HOME has been formed from the merger of two of Manchester’s best-loved cultural organisations, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company. Wood joins Walter Meierjohann and Sarah Perks, in charge of theatre and visual art respectively, in the artistic directorate for the £25m multi-arts venue that will open to the public in spring 2015. Besides programming films into HOME’s cinrma, Wood will commission, curate and encourage cross-art form collaboration in conjunction with his co-artistic directors.
Cornerhouse is one of nine leading BFI Film Audience Network Hubs, a position which will transfer to HOME. As a BFI Film Hub, HOME will work with the BFI and regional partners, to bring diverse, specialised and independent British and international film to audiences.
As a joint appointment with Manchester Metropolitan University, supported by the BFI, Wood also takes the position of Research Professor of Film at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.
Wood said: “HOME will offer a recognition of cinema’s rich heritage, historical importance and ability to inspire, provoke and challenge. Film at HOME will act as a space for learning and engagement and a home for curiosity seekers. It has been an immense pleasure to have worked at Curzon and I wish the company the very best for the future at what is an extremely exciting time for the group.
Chair of trustees of HOME, Jim Forrester, said: “To have someone of Jason’s experience, passion and reputation join our artistic team is fantastic. The reputation for excellence in film that has been built over the years at Cornerhouse will continue to grow and develop at HOME under his direction.”
Curzon praised Wood's service to the company, his passionate commitment to cinema, immaculate taste and wealth of expertise and thanked Jason for his contribution to all aspects of the group. CEO of Curzon, Philip Knatchbull, said: “We are immensely sad to see Jason leave Curzon. Jason embodies everything we stand for as a company - with his passion for cinema and his standing in the industry. Jason has been at the forefront of our development as a company and he has been a constant and loyal supporter of our vision for the future.
“In the past week alone, new Curzon venues were launched at Canterbury and The Mondrian Hotel on the Southbank, our film Leviathan won the Best Film Award at London Film Festival, our distribution team won Best Independent UK Distributor at the Screen Awards and Curzon Home Cinema launched on Amazon Fire TV.”
HOME will form the cultural heart of the First Street North development and was formed from the merger of two the Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company. The new building, designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo and built by Wates Construction, will feature five purpose-built cinema screens as well as digital production and broadcast facilities, a 500-seat theatre; a 150-seat flexible theatre; a 500m2, 4m high gallery space; five cinema screens and a café bar and restaurant.
Manchester City Council has committed £19m to fund the creation of HOME. The overall budget for the project is £25m, with £5m being met by Arts Council England Lottery funding and the remainder by fundraising. £250,000 has already been contributed by the Garfield Weston Foundation and £150,000 by The Granada Foundation.