Lord Puttnam, a legendary figure in the British film industry, is making a return to producing after a nearly two-decade absence to produce Greenpeace activist drama Arctic 30. He is teaming with Corniche Pictures’ Hani Farsi for a joint venture to produce a feature based on the recently published book Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg by Ben Stewart, about the true story of 30 men and women who took on Russia’s largest oil company to save Earth’s most precious landscape.
Lord Puttnam’s filmography boasts 10 Academy Awards, 25 BAFTAS and a Palme d’Or, with such classics as The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots Of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone under his belt.
Farsi, a co-owner of prestige French distrib Le Pacte, has developed a reputation as a sophisticated financier and producer through Corniche Pictures. He has exec produced Atiq Rahimi’s The Patience Stone, Elia Suleiman’s The Time That Remains and Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Corniche also produced feature docus We Are The Giant, and 20,000 Days on Earth, featuring Nick Cave. Le Pacte has eight films in this year’s Cannes Film Festival with four in Official Selection. Farsi also was responsible for bringing Mel Brooks’ one-man show to London and also will be bringing Young Frankenstein to a London stage.
“In 2005 I had the privilege of chairing the committee that scrutinized and then steered though Parliament the world’s first climate change bill,” said Puttnam. “Prior to that, I’d spent 25 years actively engaged in one or other of the major UK-based environmental bodies. Little wonder that, as I get older, the issue of environmental sustainability absorbs more and more of my concern and attention.”
Added Puttnam, who has become a dedicated advocate for education in recent years: “Reluctantly, and rather late in life, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that the only professional tool I have at my disposal is that of a one-time producer. Not really believing in coincidences, I found myself absorbing Ben Stewart’s recounting of the adventures of the Arctic 30 at exactly the same time as being urged by my friend and colleague, Hani Farsi, to use my former skills to highlight my environmental concerns. The upshot of all of this is my decision to climb back into harness and hopefully help bring to the screen this amazing story. For me, it hits every button. I’m constantly reminded of the remark by Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state to the effect that our children “are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can actually do something about it.”
Said Farsi: “I have been friends with David for a number of years and have worked closely with him on a number of other projects through my foundation. It’s been a long-held ambition of mine to find a film project that we could work on together, and on reading the manuscript of Ben’s book, I knew immediately that this was it. David left an indelible mark on the British film industry, and his exit came all too soon. I am thrilled, to not just be able to tell the incredible story of the Arctic 30 but to be producing this with David Puttnam.”
The Arctic 30 gained international prominence when they attempted to attach a Greenpeace pod to the side of a floating offshore rig to prevent oil being extracted from the brutally cold Arctic waters. Before they could begin demonstrating, their boat was boarded Russian armed forces, who towed it out of international waters and imprisoned the activists at Russia’s most brutal jail, Murmansk.
Further announcements about the creative team are expected shortly.