When I heard there was going to be a film festival in Harrogate, I knew instantly that I wanted to be involved. After meeting the owner of the festival, Adam Chandler, and seeing his passion and enthusiasm for the project, I jumped at the chance to become a sponsor.

I love all things creative, particularly TV and film, which is why I spent the last 10 years working in media. At the time, I was living in London, where there were endless opportunities to get involved in, and attend, live events and festivals. My first experiential cinema visit was to a Secret Cinema screening of Top Gun. I dressed in a white pilot’s uniform, and watched a Tom Cruise-alike ride around on his motorbike; people jived to a live rendition of Great Balls of Fire, and played volleyball with their tops off (the men, that is)! We sat down for the film, sang along to You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, shouted out all our favourite lines, and cried over (spoiler alert!) Goose’s death.

There is so much on offer in London that you can easily take it for granted. So to see Harrogate welcome its own film festival is fantastic. The cost of taking part in, or attending, these types of events or workshops in London is extortionate, but Harrogate Film Festival offers a real opportunity for everyone to get involved.

Whether the kids are watching Toy Story or being locked in the Royal Pump Rooms for a Night at the Museum, or you’re at Revolution de Cuba watching Scarface, this is your chance to share in an experience and do something out of the ordinary. If you love being inspired and entertained, there are also presentations, panel talks, filmmaker and acting workshops, as well as, of course, the opportunity to watch screenings from every genre of film, submitted from fresh, amazing talent around the globe. And all of this in Harrogate: what isn’t there to be excited about?

The Harrogate Film Festival boosts the profile of the town, nationally and internationally. In July last year, non-profit organisations Creative England and Nesta identified Harrogate as a major creative hub. The festival can only encourage this growth. Many creative festivals are supported by grants, and therefore at constant risk of closure due to funding cuts. Therefore, to make Harrogate Film Festival a success, the team have really engaged with businesses across Harrogate who see this as a fantastic opportunity to support an innovative and ambitious event – now, and in the long term.

Running a local company – Limelight HR - myself, I support small businesses. I believe that anything we can do to make Harrogate a more attractive place to live, work, or visit is something to be embraced; as local businesses, I feel that’s our responsibility.

At Limelight HR, we provide the personal, practical HR support that is invaluable to small businesses. We do everything from setting up HR policies and processes to training, recruitment, people management, benefits, and project management. People often have the perception that HR is inflexible and boring – at Limelight HR, our aim is to change that. In fact, we try to inject some fun while adding real value to the businesses we work with, making sure we always reflect their culture and brand. Manage your team in the right way and, with our help, they’ll be engaged, motivated, more creative and more successful in their roles.

Why did I want Limelight HR to sponsor the Comedy Award? Before launching the business, I worked at BBC Comedy (where I was, occasionally, found walking around the department in a giant hot dog outfit….) and at Comedy Central (where I had the ultimate fan-experience of sitting on the Friends sofa). In these roles, my love of comedy was well and truly cemented. So when the question came as to which award Limelight HR should sponsor, there was only one answer for me. And, let’s face it, who doesn’t need a good laugh from time to time?

I hope you will come and join me at the comedy screening on 4th March. We’ll be at Everyman Cinema at 3.30pm on Saturday 4th March 2017. But if you prefer horror, romance, or drama, there’s a screening just for you too. Whether it’s sitting back and enjoying your favourite film genre, enjoying music, learning about the future of film, or discovering how to act on camera, there’s something for you at Harrogate Film Festival. I know you’ll have a fantastic weekend – I can’t wait.

The Harrogate Film Festival takes place across the town from 3rd to 5th March 2017.