the team

Ian Glennie

Ian Glennie Executive Producer

Ian is a public relations and marketing professional with over 20 years’ experience working in communication and social change.   He specialises in working with the public sector – in health, local government and criminal justice. He has run numerous communication and change campaigns designed to deal with complex issues from the prevention of heart disease and diabetes to the management of sex offenders. 

"I was shown the film ‘Cathy Come Home’ in 1977 as part of a sixth form project when I was 16 years old.  Made in 1966, the film was already 11 years old when I watched it.  Although my recollections of the plot faded over time the feeling of that film never left me.

I didn’t even realise it at the time, but looking back, I see now how it influenced my early career choice to work with developers, local authorities and housing associations on social housing and urban regeneration; as well as running a special fundraising campaign with Shelter. 

When interviewed, the director of ‘Cathy Come Home’, Ken Loach is quite cautious about the ability of his film to bring about social change.   But because film drama works emotionally, in secret unexpected ways, even he might be shocked to know quite how many people his film has affected and for how long.

My own awakening to the power of film was brought about by a project for the Probation Service to engage with the public about the opening of a new probation hostel in their community, which might accommodate sex offenders.  Speaking with angry residents, I realised that when people are gripped by fear and prejudice, the PR mantra of ‘key messages’ just doesn’t cut it.  You need some emotional empathy and understanding before you can communicate effectively. 

The development of Social Film Drama as a film style proved to be the way to achieve this emotional empathy. The rightness of this decision has been proven in all our subsequent films.

I see film-centred communication, and Social Film Drama, as the way forward for many issues our society is grappling with.

At a personal level, I am hugely indebted to the sensitive and professional film-making skills of my colleagues below for reproducing that same emotional vibration and resonance in our films that ‘Cathy Come Home’ first invoked."

Richard Penfold

Richard Penfold Scriptwriter Co-Director

Specializing in idea development, screenwriting and direction for a broad range of productions, Richard helps oversee all output from Social Film Drama. He is especially adept at understanding and effectively communicating challenging subject matter. A student of the International Film School Wales, and formerly trained in media intelligence research by the Press Association, Richard has over ten years experience in moving image production.

"Above all else, respect for the issue is key when approaching complex subjects that require sensitivity. This essentially means spending quality time with the people that the films are about. Reading up on a subject is fine and often the only means of research but in the case of Social Film Dramas, until considerable time is spent with the victims of crime, the willing perpetrators and those who work within the respective fields to support them, then we will always be in danger of wrong footing the project from the outset. It sounds obvious but we’d be stupid to think that we know better than the real life experts, so when it comes to writing and directing a film, ego is left at the door and the rest is all ears.    

When creating awareness raising material it’s all too easy to be a tourist, as film makers we can, quite fortunately, immerse ourselves in a difficult issue for a period of months that has otherwise wholly consumed the entirety of the subject’s life, and then simply walk away to the next project. Naturally, for that person whose life I’m seeking to represent through the very powerful medium of film, this ‘tourism’ is inevitably at the forefront of their mind: “Who are they to tell my story? Are they going to misrepresent me? Are they going to create a salacious, sensational story based upon my personal life? Are they going to make me look stupid or disrespect the cause I care so passionately about?”

These are all essential questions that we wholly respect, in fact if you didn’t ask them of us then we would do it for you because if we’re going to tell authentic, truthful, honest, respectful stories about people in difficult situations then first and foremost we have to earn their respect. Only then will we still care about the issue enough when we move on, and furthermore will the audience care about the issue when they leave the screening."

Sam Hearn

Sam Hearn Co-Director

Sam is the Managing Director of Omni Productions, and their sister agency Omni Digital who joined forces with Glennie McIntosh to develop Social Film Drama.

"Social Film Drama has given us a powerful voice and one that we do not intend to abuse. We are dealing with real emotion, harrowing stories, and when done correctly, the work we produce can influence policy, inspire and eventually bring about change.

We are very proud to be part of Social Film Drama and everything it represents."

Steve Long

Steve Long Social Film Drama

Stephen retired from Wilshire Police in 2008 as Deputy Chief Constable. During his time with Wiltshire he was recognised by all agencies concerned with providing services to victims of domestic abuse as a champion to their cause. His last action before retiring was to raise £10,000 for victims of domestic abuse by cycling 250 miles around the county. He is now a Non Executive Director at Salisbury Foundation Trust Hospital and a Trustee at Salisbury Women's Refuge.

When I was interviewed to join the police service in 1978, I gave an answer to the question 'Why?' that is probably one every aspiring police officer gives - To make a difference. Throughout my 30 years service in 3 different police forces, Leicestershire, Suffolk and Wiltshire, I tried to do just that - to make a difference to the lives of victims, to the most vulnerable in our society and to the public I served.

When I joined Wiltshire as Assistant Chief Constable in 2000, there was already a commitment to recognise the needs of victims of domestic abuse and to use the criminal justice system to help them. But much more needed to be done, particularly in partnership with other agencies in the public and voluntary sectors. Over the next 8 years I made it my priority to work with these agencies to take action to give victims of domestic abuse the support they need. To achieve this it was necessary to raise awareness of the scale of the problem and to challenge organisations to reflect on how they were meeting, or not, their responsibilities towards victims.

In 2007 I met with Ian Glennie and my dear friend Jenni Manners, Manager of the Swindon Women's Refuge, and we talked about producing a social film drama which focused on domestic abuse. From this meeting and after 12 months of determined fund raising and real commitment by a number of colleagues from public and voluntary agencies in Wiltshire and Swindon, the film Leaving was launched.

As a senior police officer I had the opportunity to make a difference by ensuring laws were enforced or by making decisions about how communities were policed. Social film drama does, I believe present an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of victims, other vulnerable persons but also the public at large by changing attitudes and inspiring action. Evidence of this can already be seen though the impact of Leaving.

I was therefore delighted when invited by the Social Film Drama Team to join them. The values of the team and their determination to use social film drama to 'move, inspire and change people and organisations' (to take action to achieve social change for the better), are what excites and drives me. In short we are committed to making a difference.

Christiane Glennie

Christiane Glennie Partner

Christiane was a secondary school history and careers teacher for five years prior to setting up Glennie McIntosh Communications with Ian Glennie in 1993.

She has completed three years training at the Bath Centre for Psychotherapy & Counselling. She has excellent listening skills and has significant experience of consultations and evaluation in both a group and one-to-one setting.

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