Education Film Recent Activities

Atticus Education, Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen announce 2024 Puttnam Scholars


A cross-border initiative, the Atticus Education ‘Puttnam Scholars’programme is a series of interactive online seminars for early-to-mid career filmmakers with Oscar-winning producer David Puttnam (LOCAL HERO, CHARIOTS OF FIRE, THE KILLING FIELDS), run in conjunction with Screen Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen. The programme is supported by Accenture Song, the world’s largest tech-powered creative group.

Now in its fifth year, the Puttnam Scholars programme offers eight talented people from both sides of the border the chance to help develop their creative resilience and professional acumen and forge cultural connections and stimulate business networks across the island of Ireland.

This year each participant will receive a bursary of €1,000, sponsored by Accenture Song, on completion of the programme.

Every year Lord Puttnam invites special guests to join some of the seminars to reflect on their recent work and to offer advice to the scholars – this year’s participants can look forward to meeting Jonathan Glazer and Jim Miller (Director and Producer, The Zone of Interest), Paul Laverty (Screenwriter, The Old Oak, The Wind That Shakes the Barley), and Paula Heffernan and Chelsea Morgan Hoffman (Head of Production and Producer, Element Pictures).
Since its inception, the programme has proved to be uniquely valuable for participants – as one of the 2023 Puttnam Scholars said on completion of the course: “This programme helped me take stock and stoked the fire within me for film and television. I left it feeling reinvigorated and refreshed. I’ve been attending filmmaking seminars for 5 years now and this was head and shoulders above the rest.”

The 2024 participants were chosen by Northern Ireland Screen and Screen Ireland following a highly-competitive application process. This year the participants come from wide-ranging backgrounds that include writing, producing, directing, documentary making, Irish language production, and children’s content:

Eoin Cleland – Director / Writer selected by Northern Ireland Screen
Sarah Gordon – Director / Writer selected by Northern Ireland Screen
Nicky Larkin – Director / Writer / Documentary Maker selected by Northern Ireland Screen
Suzanne McNally – Producer selected by Northern Ireland Screen
Claire Francis Byrne – Director / Writer selected by Screen Ireland
Ian Hunt-Duffy – Director selected by Screen Ireland
Cara Loftus – Writer selected by Screen Ireland
Colin Thornton – Writer / Producer selected by Screen Ireland

David Puttnam said; “Each year I meet the talented people taking part in this programme and am able to watch the ever-growing confidence of the Irish film industry. It gives me enormous satisfaction to be able to play a part in enabling these filmmakers to come together, to provide a space for them to talk about their aspirations, and to help them discover what it means to be a responsible 21st century filmmaker. The few weeks we spend together are always among the highlights of my year – I can’t wait to get started!”

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said: “Congratulations to the 2024 Puttnam Scholars, this initiative is incredibly valuable for emerging filmmakers to have the chance to learn from an industry leader like David Puttnam at such a crucial stage in their careers. With his vast experience and expertise, David provides invaluable insights and guidance to help these filmmakers hone their skills and overcome industry challenges. We are delighted to be working with Screen Ireland again on this initiative and wish all the participants the best of luck.”

Désirée Finnegan, Chief Executive of Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, said: “Our sincere congratulations to the successful screenwriters, directors and producers selected for the Puttnam Scholars programme. Screen Ireland is delighted to partner with Northern Ireland Screen and Atticus Education on this initiative. We hope that each of the participants will be inspired by their peers, the excellent line-up of special guests and the three week-long programme led by world-renowned producer David Puttnam. We wish the successful candidates every success in the future in their filmmaking journeys.”