The Team

Joan Burney Keatings MBE

Chief Executive

Today Cinemagic boasts a presence in Belfast, Dublin, USA and The Middle East and is the largest film event for young people in the UK and Ireland, designed for and by young people catering to every level of interest in film.

Joan Burney Keatings MBE is the award-winning Chief Executive of Belfast-based and globally influential youth film charity Cinemagic.

Launched in 1989, the charity’s objective is to present opportunities to young people in the film and television industries through projects and productions. Its work stimulates conversation around challenging topics while always employing an inclusive mindset.


It has engaged with over 500,000 people globally, screened in excess of 3,000 films and hosted almost 1,000 masterclasses, workshops and special events in its lifetime.

With ambassadors including actors Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Paula Malcomson and Julian Fellowes, the charity’s evolution and rapid ascent to global exposure is down to Joan’s unwavering tenacity and hard work.


She is behind the phenomenal success of many productions and her mentees have gone on to thrive in roles at the BBC, HBO, Disney, Sky Atlantic, RTE and Bedlam Productions, to name just some organisations.


Her success at the helm of the charity has also beckoned royal visits including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Princess Kate who attended Cinemagic workshops in recent years and she is the proud recipient of an MBE, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 for her services to the Arts in Northern Ireland.


Global recognition has followed including a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles, Best Foreign Short Film titles and many personal accolades including BT Inspirational Woman of the Year (2008).


Joan also holds an Honorary Fellowship Award by order of the Board of Governors of Northern Regional College — one of Northern Ireland’s largest colleges.


Meet Our Team

Laura McCurdy

Project Executive

Claire Shaw

Press & Marketing Officer

Chris Shaw

Festival Programmer

Kali McDermott

Project & Digital Co-ordinator