Tessa Ross, head of Film4, and an executive producer of Slumdog Millionaire has joined this year’s International Screenwriters’ Festival line up.

The event will take place in Cheltenham, October 26-29, 2009.

Under Tessa Ross, Channel 4’s film department has developed and financed films such as Slumdog Millionaire, The Last King of Scotland, This is England and Hunger. Ross will be joined by speakers including Armando Iannucci (In The Loop), Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars), Doug Chamberlin (Toy Story  2), Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, and Catherine Johnson (Mamma Mia).

The festival offers writers the chance to meet with directors, producers, agents, development execs, financiers and commissioners working in film and television, and digital/online/gaming. The programme includes screenings, seminars, keynote speeches, networking and workshops.

A number of producers and commissioners have agreed to join the festival’s producer speed dating scheme, which will see producers introduced to writers and directors.

Festival participants include BBC Films, Warner Brothers, DNA, Highpoint, Origin Pictures, Aardman, FAME, UK Film Council, Optimum Releasing, Kudos, Company Pictures, Slingshot, Warp X, Artists Studio, Film Agency Wales, and Scottish Screen.

Sponsors of the event include UKFC, Channel 4, BBC, Sky One, South West Screen, Scottish Screen, and Cheltenham Council. Screen International is the media sponsor.