The Films of Ridley Scott

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From March to May 2021, Lord Puttnam will lead six seminars on all aspects of the screen industries.

About this event

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:

Ridley Scott is a renowned Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker honoured with Best Director Oscar® nominations for his work on Black Hawk Down (2001), Gladiator (2000) and Thelma & Louise (1991). All three films also earned him DGA Award nominations. Scott’s most recent directorial releases were Alien: Covenant (2017), the sequel to Prometheus starring Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston; and All the Money in the World (2017), starring Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Williams, and Christopher Plummer, about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III.

Scott has garnered multiple nominations over his illustrious career. In addition to his four DGA nominations, Scott has also earned four Golden Globe® nominations for Best Director for films such as American Gangster (2017), starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe; and three Academy Award® nominations for Best Director for films including Gladiator (2000), starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. The film won the Oscar®, Golden Globe® and BAFTA Award for Best Picture.

In 1977 Scott made his feature-film directorial debut with The Duellists, for which he won the Best First Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival. He followed with the blockbuster science-fiction thriller Alien in 1979, which catapulted Sigourney Weaver to stardom and launched a successful franchise. In 1982, Scott directed the landmark film Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford. Considered a sci-fi classic, the futuristic thriller was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 1993 and a director’s cut was released to renewed acclaim in 1993 and again in 2007.

Additional film credits as director include The Martian (2015) starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, which received numerous awards and nominations, including Golden Globes® for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, 7 Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, a DGA Award nomination, and 6 BAFTA nominations, including Best Director; Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), starring Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton; The Counselor (2013), written by Cormac McCarthy and starring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem; the acclaimed hit Prometheus (2012), starring Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Charlize Theron; Legend (1985), starring Tom Cruise; Someone to Watch Over Me (1987), starring Tom Berenger; Black Rain (1989), starring Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia; 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), starring Gérard Depardieu; White Squall (1996), starring Jeff Bridges; G.I. Jane (1997), starring Demi Moore and Viggo Mortensen; Hannibal (2001), starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore; Body of Lies (2008), starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio; A Good Year (2006), starring Russell Crowe and Albert Finney; the epic Kingdom of Heaven (2005), with Orlando Bloom and Jeremy Irons; Matchstick Men (2003), starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell; and Robin Hood (2010), marking his fifth collaboration with star Russell Crowe, also starring Cate Blanchett. Upcoming, he recently completed The Last Duel starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Jodie Comer; and will direct Kit Bag with Joaquin Phoenix set to star as French military leader and emperor Napoleon; and an untitled project surrounding the Gucci family fashion dynasty and the murder of Maurizio Gucci, in which Lady Gaga will star as Patrizia Reggiani, his ex-wife.

Scott and his late brother Tony formed the commercial and advertising production company RSA in 1967. RSA has an established reputation for creating innovative and groundbreaking commercials for some of the world’s most recognized corporate brands.

In 1995 the Scott brothers formed the film and television production company Scott Free. With offices in Los Angeles and London, the Scotts produced such films as In Her Shoes, The A-Team, Cyrus, The Grey, the Academy Award®-nominated drama The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Blade Runner 2049, the long-awaited sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic, and the worldwide hit Murder on the Orient Express, an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. Recent Scott Free projects include Jake Scott’s American Woman, Max Winkler’s Jungleland, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Our Friend, and Wash Westmoreland’s Earthquake Bird. Upcoming films include Chase Palmer’s A Naked Singularity; the highly anticipated Murder on the Orient Express sequel, Death on the Nile, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh; Andrés Baiz’ thriller Panopticon; and Alice Gu’s documentary The Donut King.

On television, Scott executive produced the Emmy®, Peabody and Golden Globe®-winning hit “The Good Wife,” for CBS and its critically-acclaimed CBS All Access spin-off “The Good Fight”; the series adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s classic “The Man in the High Castle” for Amazon; FX’s “Taboo” starring Tom Hardy; AMC’s anthology series “The Terror”; the Fox drama “The Passage” based on Justin Cronin’s post-apocalyptic trilogy; a TV series-adaptation “Strange Angel” based on the George Pendle book of the same title; and “Raised by Wolves”, a sci-fi HBO Max series, for which he also serves as director.

Scott has also been an executive producer on the company’s long-form projects, including the Starz miniseries “The Pillars of the Earth,” the A&E miniseries “The Andromeda Strain,” the TNT miniseries “The Company,” the award-winning HBO movies “RKO 281” “The Gathering Storm” and “Into the Storm”; the hit National Geographic Channels’ telefilms “Killing Lincoln” “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Jesus”; as well as documentaries including the Emmy-winning special “Gettysburg” for History Channel; Hulu’s “Re: Generation Music Project”; National Geographic’s “I Am Dying”; and Apple’s “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives.”

In 2003, Scott was awarded a knighthood from the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the arts. He received the 30th American Cinematheque Award at the organization’s annual gala in 2016; the Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion Picture Direction at the 2017 Directors Guild of America Awards; and the Academy Fellowship honour at the 2018 BAFTA Awards.

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.

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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

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