David Terence Puttnam CBE, is a British film producer and educator.

He set up his own production company, Enigma Productions, in 1976 and he also chairs Atticus Education, his online education company which he founded in 2012.  Atticus Education delivers audio-visual seminars to students all over the world.

In addition to this, 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.

He currently holds a number of positions including: President of the Film Distributors’ Association; Chair of Nord Anglia International School, Dublin; Life President, National Film & Television School; Chair of Film London Executive Task Force; UNICEF Ambassador; Member of the Advisory Board of Accenture (Ireland); T Adjunct Professor of Film Studies and Digital Humanities at University College Cork; Adjunct Professor, School of Media & Communications at RMIT University in Australia; Board Member of the Commonwealth of Learning, Patron, Dublin Bid World Summit on Media for Children 2020/2023 and International Ambassador, WWF. He is a member of the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) Parliamentary Network.

David spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle.
His films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D’Or at Cannes.

From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006.


After a twenty two year ‘career break’ from film production he has recently returned to the sector and is currently overseeing pre-production of ‘Arctic 30’ – Ben Stewart’s account of the Arctic 30 incident, Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg.

During the break from film production, David focused on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries.

In 1998 he founded the National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008, also serving as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council from 2000 to 2002.

From July 2002 to July 2009 he was president of UNICEF UK, engaging with issues as diverse as water security and child trafficking.

David was Chancellor of the Open University (2006-2014) following ten years as Chancellor of The University of Sunderland.

He was Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 Television (2006 – 2012) and The Sage Gateshead (2007- 2012), founding Chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and Chair of both the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and the National Film and Television School for ten years.

In 2007 he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, having performed the same role on the 2002 Communications Bill.

From 2012 to 2017, he was the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995, and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997.  In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006.

He is the recipient of over 50 Honorary Degrees, Diplomas and Fellowships from the UK and overseas.

He is also the author of a book entitled  “Movies and Money” which has received rave reviews.

The acclaimed producer of such classic films as Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields, and the only European ever to head a major Hollywood studio, former Columbia Pictures chief David Puttnam has written a fascinating behind-the-scenes history of the movie business and of the unique and frequently unholy alliance between commerce and art that underpins it.

A fascinating history.”–Time Out New York


Puttnam’s story moves from the early days of cinema and the rivalry between Edison and the Lumiere brothers, through the rise of the studio system, and up to the present day, with European filmmakers and politicians struggling to protect their industry and even their cultural identity from a triumphant and all-devouring Hollywood. In the process he introduces a host of colorful characters: from Goldwyn and Zanuck to Eisner and Ovitz.

Movies and Money is a groundbreaking book that will change our understanding of the movie business.

“Excellent…. A book so well written that it can easily be read at a single sitting.”- San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner

“Puttnam has a dry sense of humor, and most of his book is jammed with astonishing anecdotes and seething portraits of the personalities of film history.”– Newsday