Producer to be president of FDA

LONDON — British producer David Puttnam, who ran Columbia Pictures for a brief period in the late 1980s, has been tapped as prexy of the U.K. Film Distributors’ Assoc.

His appointment to the position, which has been vacant for two years, is effective as of Dec. 1.

Puttnam, who started out in advertising before producing a string of hit pics including “Midnight Express,” “Chariots of Fire,” “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission,” will champion the business of audience delivery as film distribution reshapes itself to meet the challenges and opportunities of digital technology.

“As a rights owner, I clearly appreciate the essential role of distributors in connecting content with its audience,” Puttnam said. “But I also recognize that the film business, like all media businesses, is in the throes of digital transition and if we fail to keep up, audiences will simply pass us by.”

Describing Puttnam as a “force of nature in the communications world and beyond,” Mark Batey, FDA’s chief exec, said, “Lord Puttnam is synonymous with quality British cinema, but he also brings unparalleled expertise across a broad range of policy areas.”

Puttnam was a created a life peer by Tony Blair in 1997, which entitles him to a seat in the House of Lords, the senior tier of the British Parliament.

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