Screen and Film School Brighton appoints award-winning cinematographer Seamus McGarvey as new patron

19 May, 2021

Screen and Film School Brighton is delighted to announce that twice Oscar-nominated cinematographer Seamus McGarvey is our new patron.

Screen and Film School Brighton is incredibly proud to announce legendary Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey as its new patron. Not only that, but we can now also officially launch a £30,000 scholarship in his name.

Seamus McGarvey looking through a massive lens


Northern Ireland-born Seamus is world-famous in our beloved film industry, having received two Academy Award nominations for his cinematography, firstly on Joe Wright’s hugely successful 2007 drama Atonement, as well as on Wright’s 2012 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina.

Along with these two blockbusters, Seamus was also Director of Photography (DOP) on an array of other massive hits for the big screen: The Greatest Showman, Avengers Assemble, Nocturnal Animals, Godzilla and The Hours, to name but a few. Further credits of note for Seamus also include photographing and directing over 100 music videos, for artists as diverse as Coldplay, Paul McCartney and Dusty Springfield.

When asked about this new role and alliance with Screen and Film School Brighton, Seamus said:

“It’s such an honour for me to be involved with Screen and Film School Brighton. I really value education and particularly education and film. It’s such a vital part of our cultural life. I’m also excited about the chance to encounter students who are doing their best work whilst experimenting and finding their feet in film. I’m hoping I can be of some help to them, in some tiny way, in their artistic development.”

We also asked Seamus what made him want to be involved with us and what he hopes his patronship will mean to our students:

“I was very impressed by the entire setup in Brighton – particularly the equipment, the setting, and I knew from then that it was something I wanted to be involved in. I’m really looking forward to the future and being able to guide students whenever my guidance might be required. It might not be! But I’m there if necessary.

It is going to be lovely to see students in this early phase – full of curiosity and fearlessness. I look forward to witnessing and encouraging that further.”

Screen and Film School Brighton are also delighted to offer the Seamus McGarvey Scholarship, which is worth nearly £30,000, to one lucky student, who will have all their tuition fees paid. Seamus will have the opportunity to review the shortlist of candidates and devise the scholarship criteria with our College Principal, Itziar Leighton. This scholarship will run alongside The Fair Access Fund – an initiative of ours which aims to support successful applicants by providing a bespoke contact and help in the following areas: financial, course material and engagement.

Seamus will be on hand to interact with our budding filmmakers and when asked for one piece of advice he would pass on to aspiring cinematographers he said the following:

“If I can be light-hearted – cinematography is 90% diplomacy, 9% cinematography and 1% bladder control. You never get away from the set! So always go to the toilet before you start – that’s my first bit of advice. Diplomacy is important because you’re dealing with so many people, and a lot of people look to the cinematographer as a barometer of how things are progressing. If you push out bad vibes it transmits to everyone else on set – so demeanour is crucial.”

As well as his headline-grabbing films with Joe Wright, Seamus also formed another working relationship with Sam Taylor-Johnson, assisting her on several projects from 2008 onwards, including Fifty Shades of Grey and Nowhere Boy.

Long-standing relationships such as this are also important to us here in Brighton and it is in this spirit of collaboration that we hope Screen and Film School and Seamus can work together, on an existing relationship which stretches back many years: Seamus and our very own Industry Engagement Manager, Fiona Adams, have known each other for over twenty years, having worked together on the production of a number of Indie music videos in the 1990s.

As well as this shared history, there are further connections between ourselves and the award-winning cinematographer; Seamus was one of our very first Virtual Masterclass guests back in March 2020. During this event he dished out some incredible industry tips and advice for our students, gathered from an illustrious career, which spans three decades and counting. That insight was just a taste of things to come, we hope, now that we have the privilege of calling him our patron.

On today’s announcement, College Principal, Itziar Leighton had this to say:

“We are truly honoured to have Seamus as our patron. His success and outstanding body of work acts as such an inspiration to our students and staff. Seamus has been so generous with his time, providing insight and guidance, with such warmth and humour. We look forward to working even more closely with him in the future, and are excited to see the implementation of the scholarship in Seamus’s name. Seamus joins us at such an exciting time with the opening of our new film studios – Brighton Film Studios – and we look forward to introducing him to new students, and reintroducing him to those who he generously delivered a Masterclass to. Seamus is as passionate about supporting the next generation of filmmakers as we are. I believe it’s a winning team, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Screen and Film School are delighted to welcome Seamus McGarvey to our community. Stay tuned to find out how to apply for the Seamus McGarvey Scholarship, exclusively with the Brighton Campus.


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