By Brian McIver

He is the Scots film producer behind hit movies such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Local Hero.

Now he has teamed up with Jason Connery to help support the next generation of Scots talent.

Iain Smith, whose movies include The Killing Fields, Cold Mountain and The A Team, has been appointed as the first president of the Scottish Youth Film Foundation, with actor and director Connery signing up as patron.

Smith said he joined the charity – which runs an annual film festival as well as organising outreach programmes in schools – because he wants to help improve opportunities for young people in the industry in Scotland.

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He said: “When I was asked what I was going to do when I grew up, I would say I’m going to make films, and subsequently left for film school in London, because that opportunity wasn’t available in Scotland.

“I have never forgotten those years and have devoted myself to trying to improve the opportunities available for young people in Scotland.

“Joining SYFF as president allows me to do that in a tangible way and I look forward to getting involved.”

Mr Smith, from Glasgow, is the current chairman of the British Film Commission and was awarded an OBE in 2008 for an incredible contribution to UK cinema, having now been in the business for more than 50 years.

His career also includes Oscarnominated films such as The Mission and Children Of Men, and he is currently working on the eagerly-awaited Neil Gaiman series The Sandman.

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Smith is joined by actor and director Connery, son of the legendary Edinburgh-born actor Sir Sean Connery.

Jason was best known for his acting work in television shows such as Robin of Sherwood and, after moving behind the camera, he won a Scottish Bafta for directing golfing drama Tommy’s Honour.

Connery, who also runs new Leith-based film studio First Stage, joins actors Rachel Jackson, Andrew Thornton and Sara Vickers in becoming patrons of the foundation, and said he was delighted to do his bit to help young people get into the industry.

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He said: “I feel there is far too much emphasis put on who has the right to tell stories on film. I hope to help young Scots extinguish that belief and to promote the idea that anyone can tell their stories.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with money or right. It has to do with having fun, expressing themselves, telling their stories and not being hogtied by social constraints.

“That is why I am a SYFF patron.”

SYFF co-founder David Barras said: “Since we launched SYFF in 2014, we have worked directly with hundreds of young people across Scotland, and the Scottish Youth Film Festival has seen over 650 films submitted.

“We are delighted to welcome our new patrons and we are especially proud to announce Iain as our first-ever president. His passion for film making and decades of experience ,combined with Scottish roots, will be invaluable as we take forward our ambitious plans to reach more young Scots in 2021 and beyond.”