Case details

University College Cork (UCC), Cork, Ireland – ‘The Puttnam Scholarship Programme’

Now in its fifth year, the Puttnam Scholars programme at UCC brings students together in a small-group with Lord Puttnam.

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CLIENT: University College Cork


COUNTRY: Ireland

Coming from any discipline, undergraduate or postgraduate, students attend six online sessions and work together as a team to make a short film which screens at the Cork International Film Festival.

Selection for the programme includes a €1,000 bursary.

Lord Puttnam teaches students how to embed creativity in whatever career path they decide to follow over a six-week period.

Skills acquired/learning outcomes:

Participants evaluate why people make films and learn to interpret the language of moving images. Making a short film also allows them to hone project-management skills, to problem solve, compromise, and collaborate.

The screening of the film at the Cork Film Festival means students develop their capacity for critical thought, as well as an ability to defend their work, by responding to feedback from peers and industry leaders.

It was an honour to have been a recipient of the Puttnam Scholarship near the end of my Neuroscience BSc course at University College Cork. To further my appreciation of film-making and storytelling under the tutelage of David Puttnam was truly a privilege. I cannot overstate enough how beneficial this experience was to me not only as a filmmaker but also as a writer who believes that cinema should reflect reality and uplift voices that have long been ignored. The lessons I learned through the course of this scholarship were essential in the making of my short film Water Under The Bridge (based on my experiences growing up in direct provision). The film has been shown in festivals around the world and broadcast on Virgin Media. I have since co-written the short film Haven along with Ivan Cush directed by Maureen O'Connell which has won awards at international festivals. We hope to develop Haven into a feature and are working hard to make this hope a reality. Without the knowledge imparted to me by David Puttnam, the support of Dr Ciara Chambers and the scholarship, I certainly would not be the artist I am today. I would hope every filmmaker gets to have an experience like my own with this scholarship. It would lead to much greater cinema.

Rehan Ali, 2021

Alumni spotlight:

The 2022 cohort of Lord Puttnam Scholars developed the concept for their film through writing room workshops with David Puttnam, who picked up on the experiences of one of the scholars in particular. Hyphen’s writer, creative writing student Naoise McGuinness, drew upon her first-hand experience of fostering. Naoise’s family home was a shelter for many children as she was growing up and she was inspired by her close relationships with her foster brothers and sisters to develop the screenplay. The resulting film, Hyphen, tells the story of a young Nigerian boy growing up in foster care in Ireland; the main character, Akin, is played by Naoise’s foster brother Azeem Azeez. The film was premiered to a sold-out audience at the Cork International Film Festival. When Hyphen was nominated for a prestigious Learning on Screen Award, Azeez joined Naoise and Aobh Kingston, editor of the film, in BFI Southbank for the awards ceremony.




What Our Customers say

  • For our students to interact with David Puttnam was amazing. We’ve had long conversations around movies and careers and the students are exploring options they may not have contemplated before. They thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s been a very exciting project and one which they will treasure. What an opportunity to learn from the best!

    TY Teacher, 2023

  • Puttnam Scholars TY programme set me thinking about my identity and how it affects my creativity and perspective. I felt like it challenged me to look to the future and come up with solutions for present and future problems.

    TY Student, 2023

  • David considers the world of filmmaking as a whole, seeing all areas involved as creative, and drawing upon years of knowledge acquired through his filmmaking. Students are always left inspired, driven, and excited to continue with the rest of their course.

    Shakil Mohammed

    Course Leader, NFTS

  • It can be very difficult, while working in an industry such as ours, to step off the hamster wheel for a moment and assess where you’re going. This programme helped me take stock, and stoked the fire within me for film and television. I left it feeling reinvigorated and refreshed.

    Órfhlaith NíChearnaigh

    Programme participant

  • The programme has made me realise the importance of working as a collective.
    I have already begun to set up my own collective of writers/producers/directors to share and discuss our work.
    This can only help me mapping out a pathway to build my career.

    Tara Lynne O'Neill

    Actress, Filmmaker


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