×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Singapore Platform: David Puttnam Reiterates Call For Shorter Theatrical Windows

Leading producer-turned-educator and lobbyist, Lord David Puttnam has once again called for a shortening of theatrical release windows. As recently as May this year, Puttnam had suggested a six-week exclusive period for theatrical releases. He now says that 30 days is ideal.

Puttnam was in conversation on Sunday with Singaporean filmmaker Boo Junfeng (“Apprentice”) at the ongoing Singapore International Film Festival.

“There is this ridiculous holdback on product,” said Puttnam. “Ideally, we should, very rapidly, move towards a 30-day holdback. After which (films) should be available on whatever medium people want.”

Puttnam was scornful of the idea of a film being available in cinemas for just three weeks, before making way for newer releases, but then not being available to audiences for the next 12-14 weeks when they need to be re-launched in other formats. “All that people want to see, has disappeared. Then, you’re surprised when people pirate it,” said Puttnam. “They can’t get it in the cinema, they still can’t get it on the mobile, they’ve to wait for three months to watch it. It’s ridiculous. So, the industry has a lot of thinking to do.”

Puttnam has film producer credits including “The Duellists,” “Midnight Express,” “Chariots of Fire,” “Local Hero,” and “The Killing Fields.” After hanging up his producing boots, he has been involved in a range of activities, including being the U.K.’s cultural envoy to Southeast Asia. He has close ties with Singapore – the film school at Lasalle is named after him, and he regularly delivers masterclasses there.

Talking about the current state of the Singapore film industry, Puttnam said, “I think there is just a sense of ‘success is possible,’ but it now needs a push. I really think it’s taken too long to come to the party. The moment is now. Actually, the moment is past now, the moment was two years ago.”

Puttnam said that the Singapore industry needs to grow in self-confidence, and that neighboring Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam are making faster progress.

Puttnam also spoke out against red carpet events. “As an industry, I’m very worried that we’ve become red carpet obsessed,” Puttnam said. “It’s got nothing to do with making movies.” Puttnam said that making cinema is a lengthy and painful process and the red carpet is fleeting. He described red carpet pageants as “90-second thrills.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Sleepwalkers

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Sleepwalkers'

    Argentine writer-director Paula Hernández likes to explore what happens when characters from different worlds are thrown together. In her latest, “The Sleepwalkers,” which world-premiered in Toronto’s Platform competition before moving on to San Sebastian, the focus is on a discontented mother and her sullen, newly pubescent teen daughter, as they spend a New Year’s holiday [...]

  • Patti SmithVariety's 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Patti Smith Talks Biopics, Beats and Losing Her Cool in Front of Bob Dylan

    On Thursday afternoon Variety partnered with IFP for the first “10 Storytellers to Watch” event, and among the novelists, lyricists, podcasters, playwrights, graphic novelists and brand storytellers who were honored was the pioneering singer, poet and author Patti Smith. The legendary artist received the Impact in Storytelling honor not only for her formidable body of [...]

  • The Great Outdoor documentary series about

    Farm to Picture: Documentary Series 'The Great Outdoor' Chronicles a Life Gone to Pot

    Cannabis cultivation in the Emerald Triangle, the area in Northern California that has long been a go-to for growers, has a starring role in a new documentary series called “The Great Outdoor.” Funded by Flow Kana, one of the state’s leading cannabis flower brands, filmed by David Zlutnick, and executive-produced by Flow Kana co-founder Flavia [...]

  • 1982 El Gouna Festival

    Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival Puts Arab Helmers at Center Stage

    The upbeat state of Arab cinema will be on the screen and in the balmy air at Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival (Sept. 19-27), which is steadily gaining traction in its stated ambition to become a key platform and solid driver for Middle-East producers. “This year was one the best for Arab cinema,” says Intishal [...]

  • Star Skipper Paramount Animation

    Meet Star Skipper, Paramount Animation's Magical New Trademark Logo Character

    Studio logos are powerful signals to audiences.  Multiple generations of moviegoers flipping through channels or scanning streaming titles have frozen at the sight of a desk lamp hopping across the screen, because it means a Pixar movie is about to play. Likewise, when a young boy lounging inside a crescent moon casts his fishing line into [...]

  • Sybil

    Cannes Competition Movie 'Sibyl' Finds North American Home With Music Box (EXCLUSIVE)

    Music Box Films has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to Justine Triet’s darkly comic drama “Sibyl,” which competed at Cannes and had its North American premiere at Toronto in the Special Presentation section. Represented in international markets by mk2, the film follows the ambiguous relationship between Sibyl, a jaded psychotherapist (Virginie Efira, “An Impossible [...]

  • Kent Jones Directs 'Diane'

    Kent Jones to Exit New York Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

    In a surprise move, New York Film Festival’s director and selection committee chair of seven years Kent Jones will step down following this year’s 57th edition, which runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13. The departure comes as Jones’ feature filmmaking career is taking off. Issues of potential conflicts of interest have arisen as his work has moved [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content