distributing Psycho Vertical in over 35 cinemas to date around the UK, assisting and advising every step of the way with energy, positivity and most importantly, of course, results. My goal for this project was to see my film play in quality venues where viewers would get a real cinematic experience – Jonny has taken that goal and ran with it, far exceeding my expectations.

Jen Randall
Producer and Director, Psycho Vertical
Light Shed Pictures, Canada


Programme, audience and business development

We contacted our regional Film Hub when we found out they offered Advice and Experience visits and they put us in touch with Jonny as someone who could help. We were looking for guidance on relaunching our Screen 2 offer, a separate more specialist film programme using equipment awarded through the BFI Neighbourhood scheme.

Jonny went to great efforts to travel by public transport to reach us in rural Shropshire which we appreciated as it meant we were able to spend several hours chatting to him.

It is obvious he is committed to all things film and cinema and has a wealth of experience which he is willing to share to make sure any venue is making the most of their space for screening purposes, while focussing on the question ‘Why do we do film?’ and the importance of embedding this in an organisation’s mission statement.

Having asked questions about our particular situation and our aims and objectives, he provided us with some practical suggestions for a way forward. As a small venue run primarily with the support of volunteers we are working with particular constraints but Jonny’s insight and suggestions certainly gave us plenty to think about in terms of setting up an informal programming group and choice of film, and how to create an offer that would appeal to different audiences.

Mandy Firth
Development Manager
Festival Drayton Centre, Market Drayton, Shropshire


Skills development (film production) – Northern Film + Media

Devising and delivering the day-long event ‘Open The Gates – Getting Your Feature in Front Of Your Audience’ for north east filmmakers

I worked with Jonny recently on an event for North East filmmakers looking at the relationship between programming, sales and distribution. Having previously worked together during his time at the Tyneside Cinema I knew that he would do a really thorough job, bringing his unparalleled knowledge of the programming landscape and deep empathy for those who actually make the films to bear on the experience. He did that in spades, but what he also brought was unstoppable enthusiasm and a meticulous approach to the organisation of the event. It made my job very easy indeed.

I would recommend Jonny Tull without hesitation as a consummately professional and an absolute pleasure to work with.

Rupert Lee
Commercial Manager
Northern Film + Media

Programme, audience and business development

I knew of Jonny by reputation while he was still with Tyneside Cinema, but we had never met.  As the Sunderland Shorts Team were developing the 3rd  edition of the festival for 2017, I wanted some guidance on audience development as we were a bit disappointed with the attendance in our 2nd year.  So I contacted Jonny in February 2017 and over a coffee and a very long chat he gave me some great advice, changing some of my pre-conceived ideas. Our 2017 attendance was much improved.

When Jonny set up as a freelance mentor later in the year we spoke again and I brought him on board to work with the team on our overall strategic aims and then with a growth and on-going development strategy, which we’re working on now.

Jonny has real ability to work with me as Director and the SSFF team with endless enthusiasm and energy and, importantly ‘tells it like it is’ .  He’s great at pointing out what you do well but also at sharing his immense knowledge and experience of the sector to develop both staff and  the strategic direction of your project.  This has been of huge benefit to me as Team Lead because, although I am an experienced Project Manager, I didn’t have a great deal of industry knowledge, but Jonny is improving that and has really supported my confidence levels. Going into 2018, I am more positive and even a little excited about developing SSFF2018.

Above all Jonny’s a really nice guy, a great listener and very perceptive and I would recommend him highly as a mentor and advisor, not just for the film sector but for the broader creative industries too.

Anne Tye
Senior Sector Specialist for Creative Industries, Sunderland City Council
Business Advisor
Mentor, Creative United Prosper Programme
Festival Director, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival



UK & Ireland grassroots marketing campaign for the release of
Double Date, Munro Film Services

Knowing how well Jonny understands cinema audiences and how best to engage with them, we had no hesitation in inviting him to work on a grassroots marketing campaign for a recent film release we were attached to.

What can I say? Jonny’s expertise and methodology were very impressive. Not that I doubted it for a second, but great to have it confirmed first hand. It was lovely for us to entrust this aspect of the overall marketing campaign to him, which he ran with great aplomb, whilst adding invaluable insight and lots of workable new ideas to the proceedings.

At a personal level, Jonny is fantastic to work with, as he is upbeat and a great communicator. Top man all round.

Jane Smith
Marketing Director
Munro Film Services


PR consultancy and book launch event support

Jonny’s experience with film events has taught him the key principle that preparation is the main ingredient in event management. Jonny helped me to plan in advance both the logistical requirements of my launch event and the messages which I needed to deliver to the audience.

Jonny also used his contacts and experience to widen the reach of my book launch.  The challenges and anxieties were dealt with, so far as possible, in friendly and relaxed meetings before the event:

When the event arrived, I felt fully prepared and primed to talk about my creative vision.

Keith Jewitt
In A Magpie’s Eye – The Jesmond Year In Haiku 


Cinema programming and membership scheme redesign and relaunch – Jam Jar Cinema

A more diverse audience and more loyal ‘regulars’

We arranged for Jonny Tull to work on two specific audience development projects. The first piece was looking at how we can more regularly introduce diverse, challenging and specialised film into our programme. We were increasingly being asked for films that fell outside our typical programming policy. To be honest it scared us. We have very limited knowledge of more cultural, foreign language and smaller British titles. The other challenge we face is when we have dabbled in this area we frequently hear “it’s a great film but i saw it a few weeks ago at a different cinema”. Jonny proposed we created a dedicated stream of films for audiences that like to explore different films from time to time.  As a single screen site we were looking at taking titles week 5-7 of release and Jonny created the branded season of EXPLORE films.

He recommended titles and also supplied us with copy and marketing resources to talk directly with our audience. The season launched in October 2017 and has been a resounding success.  As a 50 seat screen we have achieved an average capacity of 70% occupancy (the target was 20% / 10 per screening). The added revenue has assisted us in persuading our board to release additional marketing resources and moreover we are now working together to create an EXPLORE programming group.

As a full time, community focused venue we have a loyal and keen audience who want to shape our programme. So it makes sense to let them. Jonny and I will be working with a new volunteer programming group, comprising of local people, offering a slate of specialised films to be curated by our community. These films will form the next EXPLORE season. It’s a bold, brave and exciting way to engage our audience and leading edge for the sector.

Jonny’s time and support have been invaluable in making this happen.


Membership scheme relaunch

The second piece of work we have commissioned was for Jonny to analyse and make recommendations for the development of our friendship/membership scheme. We have a really loyal audience and a “good” scheme with close to 200 members, but I know we can build upon this, earn extra revenue and  also create a more engaged and frequenting audience. Jonny analysed our admissions data, our reach and profile and the benefits we offer compared to comparable schemes. He has also surveyed our members and used all of this information to make recommendations on how we can take the scheme forward. Again he has provided everything we need to make easy adjustments to engage people.

Following this process our board has now signed off on us recruiting an apprentice who will be looking at young peoples’ programming and be responsible for engaging our members. It’s an exciting time over in Whitley Bay and Jonny’s work has been instrumental in helping us shape our future.

I’ll be really honest i’m really busy, I often work an 80hr week (it’s a habitual problem of the cinema owner) but Jonny’s commitment and capacity to work independently is such a resource. He’s so forgiving if I can’t get back straight away and he gets that sometimes life gets in the way.

I’d recommend him to anyone

Dan Ellis
Managing Director
Jam Jar Cinema

Film programming – Archant Ltd

Jonny Tull offered us expert advice. He clearly has years of knowledge in the industry and works hard to achieve the best result for his clients. The pace at which Jonny works, which was very important to us, was fast but also thorough. I would recommend his services to any potential clients.

Debbie Burrell
Head Of Events


Programme, events and marketing consultancy – Jarrow Hall

Groundwork STAN took on responsibility for Jarrow Hall following an approach by South Tyneside Council in 2016. The site was successfully opened in October 2016 to great anticipation and acclaim, our full launch taking place in April 2017.

As a charity with a mission to change places and change lives we have a strong track record of engaging communities and have harnessed great local support. We have developed a very basic business plan for the first year of delivery with the focus on delivering an outstanding visitor experience and gradually rolling in additional activities, events, clubs and supporter schemes as we move forward.

To assist with our planning beyond year one, I asked Jonny Tull to spend a day with me on the site to explore our future. Pragmatic and hands-on with a laser focus on visitor experience and audience development, Jonny worked with me to parse out the unique aspects of our site and how these assets could be intentionally and meaningfully communicated to our incredibly broad audience.

From our work together Jonny delivered an outline brief of our options around experience, audience development and marketing for the immediate future, as well as a proposal for longer-term planning and the option to engage him further in our work on site in the coming years.

Open and amiable with an incredibly positive and propulsive attitude, Jonny fully understood our vision for the site, began to develop our nascent ideas into defined outputs, and also brilliantly uncovered new opportunities to explore on our site, again fully in-line with our long term vision. I look forward to working with Jonny again in the future, and I would not hesitate to recommend him to others.

Leigh Venus
Operations Manager Culture and Heritage

Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle
 Jarrow Hall Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum

Programme and audience development services – Newcastle Noir

Having worked previously with Jonny regarding film programming and cinema projects, it made perfect sense to turn to him once more to draw on his vast expertise and knowledge of the industry. This time the focus was a new film festival for the region: Baltic/Nordic Film Festival: New Perspectives.  He certainly put us through our paces as we presented our initial proposal and we came away with so many excellent suggestions to convert a fledgling idea into a successful festival.

Thank you so much, Jonny!

Dr Jacky Collins
Newcastle Noir