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In conversation with Lord Puttnam: Producing Content in an Era of Fake News - John Battsek

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Puttnam lecture series

University of Sunderland and Northern Film + Media present a series of seminars 'In Conversation with Lord Puttnam' supported by Pinewood Group.

The growing importance of factual and documentary makers.

Socially sharable and broadcast video journalism and documentary are key areas for development with NFM. The aim is to commission young and diverse stories from content makers in the North East – the sort of content not normally developed by the more established producers. The schemes recognise the importance of factual documentary makers producing content for social media channels. It’s a way in which new voices – younger, northern, working class, more diverse – can be heard online. It underlines Lord Puttnam’s work in holding platform operators to account for the development of a pandemic of misinformation through unregulated influencers spinning fantasy in place of facts. The popularity and scale of documentaries now being commissioned by streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix enables a whole new world of opportunity to address injustices and misleading conspiracy theories. This session will attempt to underline the fact that news, factual, current affairs, documentaries and factual entertainment now offer more entry level opportunities than drama. For more information on NFM current and future schemes check out our website.

About the speakers:

John Battsek is one of the most successful producers in feature documentary filmmaking. Starting with Academy Award winning One Day In September which Battsek conceived and produced, he has since been responsible for some of the most acclaimed documentaries in recent years.

Battsek’s most notable credits include Academy Award® & BAFTA-winning Searching For Sugar Man, Academy Award®-nominated Restrepo & Winter On Fire, Emmy®-winning Manhunt: The Story Of The Hunt For Bin Laden, The Tillman Story & Forever Pure, BAFTA award-winners The Imposter and Hillsborough, Grammy-nominee Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars and BAFTA nominated & Peabody winning Listen To Me Marlon.

In 2020, Battsek launched his new production company Ventureland with long time PrettyBird collaborators Kerstin Emhoff and Ali Brown.

Battsek is currently in production on a range of titles including films about Sir Alex Ferguson, Charlie Chaplin, the iconic Abbey Road Studios and the Thai Cave rescue mission.

Lord David Puttnam is Chair of Atticus Education, an online education company founded in 2012 that delivers audio-visual seminars to students around the world. In addition, he is a member of the House of Lords where he pursues an active role in a variety of areas, from educational and environmental issues to digital skills. In 2019, he was appointed Chair of the Democracy & Digital Technologies committee to investigate the impact of digital technologies on democracy. He spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Local Hero. Together these films have won ten Oscars, 13 Golden Globes, nine Emmys, 31 BAFTAs and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. Lord Puttnam is President of the Film Distributors’ Association.

Places are free but limited. Priority will be given to those with a North East base and or be a student or alumni from University of Sunderland. You must be over 18 years old.


More information about the series

Delivered over Cisco’s WebEx system, the ninety-minute seminars will follow an ‘in conversation’ format and will be fully interactive, using film clips, archival footage and images to illustrate the exchange. Questions will be taken from the audience throughout. WebEx links will be sent out prior to the event.

We are committed to working to support and develop an inclusive workforce in film and television and strongly encourage participation from under-represented groups and diverse backgrounds.

The University of Sunderland welcomes all with talent into higher education and supports them in reaching their potential.

The University has 20,000 students based at campuses in Sunderland, London and Hong Kong, as well as with global learning partnerships in 15 countries.

Working to shape the city and region, the University is proud of its positive contribution to economic and social change. Its graduates leave equipped with the knowledge, skills, confidence and connections to make a positive difference in the wider world.

Find out how the University of Sunderland can change lives at www.sunderland.ac.uk

This event is supported by the BBFC. The BBFC is independent and not-for-profit, and here to help everyone in the UK – especially children and families - choose age-appropriate films, videos and websites, wherever and however they watch or use them. Now, as well as classifying films released in UK cinemas and on DVD and Blu-ray, it’s providing age-ratings for Video On Demand and music videos online, and helping mobile phone operators set parental controls at the right level. The BBFC takes corporate responsibility seriously and is a proud supporter of the charity and voluntary sector.

Northern Film + Media is the creative industries development agency for the North East of England.

Find out more about NFM at www.northernmedia.org

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