×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

David Puttnam Calls for Consolidation of European Distribs in Tallinn Address

The Oscar-winning producer weighed in on a range of issues, from the Digital Single Market to VOD "bottom-feeders."

The looming impact on the European film industry of the proposed Digital Single Market — a movement to eliminate online market restrictions between EU nations — was the hot topic of conversation at Nov. 18’s European Film Forum in at the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn, Estonia, with an introductory speech by Oscar-winning producer and U.K. Film Distributors’ Assn. president David Puttnam diplomatically addressing both sides of the debate.

Speaking to the Tallinn audience via video link, Puttnam declared that a border-free film market could foster larger audiences for European cinema across the continent, as well as “risk-taking distributors who are prepared to be part and parcel” of its development. On the other hand, he warned, removing national markets could make it harder for “smaller, more interesting” Euro productions to find financing: “There’s a real fear of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

Addressing a more personally cherished cause, he added that any changes to the copyright scheme should not be to the disadvantage of educators, as he expressed his wish for “the world of the classroom (to) be removed from restrictions in the commercial marketplace. … I want teachers to feel they can use whatever material they can get their hands on if that’s a way of enhancing the interest of students,” he stated.

On the business front, citing the increased possibilities digital technology has brought to the film marketing business, Puttnam declared that “bottom-feeders” like download outlets Amazon and Apple should become a more active part of the industry’s “risk profile.”

“This may be wishful thinking,” he admitted, explaining that such companies can move up the value chain not just via original programming, but by underwriting some of the “prohibitive” advertising costs for less mainstream films.

Finally, with or without the DSM, he called on European distributors across different territories to be more communicative, stating his concern that a “family business” mentality is overly dominant in the distribution sphere. “Consolidation in the marketplace … supported by the right kind of legislation,” he concluded, “could give the average European film, or the above-average European film, a real shot at competing with its very well-funded American competitors.”

More Film

  • promenade Cannes Croisette Cannes Placeholder

    Cannes Market Claims Record Visitor Numbers

    The Cannes Market, the Cannes Film Festival’s commercial wing, says that its 2019 edition welcomed a record number of participants. It reported 12,527 attendees. The largest group by nationality was from the U.S. with 2,264 participants, followed by France with 1,943 participants, and the U.K. 1,145. Comparable figures for 2018 were not available. The number [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Alien' at 40: Ridley Scott Explains Why 'You Don't Show the Monster Too Many Times'

    It’s difficult to imagine Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/horror classic “Alien” without the clear-minded, strong presence of Tom Skerritt as Dallas, the captain of the ill-fated Nostromo. But originally, the actor turned down “Alien,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary on May 25, though he thought Dan O’Bannon’s script read well. “There was nobody involved at the time [...]

  • The Poison Rose

    Film Review: 'The Poison Rose'

    It is 1978 in the City of Angels and the hard-drinking washed-up sleuth Carson Phillips is having another boozy day through its atmospheric streets. There is a hint of innate coolness and self-deprecation in his elongated voiceover intro — you might even briefly mistake Carson, played by a one-note John Travolta, for a Philip Marlowe [...]

  • 'Chambre 212' Review: A Comedy More

    Cannes Film Review: 'Chambre 212'

    Most of us, in our romantic lives, meditate here and there on the other roads we might have traveled, and movies are uniquely equipped to channel those alternate-universe-of-love possibilities. That’s the idea at the (broken) heart of “Casablanca.” And the fantasy of getting to see the turns your life didn’t take play out right in [...]

  • Zach Galifianakis Jerry Seinfeld Netflix

    Film News Roundup: Zach Galifianakis' 'Between Two Ferns: The Movie' Coming to Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” is unveiled, “Friedkin Uncut” gets a fall release and Sony Classics buys “The Traitor” at Cannes. MOVIE RELEASES Netflix has set a Sept. 20 release date for Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns: The Movie,” based on his 11-year-old talk show. Galifianakis made the announcement during [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content