New cinema director at Saffron Screen

AFTER a year of spectacular success which has seen record audience figures, Saffron Screen starts 2012 with its first ever cinema director.

Saffron Walden resident Julie Kendall has been appointed to the newly formed role to provide leadership and management of the cinema.

At the same time, Rebecca del Tufo is celebrating six successful years as the chairman of the board and she will continue to support the cinema in that role.

Under Mrs del Tufo’s leadership, the cinema has enjoyed nearly 2,000 screenings, shown over 880 films and events and welcomed 168,000 visitors.

It has grown from a small team of volunteers and four front-of-house staff to 109 volunteers and 15 part-time staff. Rebecca headed the team which launched the cinema in 2006, ran the ‘Going Digital’ fundraising campaign, installed a new digital projector and introduced live special cultural events.

She said: “Julie’s appointment as our first cinema director shows Saffron Screen is going from strength to strength. In fact, Saffron Screen saw a record number of attendances in 2011, with over 34,600 visitors.

“The cinema continues to look to the future and to seek new opportunities and audiences. We are delighted to welcome Julie to Saffron Screen.”

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Mrs Kendall looks to fulfil Saffron Screen’s ambition to become a stronger organisation with a firm future.

“Saffron Screen is a great asset to the local community and my aim is to encourage even more people to come and enjoy the experience of a professionally run cinema in the heart of our town,” she said.

“I am delighted to be appointed as Saffron Screen’s first ever cinema director and look forward to leading the cinema to even greater success.”

Mrs Kendall’s career has covered management roles to director level, in a range of public, private and third sector organisations, and most recently consultancy. She is a keen cinema goer and has supported the cinema as a Friend of Saffron Screen since it opened in 2006.

She is also a trustee of a local hospice and is people development consultant.

Reflecting on her experiences, Mrs del Tufo said: “It is a huge privilege to be involved with running Saffron Screen and I appreciate the great team of staff and volunteers and our supportive audience.

“There have been many wonderful moments over the last six years, including hearing the first notes of the Pearl and Dean music at our first screening, the pride when our projectionists won Projection Team of the Year 2010, and the excitement of seeing our first digital film and then live events on our screen.”