Judy Ironside is the Founder and Executive Director of UK Jewish Film.
Described as an ‘ideas person’, Judy has worked extensively in the creative arts industries and in theatre in education; and was previously a member of the British Association of Drama Therapists working primarily with children and young people with special needs.
Judy places enormous value on sharing stories about people and cultures, which was a major incentive for her to create a Jewish Film Festival where the power of film, and the value of stories, combine to promote respect and understanding about Jewish cultures worldwide. It is these value that she brings to the diversity of programming and to working with co-existence and multi faith groups collaborating on special events that promote tolerance and understanding amongst people of differing faiths and those with secular beliefs.
Judy started the Brighton Jewish Film Festival in 1997 and these early years were followed, in 2005, by the national move to become the UK Jewish Film Festival which is now the major exhibitor of films with Jewish themes in the UK and in Europe. With the new identity of UK Jewish Film, established in September 2011, Judy is planning to ensure year round excellence and to continue to encourage new filmmakers and to promote film making with Jewish themes in the UK.
In 2006 Judy assisted and mentored staff in creating the first Zagreb Jewish Film Festival and was also instrumental in helping with the first Amsterdam Jewish Film Festival in 2001. There have also been guest programming slots at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the first Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival; and in 2009 Judy was a Jury Member of ‘The Spirit of Freedom’ Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival.
In 2007 Judy became a Trustee of The Forgiveness Project which is a UK-based charitable organisation which explores forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution through real-life human experience.