Skip to main content

Screen Leaders - Helping European Screen Companies Expand their Business and Markets

Banner with text that reads Company Leader, Industry Leader, Screen Leader.

Company Profile: Screen Leaders

The Screen Leaders Strategic Company Development Programme, received €1,164,092 million between 2008-2014 from Creative Europe under the MEDIA Sub-programme Training & Networks Scheme. This scheme supports activities aimed at increasing the skills and networking capabilities of professionals in the audio-visual sector.

Designed for company leaders working in film, television, animation, games, post-production, VFX, facilities, sales, distribution and exhibition, Screen Leaders is funded by the Creative Europe Programme and the Irish Film Board/Bord Scannán na hÉireann.

This is an intensive programme that provides a company with a range of strategies and skills to grow and develop their business. The programme is custom designed in consultation with each of the participating companies thus providing them with a unique opportunity to focus on, and invest in, their evolution. The programme helps with:

  • Strategic planning and implementation
  • Leadership Development; Managerial Skills; Financial Management
  • Acquisition of market intelligence through international case studies and industry sessions
  • Growth of an international network to support business and market expansion

Since its inception, Screen Leaders has helped 83 European and Irish screen companies to grow their businesses.

Screen leaders Irish alumni who have also received MEDIA funding

Film & Television


  • Brown Bag
  • Cartoon Saloon
  • JAM Media
  • Kavaleer
  • Moetion

Film Festivals

  • Galway Film Fleadh
  • Dublin Film Festival

Interview with Helen McMahon, Programme Director of Screen Leaders

1. What kind of companies can and should apply for Screen Leaders?

Screen Leaders is ideal for screen companies who are going through a period of growth or change who need to redefine the scope of their business. We’ve helped companies that wanted to move into a new area - a service company that wanted to focus on their IP; and a feature film company seeking to move into producing TV drama. Two companies that come to mind are JAM Media (Ireland) who expanded into a new territory and Paradox Films (Norway) who successfully moved into making English language features.

2. Is there an ideal stage in a company’s development where they should invest in strategic planning? Do you see common difficulties faced by companies and are they surmountable?

I often see companies come to us when they are at a stage where their company has scaled quite fast but their internal company structure is struggling to keep up with the changes. Or a company might have reached a point where the business partners have difficulty agreeing on the focus and scope of the business. Screen Leaders offers them a solution! We can help them define their scope, restructure their organisational roles, and implement a strategic plan to achieve their newly honed vision.

3. What kinds of challenges do companies face as they expand?

When a business expands it can change the culture of a company – a small, open, friendly company that has scaled up can have problems adjusting to bigger departments, new staff, and a middle management structure. On Screen Leaders, we help companies define leadership roles and put department structures in place. We work with them on defining the roles of the senior executive team. So when they finish the programme, their company structure and culture is more aligned to its business goals and overall vision.

4. What does the Screen Leaders programme offer a company in terms of strategic planning skills, tutors, and guest speakers?

What makes Screen Leaders unique is that we custom design the content each year to suit the needs of the companies participating. We respond to the requirements of each company – the key areas and skills gaps they need to address. These might include: Strategic planning consultation and mentorship; Leadership coaching, workshops and mentorship; Developing a high performance culture; and Financial planning consultation; and Business Model Innovation. Screen Leaders is a responsive programme. We identify industry speakers based on the needs of our companies and keep track of the steps they need to achieve their growth and goals. Our programme focuses on the company itself not on specific projects.

5. What kinds of changes or improvements do you see in companies in the years after their participation on the programme?

Once the companies have set out their strategic plans and adjusted their company structures, in the years after completing Screen Leaders we have seen them expand and grow. Brown Bag Films went from strength to strength and was recently sold to 9 Story. JAM Media expanded its territories into Northern Ireland. Paradox Films from Norway expanded its English language projects and have produced six international films since they completed Screen Leaders. New Europe Film Sales had success in selling the films Rams into multiple territories. Cartoon Saloon has joined with Canadian company, Mercury Filmworks, to set up the new Lighthouse studios in Kilkenny. Czech company, Bionaut, has diversified from film into making animated TV series.

6. Where will the programme modules be held in 2017 and why use different locations each year?

Each year the locations change with some previous locations being Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Prague, and in 2017 it will be Berlin as well as Ireland. An important part of Screen Leaders is networking with the local industry in other European countries via industry events and seminars. The Screen Leaders programme helps foster co-productions and creative partnerships between countries and complementary businesses.

7. How important is European and international networking for companies?

Very! Screen Leaders provides participating companies with an international network that supports their business growth. The programme has been very enabling of co-productions and creative partnerships. We encourage them to focus on an international vision for their companies so they can establish a sustainable and innovative business.

Thanks to Helen for talking to us. You can apply for Screen Leaders here.

Return to News + Events