“Be ready to give the answers to your audience.”
That was the verbal gauntlet thrown by Lord David Puttnam in a videolink seminar to the students of Puttnam School of Film. In his first seminar of 2015 on the 9th of January, Lord Puttnam addressed the crucial responsibility that we, as budding filmmakers, have been bestowed upon and how it would eventually be our turn to be the voice of our generation. It might seem like an extremely Herculean challenge that has been put forth by the man who brought us the horrific history of the Khmer Rouge through the film, The Killing Fields, but it is utterly true that it lies with us, the future generation of filmmakers, to find a voice that is synchronous with the audience of today so that we can influence tomorrow.
Many great filmmakers have walked this path of ensuring that moments of their generation are preserved so that future generations can look upon the mistakes and learn from them. Lord Puttnam reinforced this idea by showing clips from movies such as The Battle of Algiers and All The President’s Men. Drawing focus on to the film The Battle of Algiers, as the title implies, depicts the war-related occurrences of the Algerian War set in the 1950s and despite it begin set some 60 years earlier, some of how the depicted events played out are as hard hitting and relevant, today.
Our generation has been gifted the instant access of news and it is becoming increasingly obvious that we live in a world that is both volatile as well as terrifying. A terrorist beheading someone can be as viral as a cat playing the piano as mentioned by a Year 2 student and our ditor, Aron Castro. The message and impact of each of these videos become so watered down and meaningless, it renders our generation aimless. We are without a sense of direction and passion.
This is where we, as the filmmakers of tomorrow, have to serve as the wedge between rehearsed hilarity and reality. We must be present in addressing the issues that plague our society and bringing them to the big screen instead of shying away from it.
So, as Lord David Puttnam eloquently put it: “wake the f*** up”. As all New Year resolutions go, that was like an epic roundhouse kick to the face. Get out there and give a voice to our generation…or at least try to do so in between making cat videos because “with great power, comes great responsibility”.
Dhinesh, currently a Year One student at Puttnam School of Film, aspires to be writer (or a bartender, if all else fails). An ardent cat lover, he enjoys good beer, a good book and good company. And the occasional char kway teow (with extra cockles).