Multi-Oscar winning film producer, Lord David Puttnam CBE brought the magic of movies to Newcastle yesterday as he hosted a special workshop at Newcastle College.
Around 150 students from the college and local schools got the opportunity to meet with the legendary filmmaker, best known for blockbusters such as Chariots of Fire, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle.
The event was organised by Business in the Community (BITC) to help inspire young people to consider the range of careers available in film and media. It was hosted in the College’s £21million Performance Academy, a state-of-the-art facility for media, music and performing arts that features a theatre and live music venue as well as television, recording and dance studios.
Lord Puttnam, who retired from film production in 1998, spoke about his thirty-year career and showed excerpts from some of his films which collectively have won ten Oscars and 25 BAFTAs. The students were then asked to work together to create a storyboard for a film supported by Foundation Degree students from the College’s Performance Academy. Using the theme of how one person can inspire another, they will take their ideas back to school and make them into films at a later date.
Commenting on his visit to the College, Lord Puttnam said: "The North East has an energy and a defined belief in itself. It's a very special part of the country. The media world is voracious in terms of its need for and the way it uses talent. You have to have a combination of self-belief and an understanding of the fact that out there is a world screaming for new ideas, new talent and new people. There is nothing to stop the North East from being the hub of the creative future for the whole of Europe if it decides it's going to be. It all comes down to self-belief.
"The equipment, which is ever improving and changing rapidly, seems to be terrific at the College. What you need is a high level of energy and good equipment. This is an environment where people can come and do good work and be acknowledged for it. All the students here are working on cutting edge equipment and that is very important."
Suzanne McFarlane, Director of the School of Creative Industries at Newcastle College, said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome Lord Puttnam to the College and to have the opportunity to show him how we support the creative industries through education, training and skills. Film production has transformed with technological advances, but it is important that the next generation of filmmakers understand its history and heritage and the many different career option available to them. The students thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and left feeling enthused and inspired.”
Heidi Watson, Business Development Director at BITC said: “Lord Puttnam was an inspiration to young people and adults alike at the event. He really embodies how hard work and commitment are the keys to a successful career. We are very proud to have been able to work with Newcastle College and our Business Class Schools to organise this.”