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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Puttnam lauds Mrs Brown success but fears for future of Irish film

Brian Byrne

Published 27/06/2014 | 02:30

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Having their photograph taken at the National Digital Strategy held at Dublin Castle yesterday was from left, Helen Kehoe from Wexford from BTEI Wexford Computing , Digital Champion, Lord David Puttnam and  Stella O'Connor from Louth and Meath Education Training Board.
Having their photograph taken at the National Digital Strategy held at Dublin Castle yesterday was from left, Helen Kehoe from Wexford from BTEI Wexford Computing , Digital Champion, Lord David Puttnam and Stella O'Connor from Louth and Meath Education Training Board.
Brendan O Carroll and wife Jenny Gibney at premiere last night
Brendan O Carroll and wife Jenny Gibney at premiere last night

OSCAR-winner David Puttnam has declared his love for 'Mrs Brown's Boys', but admitted he is concerned about the future of Ireland's television and film industry.

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The prolific British film producer said he was "thrilled" Brendan O'Carroll's brainchild has made it to the silver screen in 'Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie', and revealed he played a part in its international success story.

Mr Puttnam told the Irish Independent: "I was involved very early on in trying to get the studios interested in doing some movies. I'm thrilled to bits it's being done. The nice thing is that BBC Films is going to make a lot of money, which will be very welcome."

However, Mr Puttnam, who has lived here for 26 years, was less enthusiastic about the rest of our television and film industry, and showed concern for the coming generation of filmmakers.

"I'm very proud of this country's contribution to the arts. I think it's punching more than its weight, but it's patchy," he said.

Mr Puttnam, whose films have won 10 Oscars and 25 BAFTAs, admitted: "Obviously the literature is very strong, and the visual arts have done very well in the last few years. Our movies are pretty good, but could be better.

"The only thing that worries me is that there is a generation of people my age, like Jim Sheridan, who are eager to see what will follow. It's beginning to emerge, but we can't be sure yet if this generation will be as strong as the one I enjoyed."

The former chancellor of the University of Sunderland also condemned the Irish education system, stating: "At some point, rather quickly, Ireland is going to have to reinvent its education system so that young people coming out of school can compete properly in the 21st century."

Mr Puttnam was attending the National Digital Strategy update event at Dublin Castle yesterday, which marked the 100,000th person to receive computer training under the Government's €6m BenefIT training scheme.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte announced at the event, via satellite link from a school in Arranmore, Co Donegal, that a further €400,000 was being allocated to the programme.

Irish Independent

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