30th October 2003




The man chosen to direct ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ will be in Lincoln in December to officially open the University of Lincoln’s media incubator centre.


British film-maker Mike Newell, who shot to fame in 1994 as the director of the smash hit comedy ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, has agreed to preside over the official opening of Sparkhouse Studios in December.


As an added bonus he will give an interview in front of a live audience to Professor Brian Winston, Dean of the Faculty of Media and Humanities at the university.


Born in St Albans in 1942, Mike Newell studied at Cambridge before embarking on a training course at Granada Television. He made his name as a director of TV drama, building a strong reputation for his work with David Hare, David Edgar, John Osborne and Jack Rosenthal.


His first feature film was ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ (1977) and he cemented his reputation with ‘Dance With a Stranger’ (1985) starring Miranda Richardson as Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in Britain.


Newell became a household name in 1994 when ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ starring Hugh Grant broke box office records and won critical acclaim.


He went to America in 1997 to direct Johnny Depp and Al Pacino in ‘Donnie Brasco’, the true story of how FBI agent Joe Pistone infiltrated the Mafia of New York.


In August this year Warner Brothers announced that Mike Newell would direct the fourth Harry Potter film – ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ – in April 2004.


The £630,000 media incubator centre known as Sparkhouse Studios was set up last year to encourage the university’s graduates to set up creative small businesses in the heart of the city.


University experts support the start-up businesses through their crucial first 18 months with advice, subsidised rents and access to specialised IT and media equipment.


The official opening will take place at 3.45pm on Tuesday 16th December with the Mike Newell interview following at 7pm at a venue to be confirmed.


Go to picture


For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincoln (tel: 01522 886042)                 email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk