Film legend launches mentoring scheme

The Puttnam Scholars visit the House of Lords

Published on 15 February 2018

Lord David Puttnam, former Government education advisor, and Oscar winning producer of films including Chariots of Fire, The Mission, The Killing Fields and Midnight Express, has launched a unique mentoring scheme with the University of Sunderland.

The Labour peer has helped select six students he will work with over an intensive six-month period. The ‘Puttnam Scholars’ programme will involve the students in a series of interactive seminars in the course of which Lord Puttnam will set them a project to be completed in time for a special ceremony in Sunderland in July.

Lord Puttnam commented: “For the past six years I’ve enjoyed delivering seminars at Sunderland and at other universities around the world; but I’ve always been left wondering what might have been the benefit of focusing on a much smaller group, one which I might establish closer individual relationships.

“I hope through this new scholars programme I can use my experience in film, education and politics to inform, shape and help underpin the futures of these extraordinarily bright young people. When they graduate in the summer, I’ll hope to be in a position to assist in the next stage of what I trust will be a group of glittering careers.”

The six students are:

Greg Bampalas – studying BA Photography Video and Digital Imaging

Adnan Shroufi - MSC in Data Science

Kyle Chisholm – BA Digital Film Production

Kay Donnelly - MA Photography

Noura Petridi - BA Photography Video and Digital Imaging

Arnoldas Ilgevicius - BA Photography Video and Digital Imaging

The group met with Lord Puttnam to discuss and launch the programme this week at the House of Lords.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Graeme Thompson said: “This is an amazing opportunity for our students and I know how excited they are to have been selected. Lord Puttnam has been a tremendous supporter of our university and we are delighted he has chosen to trial this new approach with us. We will be looking very carefully at the programme and monitoring the impacts this kind of mentoring has on the students and how it shapes their studies and career choices.”

Lord Puttnam was the first Chancellor of the University of Sunderland (1997-2007), and is currently working on two new film and television projects.