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Puttnam Calls for Online Monetization

David Puttnam

Lord Puttnam has called on young filmmakers to pioneer the online monetization of movies – and used All the President’s Men to defend new press regulation.

Speaking to Screen at an event hosted by the University of Sunderland and The Royal Television Society, the Oscar-winning producer behind Chariots of Fire called for young and first-time filmmakers to monetize their content on the web – but warned them they may have to accept diminished audiences.



“Given the massive increases in the capacity of broadband, what we’ve got to move to quickly is the monetization of the YouTube model,” Puttnam said.

“We need to find a way that good material can find its way onto a YouTube-like service and then, as it were, cascade, earn money, earn a reputation there and then turn up who knows where – festivals, any number of places.

“I also think first-time filmmakers have got to accept they will be working with smaller and smaller audiences. I can well imagine (people) doing what I’ve done – being very happy if 400,000 people see their film.”

Puttnam argued that the digital world offers more opportunity to new directors than his generation experienced.

He said the reason that filmmakers like Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson and Ridley Scott had worked in advertising was that this was the only way they could prove themselves as competent directors.


Press regulation

The peer also passionately defended his role in the politicking that recently led to the setting up of a Royal Charter to regulate the press and saw him personally come under fire.

“Do you think you enjoy picking up a newspaper and reading you’re an arsehole?,” Puttnam commented.

“It’s not very nice because you know yourself not to be. I’ve read that I am anti-democratic and that I am trying to crush freedom of expression. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The storm around Puttnam arose when he introduced an amendment to the Defamation Bill. This amendment called for the press to be answerable for its actions to an independent body overseeing a new arbitration system.

In February, Puttnam’s amendment was passed with a huge majority in the House of Lords and with significant senior cross party support. Nonetheless, sections of the UK media have been fiercely critical of the amendment.


All the President’s Men

During his interview with Screen, Puttnam made pointed remarks about the UK press after screening a clip of All the President’s Men, the Alan J Pakula film about the Washington Post’s investigation into the Watergate scandal.

He contrasted the reporting of the Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with that of the British newspapers (whose practices have been pored over in the Leveson Report).



After playing the clip, Puttnam said: “You see the insistence of the editorial team, their staff and bosses on two sources, preferably more, and they’re pushing for someone to go on the record.

“There is a very interesting line from (Washington Post editor) Ben Bradlee when he says, ‘Did (President Nixon’s Attorney General John N.) Mitchell know he was talking to a reporter?’.

“That is a zillion miles away from the practices developed in the UK which is basically about attempting to make a story stand up irrespective of the rules of journalism – the two sources rule, the business of identifying yourself.

“Either you have an editor saying ‘Did you identify yourself’ or you have an editor saying ‘Was this hacked off the telephone? That’s OK then.’ Those are two planets that couldn’t be more dissimilar.”



Puttnam predicted that television will take on a very different role in the digital era.

TV, he said, may “have to accept the fact” that one of its key roles will be to premiere filmed content which will then be watched on other digital devices.

Asked about the prospects for new local TV stations in the UK, Puttnam (who sat on the Anglia board for many years) insisted there was still a place for local stations.

He bemoaned the way broadcasters and regulators had “allowed the argument for so called consolidation to run the way it did” in the period a decade ago of the mergers of the mergers of the local ITV franchises into ITV plc .

Speculating as to how media will change in the coming years, Puttnam struck an equivocal note.

“I think access to media is going to be easier and easier, that’s both a good thing and a dangerous thing,” he predicted.

“If it is so easy to collect information, you become that much more vulnerable to collecting misinformation…I’ve been arguing for as long as I can remember that media literacy is a really, really important subject.

“I don’t think any 12-year-old should continue in education until, as part and parcel of the curriculum, they’ve engaged with and understand what proliferation of information is – learning for example not just to look at Wikipedia.

“By all means, go to Wikipedia but then check what Wikipedia says with one or two other sources. That should be part of learning to read and write. It is as important.”




Nicolas Roeg Developing World War 1 Romance

Nicholas Roeg

British director Nicolas Roeg is developing a First World War romance revolving around an affair between a young, British Army sniper and a wealthy, French landowner behind enemy lines.

The project – originally called The Sniper but recently re-titled At Sunset - reunites the film-maker with British writer Dan Weldon and Canadian producer Martin Paul-Hus of Montreal-based Amérique Films.

The pair collaborated with Roeg on 2007 supernatural tale Puffball, for which Weldon adapted his mother Fay Weldon’s novel of the same title.



Producer Paul-Hus told Screen: “It’s the tale of a torrid affair between a woman in her late 40s, early 50s and a young lad from Yorkshire. She is a wealthy landowner, he is a former labourer on a big estate… the madness of the First World War brings them together.

“The script, written by Dan, is completed but we’re starting upside-down: we want to cast the female lead first and then we’ll tap into our network in Germany, France and Benelux for co-producing partners.”

Paul-Hus has his sights set on one of France’s top female actresses for the lead role.

It will be the first film in six years for the 84-year-old director of WalkaboutDon’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth, who told The Guardian newspaper in an interview in 2011 that he still had three or four films left in him.

French-Canadian Paul-Hus, who specialises in international co-financing using the backing of the Quebecois SODEC and CanadianTelefilm funds as well as Canada’s generous film tax incentives, has a raft of co-productions due out this year.

They include German director Wiebke von Carolsfeld’s Stay about a pregnant woman who returns to Canada from Ireland after her partner says he does not want children. The picture, starring Aidan Quinn and Taylor Schilling, is a co-production with Dublin-based Samson Films.

“We’ve yet to set a sales agent yet but the hope is that we will premiere the film at Toronto,” said Paul-Hus.

Other future releases include Tony Pemberton’s Buddha’s Little Finger, an adaptation of Russian novelist Victor Pelevin’s novel set at the time of the 1991 coup against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.

It stars British actor Toby Kebbell as a young gangster who loses his memory during a KGB interrogation and believes he is a revolutionary poet during Russia’s 1919 civil war.

It is a co-production with German Rohfilm and Cine Plus with the support of theMitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB), Quebec’s cultural fund SODEC, Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Media Development Programme.

Upcoming French-language pictures include French director Christophe Cousin’s Deux temps, trois mouvements, about a Parisian teenager getting to grips with life in Quebec after his mother decides to move there following the death of his father.

Amérique Films also has a minority stake in Philippe Kotlarski and Anna Weil’s Friends from France about two French youngsters who travel to Leningrad in 1982 to give support to a group of Jewish dissidents – or refuseniks.

The picture is lead produced by Paris-based Les Films du Poisson (producers of Oscar-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers), Berlin-based Vandertastic and St Petersburg-based Rock Films. Pyramide International is handling sales. Set for a June release in France, the picture could be a potential candidate for a Croisette premiere.





Alan Partridge Movie Release Date


A first look at the upcoming Alan Partridge film has been unveiled along with an official title and a release date.

The film, previously known as The Alan Partridge Movie, will be titled Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and released on August 7 by StudioCanal, which will also handle international sales of the film.

Trailer: YouTube Preview Image

The cast, led by Steve Coogan as the comedy character, includes Felicity Montagu, Tim Key, Simon Greenall, Phil Cornwell, Nigel Lindsay and Darren Boyd, all of whom have worked on previous ‘Partridge’ series.

Other cast members include Colm Meaney, Anna Maxwell Martin, Monica Dolan, Sean Pertwee and Dustin Demri-Burns.

Coogan’s Baby Bow Films is producing the feature with backing from BBC Films, BFI Fund and StudioCanal. It has been written by brothers Neil and Rob Gibbons as well as Coogan, Peter Baynham and Armando Ianuucci, all of whom are executive producers on the film.



Additional executive producers are Christine Langan and Joe Oppenheimer for BBC Films, and Danny Perkins and Jenny Borgars for StudioCanal. Chris Collins will oversee for the BFI Film Fund.

The film is directed by Declan Lowney, who previously directed episodes of TV comedies Father Ted, Moone Boyand Little Britain. He also directed one-off Alan Partridge on Open Books with Martin Bryce.

Producers are Kevin Loader and Henry Normal.

Alan Partidge was first created by Coogan and Iannucci in 1991 for comedy radio series On the Hour. The character of a hapless sports commentator and chat show host transferred to television in series including The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You and I’m Alan Partridge.




Sundance London Adds UK Spotlight

Sundance London 2013 competition

Sundance London has unveiled its programme for the second edition set to run April 25-28 at London’s O2, with selections including Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, documentary Muscle Shoals, and Lake Bell’s critically acclaimed directorial debut In A World. 



The 2013 festival will add a UK Spotlight section of four films from the UK that premiered at Sundance in Park City, Utah in January. They are: Jeremy Lovering’s In Fear,Michael Winterbottom’s The Look of Love, Andy Heathcote’s The Moo Man and Nick Ryan’s The Summit.

Groth said he was “happy to have the UK Spotlight in the mix. We showed UK shorts last year, and it was great ot see those film teams mixing in with the other attendees. And we had some terrific UK films in Park City this year.”

The panels will include The Art of the Score with David Arnold, a screenwriting discussion with panelists including Tony Grisoni and Peter Straughan, and a comedy panel about British and American senses of humour, with filmmakers Lake Bell and Mike Birbiglia.

Music is again a big component of the festival, with Peaches announced as the first headlining act and The Eagles set to participate in a post-film Q&A.

Trevor Groth, director of programming at Sundance, toldScreen: “We had our concerts and screenings that were successful, but this year we’d like to work on the back and forth, so that people go from screening to concert or concert to screening.” The organisers plan to establish more of a communal hangout area at the O2 this year.

Sundance Insitute president and founder Robert Redford will again attend Sundance London. He said: “We would hope for Sundance London to be another ‘Sundance’ experience – lively, culturally relevant and fun. We look forward to engaging with audiences as we discover new voices, new points of view and new perspectives.”

The Feature Film programme is comprised of American independent films that showed at the Utah festival in January, including a number of prize winners. Three more will be announced in coming weeks.

John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival, told Screen: “We’re thrilled to be returning. We’re trying to build on the experience and community there. We left a lot of success last year and we want to grow that. Audiences in London seem adventurous and engaging, especially in the Q&As and panels. We also felt a lot of interest in the process of filmmaking, and in Sundance’s unique view of independent filmmaking.”

He added: “We’re always looking for how Sundance can create a greater film culture and that’s helped by engaging outside our borders.”



  • Blackfish, dir Gabriela Cowperthwaite
  • Blood Brother, dir Steve Hoover
  • Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes, dir Francesca Gregorini
  • God Loves Uganda, dir Roger Ross Williams
  • In A World…, dir Lake Bell
  • The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete, dir George Tillman Jr
  • The Kings Of Summer, dir Jordan Vogt-Roberts
  • Muscle Shoals, dir Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier
  • Running From Crazy, dir Barbara Kopple
  • Touchy Feely, dir Lynn Shelton
  • Upstream Color, dir Shane Carruth


  • History Of The Eagles Part One, dir Allison Ellwood, with Q&A with the band
  • Peaches Does Herself, dir Peaches, with performances
  • Sleepwalk With Me, dir Mike Birbiglia, with special Q&A with Birbiglia hosted by Jimmy Carr


  • In Fear, dir Jeremy Lovering
  • The Look Of Love, dir Michael Winterbottom
  • The Moo Man, dir Andy Heathcote


  • The Apocalypse, dir Andrew Zuchero
  • Black Metal, dir Kat Candler
  • The Date, dir Jenni Toivoniemi
  • Irish Folk Furniture, dir Tony Donoghue
  • Jonah, dir Kibwe Tavares
  • Reindeer, dir Eva Weber
  • Until The Quiet Comes, dir Kahlil Joseph
  • Whiplash, dir Damien Chazelle
  • The Whistle, dir Grzegorz Zariczny





Pinewood Launches Studio Management Diploma

Pinewood 0013

Pinewood Studios is launching a new studios management diploma, to help train current and potential studio managers in the UK across Pinewood’s international network.

The Diploma will be delivered by longtime Pinewood partner Amersham and Wycombe College. The diploma has received partial funding from Creative Skillset.

Areas of study include managing facilities, contractors, budgets and assets amongst others. The course will be rolled out to the wider industry in the future.

A steering group, chaired by Andrew Noakes of EON Productions, and including Sarah Buckenham of Princess Productions has been established. The course will be lead by Kas Lee.

HRH The Duke of York visited Pinewood to meet the young apprentices this week.

Andrew M. Smith, Director of Strategy and Communications for the Pinewood Studios Group said: “We are so pleased that The Duke of York was able to launch the new Pinewood Studios Management Diploma. This is a really important initiative for the Company to ensure that we are training our staff to successfully and efficiently operate a world-class facility for our clients – no matter what part of the creative industries they are from. It is especially important, as our new studios around the world come online, to make sure that productions experience the same high level of quality they have come to expect from Pinewood in the UK.

“I am also thrilled that Andrew Noakes and Sarah Buckenham have agreed to sit on our steering committee to lend their experience and to make sure that we are responding directly to the specific needs and requirements of major productions.”

Gill Clipson, Principal & Chief Executive of Amersham and Wycombe College added: “Amersham and Wycombe College has worked with Pinewood Studios for many years, training its apprentices. When the opportunity came up to strengthen our relationship by helping them to develop this new Management Diploma, we were thrilled; it’s fantastic for the College to be involved in this project and brilliant to see a major UK company investing in the training of its staff in this way. Our teachers also deliver this course and we are very proud that we are contributing to the success of Pinewood’s highly skilled and world-renowned workforce.”




BFI Launches Pitching Sessions for UK Documentaries

BFI DocFest
BFI Film Fund to work with Sheffield Doc/Fest to bring two annual public pitching sessions to Sheffield and London.

Applications to the BFI Film Fund for documentary production funding will now be considered through twice yearly pitching sessions, the first taking place at Sheffield Doc/Fest on June 15 and the second in London later in the year. The deadline for submissions for the first session is April 22.



The new process will enable selected documentary filmmaking teams to access feedback directly from senior executives within the BFI Film Fund and wider documentary funding community, and also to benefit from a day of expert-led development ahead of the pitch.

The move follows an increase in theatrical documentary applications to the BFI Film Fund as well as a boost in public interest, following recent hits such as BAFTA-winner The Imposter and BAFTA/Oscar-winner Searching For Sugar Man.

A shortlist of applicants will be invited to present their projects to a panel of experts from the BFI Film Fund and the wider documentary funding community on two occasions per year. The new process will provide more detailed feedback and advice for all applicants.

The public nature of the pitches is intended to offer greater transparency of the process, according to the BFI.

Lizzie Francke, senior executive within the BFI Film Fun, said: “Documentary is the punk of the film industry – it so often fuels innovation and creativity in filmmaking and also in distribution. No one can bring a film to life with more conviction than the filmmakers driving the project, so we’re really excited to hear about new stories and characters directly from the talented filmmakers who are so passionate about bringing them to the big screen.”

The BFI Film Fund has previously backed a range of innovative documentaries from UK filmmakers, including Carol Morley’s haunting Dreams Of A Life, Clio Barnard’s distinctive The Arbor and Sophie Fiennes’ philosophical cinematic critique, The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology.

Filmmakers wishing to apply for production funding for documentaries should go to the BFI website and apply through this new process using the BFI Film Fund online application mechanism.

More information about the process and making an application for funding from the BFI Film Fund can be found at

More information about Sheffield Doc/Fest and pitching for the BFI documentary production fund can be found at



Horror Channel Launch Short Film Competition

666 short cuts to hell
666 Short Cuts to Hell will see one filmmaker win £6,666 and the opportunity to develop a horror short or feature idea under mentorship from Movie Mogul.

FrightFest and Movie Mogul, in association with Horror Channel, have launched a short horror film competition.



666 Short Cuts to Hell offers the chance for one filmmaker to receive a £6,666 prize ($10,000), donated by Horror Channel, and the opportunity to develop a horror short or feature idea under mentorship from British production company Movie Mogul.

To enter the competition, filmmakers must choose one of six different titles – Sweet 6Teen, 6 Shooter, 6th Sense, 6 Seconds to Die, 6 Degrees of (Limb) Separation or 6 Feet Under – and follow a series of restrictions, such as the shorts having to last a maximum of three minutes and feature a maximum of six lines of dialogue. Among the other restrictions, the shorts must also stick to a maximum budget of £666.

Movie Mogul MD John Shackleton told Screen that he believes the restrictions will help focus the projects. “In my experience, I find the more restrictions, the more it focuses your creativity and you become more resourceful in your solutions,” explained Shackleton.

He continued: “I think horror is a really good genre to get started on just because you can be creative: you don’t need a lot of money and you don’t need big stars, you just need some good ideas that are entertaining. For me, what’s going to be interesting is seeing filmmakers who haven’t even considered horror in the past, applying themselves to these restrictions and seeing what comes out. It will force people to look at the genre more closely.”


YouTube Preview Image


Shackleton also believes the competition, open to everyone from first-time filmmakers to established directors, will be a “leveller” as a result of the restrictions and that the competition will prove beneficial to everyone.

“To get a first film under your belt whatever its success, whether it gets into the top six or not, will have a positive impact,” noted Shackleton. “For us, we would love to find someone whose talent genuinely shines so that we can provide an opportunity for them and hopefully we can go on to make a film together.”

Chris Sharp, CEO for CBS Chello Zone Channels, commented: “Horror Channel has a rich history in supporting new film making talent through Directors’ Nights, new talent seasons, its FrightFest Short Film Showcases and Horror Club. We’re looking for the next talent which we will support with on air exposure and undoubtedly feedback from our loyal viewers.

“We know there are many keen filmmakers among our audience – this is their chance to get their work in the spotlight and get noticed by the UK film industry.”

Paul McEvoy, co-director of FrightFest, added: “We want filmmakers of all kinds to take up the gauntlet and entertain horror audiences with some bold, fun and original ideas. An army of inspired filmmakers all equipped with the same limitations of genre, budget and duration, should really make for a very exciting competition.”

The best six films, selected by the jury including Horror Channel presenter Emily Booth, McEvoy, Shackleton and director Paul Hyett, will be broadcast on the Horror Channel in the run up to Film4 FrightFest 2013, where they will be screened in their own segment of the festival with the overall winner to be announced following the screening.

Entrants must submit their completed film by 6pm on June 6.

For more information, visit




Reminder – Sundance London Short Film Competition

Sundance London 2013 competition

Attention UK Filmmakers: There are less than two weeks left to submit your short film to the 2013 Sundance London Short Film Competition! 

The winner will have their film screened as part of Sundance London, they’ll also get to stay at The Langham Hotel, plus more prizes to be announced.



Based around the concept of time, in reference to the Festival’s Greenwich location, the home of Greenwich Mean Time, we’re inviting UK filmmakers to submit their interpretation of ‘The Time Is Now; a story that is about being immediate and in the moment’ in any way they choose.

The films are to be between 3 and 5 minutes in length and can be a documentary, animation, live action, comedy, drama or any other preferred format or genre.

For more information and to enter visit:

Judging process: A panel of highly esteemed UK judges will pull together a short list of 25 entries. These will then be sent to John Cooper, Director of Sundance Film Festival who has selected another panel of judges including filmmakers and fellow programmers who will choose the winning short film.

Entries close midnight (GMT) Thursday 28 February 2013

Sundance London ticket packages are now on sale! Book here:



Skyfall wins Outstanding British Film Bafta Award

BAFTA Skyfall

Daniel Craig’s latest James Bond outing Skyfall has been named Outstanding British Film at the 2013 movie Baftas, beating Anna Karenina, The Best Exotical Marigold Hotel, Les Miserables and Seven Psychopaths to the award.


(From left to right) Robert Wade, Sam Mendes, Barbara Broccoli, Michael G Wilson and Neal Purvis


Director Sam Mendes accepted the honour, saying “1,292 people worked on Skyfall and I stand here on behalf of all of them. We all had high expectations for this film and this is really the icing on the cake.”

Mendes said the film had been “built around” Daniel Craig, praising the star for “his bravery, his friendship and his sheer bloody-mindedness”, saying it was “the curse of Bond” that he had not received a nomination himself.

“It was an incredible performance but because Bond is the spine of the movie… You take it for granted,” said Mendes.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the evening, Mendes suggested he would be up for directing a second 007 film: “I’ve had a great time, it’s been a huge learning curve and we would want to make a better movie next time around, and if we thought we could do that they might let me have another go again.”

The 23rd Bond adventure – the highest grossing movie ever at the UK box office – co-stars Javier Bardem as villain Raoul Silva, Judi Dench as M, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny and Berenice Marlohe as Severine.

Skyfall also picked up the Bafta for best original music at the ceremony, which was held at the Royal Opera House in London and hosted by Stephen Fry.




Pinewood submits £200m expansion plan


Pinewood Shepperton submitted another planning application for the extension of its Buckinghamshire site.

The facilities group wants to add another 100,000 sq m of studios, stages, workshops, production offices and streetscapes for filming.

Pinewood described the £200m proposal, which is now being considered by South Bucks District Council, as “a scheme of national importance designed to address increasing global demand for capacity in the UK and deliver growth for the next 15 to 20 years”.



Pinewood said that according to Amion Consulting, the extra capacity will create 3,100 jobs and provide £194m of private sector infrastructure investment as well as generating £37m per year in UK exports.

Pinewood Shepperton chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: “This is a critical opportunity for the creative industries and particularly for the UK film industry.

“Global demand for filmed entertainment is increasing and the UK remains one of the leading destinations to produce creative content.

“We have the talent and skills and the government has expressed its commitment to the industry through the various tax reliefs now available.

“Without infrastructure to meet the rising demand, the UK will inevitably turn away business. Pinewood Studios, the UK film industry and UK Plc cannot afford to allow this to happen.”

This latest application follows last year’s failed attempt to get permission to build standing sets and 1,500 homes, which was scuppered by the secretary of state for communities and local government.

In May, Pinewood announced it would revisit the plans in a bid to keep pace with rival facilities and attract more international content.