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David Puttnam

Don’t waste film talent, says Puttnam

Don’t waste film talent, says Puttnam

16 April, 2016

Don’t waste film talent, says Puttnam

Lord Puttnam, the award-winning producer, has urged Scotland to create its first dedicated film studio.

On a visit to Scotland, the producer of Chariots of Fire, Local Hero and The Killing Fields, said: “If you build it they will come.” The peer said he was disappointed about the lack of growth of the Scottish screen industry compared with the rest of the UK, considering its output in the 1980s and 1990s.

He called on the Scottish government to step up efforts to support the creative industries and take action to prevent a talent drain out of Scotland.

Lord Puttnam was speaking as part of an inquiry he has started into public service broadcasting.

The Scottish government has backed plans to create a permanent studio at an industrial estate in North Lanarkshire. A private consortium has been pursuing a vast studio development for a green belt site on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Fiona Hyslop, the culture secretary, pledged that the SNP would create Production Scotland, a body dedicated to generating more home-grown productions, if re-elected next month.

Lord Puttnam said it was crucial for any studio to be introduced on top of a strong “talent base” in Scotland or it risked failure.

“You cannot build the creative industries around a film studio. If you believe in the creative industries you will eventually need one in order to deliver a lot of the things you aspire to,” he said.

“You’ve got to make the case that the creative industries generate revenue and the kind of jobs that young people and graduates want to aspire to.”

More capital was flowing into film content than ever before, with web channels like YouTube providing more opportunities to play out content, he added.

“If you think that movement is inexorable, wouldn’t it be a good idea for the Scottish government to be looking very seriously at building that talent and income base? If a studio is an outcrop of a whole load of activity that is taking place in Scotland, where really good scripts being written and good directors are working, then it will be viable.

“The Scottish government should be looking at the talent base in Scotland, making sure it is well utilised, trying to keep it at home and not draining across the border.”

Lord Puttnam used classic Scottish coastal settings for two of his most successful movies. Chariots of Fire told the story of the Scottish Olympian Eric Liddell, a devout Christian who refused to run on a Sunday, with scenes filmed on the beach at St Andrews.

Local Hero was a 1983 comedy- drama written and directed by Bill Forsyth and filmed in the northeast and on the west coast of the country.

Source: The Times