ONE of the most influential figures in British cinema is offering Sunderland film buffs an opportunity to take part in one of eight special lectures with a question-and-answer session.

Lord David Puttnam, former Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, and Oscar-winning film producer, is to participate in a new series of masterclasses covering a variety of topics relating to cinema.

Ranging from his own work to a history of the global film business, Lord Puttnam will give eight lectures over the coming months, each coming live from a studio in Ireland via a high-definition link. As part of this, audience members will have the chance to put questions directly to Lord Puttnam.

The first of these masterclasses, ‘The Films of David Puttnam,’ takes place on Friday, November 23, from 3pm to 4.30pm, with doors opening at 2.40pm. It is being held in the cinema of the David Puttnam Media Centre, on the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s.

This will be an illustrated lecture with clips from some of Lord Puttnam’s most distinguished work – including Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields and The Mission ­– and afterwards there will be a Q&A session with him.

‘Movies and Money,’ the second lecture in the series, takes place on Friday, December 7, from 11am to 12.30pm, with doors opening at 10.40am. The venue is also the cinema of the David Puttnam Media Centre. Details of the remaining six lectures will become available closer to the time.


Lord Puttnam, who was Chancellor of the University between 1997 and 2007, is an award-winning film producer with a career spanning several decades. Works such as Chariots of Fire won numerous awards, including the Oscar for best picture in 1981, and he is the only British filmmaker to ever have run a Hollywood studio, Columbia Pictures. As well as producing films, Lord Puttnam has also forged a successful career as a politician and advertising executive.


He has strong links with the North East region, being patron of SCHOOLS NorthEast, an organisation set up to promote education in the region, and was granted the Freedom of the City of Sunderland in 2007 in recognition of his service to both the city and the University.

Graeme Thompson, Dean of Arts, Design and Media at the University, said: “David Puttnam is one of the most influential figures of the past half century. His work as a filmmaker, politician, academic and creative industries executive means he is uniquely placed to share with students his ideas and experiences. We are delighted that David has chosen to launch this masterclass series with Sunderland – a university with which he has a lasting relationship as a result of his Chancellorship.

“David will deliver at least one of the eight lectures on campus. The others will be beamed in from his studio in the west of Ireland. The lectures will be live and fully inter-active. David will be able to see and hear the audience and take questions after each presentation. It is a brilliant opportunity for our students and innovative use of the latest technology.”

The lectures are available to both staff and students, and members of the public, and are free, but early booking is essential to secure a seat.

To book contact: Andrea Robertson, 0191 515 2634, or