11th December 2003




The man chosen to direct the latest film in the Harry Potter franchise will be in Lincoln next week 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.


As an added extra, the day will finish with ‘An Audience with Mike Newell’ where 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 Hertfordshire 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.


In 1997 he directed the highly acclaimed mob tale ‘Donnie Brasco’ starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino.  Oscar-nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, the film told the true story of how FBI agent Joe Pistone infiltrated the Mafia of New York.


Newell has recently finished shooting ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ starring Julia Roberts and is due to direct the fourth Harry Potter film, ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, in April 2004.


Business is already booming at Sparkhouse Studios which was set up last year to encourage the university’s graduates to set up creative small businesses in the heart of the city.


The official opening will take place at 4.30pm on Tuesday 16th December.  ‘An Audience with Mike Newell’ will follow at 7pm in the main lecture theatre in the Lincoln School of Architecture building.


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To arrange an interview with Mike Newell or for more information contact:

Lindsey Bird, Assistant Press Officer

University of Lincoln Tel: 01522 886244 Email: lbird@lincoln.ac.uk

Check for the latest university news at www.lincoln.ac.uk/news