SCOTLAND may yet boast its own film studio on Glasgow’s waterfront, under plans which have already won £1 million of public funding.
A gap site between the existing Film City Glasgow complex in the old Govan Town Hall and BBC Scotland’s headquarters at Pacific Quay is being touted for the project.
The £6.8m scheme would address long-standing problems of Scotland losing out on film productions, or only being able to accommodate location shooting because of a lack of studio space. Up to 30,000 square feet of studio space, along with an adjacent “facilities village”, is envisaged as part of the project, which has been backed by Creative Scotland and is being explored by the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.
Film City Glasgow, which is on the outskirts of the booming digital quarter on the banks of the Clyde, insists the proposition is a serious one, despite a series of previous plans floundering due to a lack of finance and problems finding a suitable location.
Detailed proposals for the studio concept – based on demand from film-makers and industry experts at home and overseas – will be explored as part of a major film sector review being conducted by the arts body.
Due to be published next year, the report will examine the full value of the film industry to Scotland, how to help attract more big-name films like Cloud Atlas and World War Z, and what steps are needed to encourage a new generation of young film-makers. Experts will also examine why so few feature films are made entirely in Scotland, with an annual average of just five produced in recent years, and explore whether more funding can be found for film productions.
Tiernan Kelly, director of Film City Glasgow, said: “The crucial thing about what we’re proposing is that we already have a huge amount [of space] in place, including 12,000 square feet of production office space and a 5,000 square feet studio which is already regularly used as a rehearsal space and for filming television programmes.
“We’d been talking about two separate sound stages, the biggest of which would be around 20,000 square feet.
“The project would make a massive difference to what Scotland could offer film-makers in future and prevent productions simply going elsewhere.”
Caroline Parkinson, director of creative development at Creative Scotland, said: “Scotland would benefit from and compete better with a fully equipped studio and facilities village – Creative Scotland fully supports the industry’s ambitions.
“This year’s Bafta nominations reflects Scotland on-screen talent, but we also have a wealth of talent behind the screen in our crews and facilities companies.”
The project was backed by a number of MSPs after being raised by SNP member Nigel Don at Holyrood yesterday on the back of Aberdeen securing location shooting for the film adaptation of Sunset Song.