Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Sunday, 21 June 2009 15:34 UK

Call for 3D Olympics screenings

By Neil Smith
Entertainment reporter, BBC News, in Edinburgh

Chris Hoy wins gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics
"Every day" of the Olympics could be shown in cinemas, Lord Puttnam said

Digital technology could enable the 2012 Olympics to be shown in 3D in cinemas across the UK, former film producer Lord Puttnam has said.

It should be possible to show the London Olympics "every single day in 3D on every screen in the country", he said at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

3D sport, he said, could be a "real game changer" that could put cinemas "at the heart of digital Britain".

He was speaking in the wake of Lord Carter's Digital Britain report.

Digital technologies, including broadband, have the potential to transform the role of cinemas
Lord Puttnam

That report, published on Tuesday, laid out the government's strategy for broadband and digital content.

Best known for producing such films as Chariots of Fire, Local Hero and The Killing Fields, David Puttnam was made a Labour peer in 1997.

Sir Sean Connery, patron of the Edinburgh Film Festival, was among the audience as he offered his thoughts on cinema in the digital age.

"Digital technologies, including broadband, have the potential to transform the role of cinemas," he said.

"The film industry, and film culture in general, have a fantastic opportunity to play a pioneering role."

'Far too timid'

Currently, he continued, just 10% of cinema screens in the UK were equipped for digital presentation.

Its flexibility, however, enabled cinemas to become "incredibly valuable focal points, especially in smaller and more rural communities".

Lord Puttnam - who described himself as a "quasi-politician" and "something of an outsider" - said the film sector must prepare for "a new round of change".

Cinema, he went on, had a "significant political role in moments of crisis" and could speak to people of all ages and backgrounds.

However, he continued, contemporary cinema "remains far too timid about using its ability to positively influence young minds".

Climate change was one issue filmmakers should tackle more often, he said.

They should also shake off the notion that films could be either worthy or successful, but rarely both.

'Dangerous propaganda'

Since leaving the world of commercial film, Lord Puttnam has become chancellor of the Open University and president of Unicef UK, a post he will shortly relinquish.

Lord Puttnam
Lord Puttnam won the Bafta Academy Fellowship award in 2006

Earlier this year, he launched the Curriculum Foundation, a new organisation aimed at improving school life.

His other positions include president of the Film Distributors' Association and deputy chairman of Channel 4.

This, however, did not stop him taking the channel to task for airing The Great Global Warming Swindle in March 2007 - a programme, he said, that constituted "dangerous propaganda for a minority view".

Lord Puttnam's keynote address was held on the fifth day of the 63rd Edinburgh Film Festival, which runs until 28 June.

Actress Brenda Blethyn, US director Darren Aronofsky and Scottish film-maker Bill Forsyth are among this year's other celebrity guests.

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