Quango killed Scots zombie film, claims film-maker

Brad Pitt's zombie film World War Z was shot in and around George Square. Picture: Contributed
Brad Pitt's zombie film World War Z was shot in and around George Square. Picture: Contributed
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SCOTLAND has lost out on a new multi-million-pound blockbuster zombie movie – after the failure of a bid for funding from arts agency Creative Scotland.

Hollywood star Dougray Scott headed to Wales to make the eagerly awaited “zombie safari” thriller Generation Z rather than his home country after the failure of the bid to bring the production to Glasgow.

Glasgow-based film-makers behind the box office hit Sunshine on Leith spent six months wooing production partners, only for a deal to lure filming to Glasgow to collapse after they secured less than half the requested grant from Creative Scotland.

Black Camel Pictures said they were left “humiliated” after the quango – which was asked to provide its maximum production grant of half a million pounds – offered just £200,000.

Generation Z was due to spend four weeks on location in Glasgow, twice as long as Brad Pitt’s zombie film World War Z, which was partly shot in and around George Square.

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Co-founder Arabella Page Croft said the company has now been left “disillusioned” and “depressed” over the state of the Scottish film industry because of the lack of funding and support.

She is due to give evidence today to MSPs as part of an inquiry into the creative industries, which was instigated by Holyrood’s economy committee in the wake of mounting protests over the lack of a proper film studio.

Scotland is now said to be lagging way behind both Wales and Northern Ireland, where Doctor Who and Game of Thrones are filmed respectively.

To add insult to injury over Generation Z, which has also been filming in Mallorca, the new zombie movie is being directed by a long-time Scots-based collaborator with Black Camel. Director Steve Barker, who lives in Glasgow, made the first two films in the Outpost horror series in Scotland.

In her evidence to the Holyrood inquiry, Ms Page Croft criticises Creative Scotland for its “erratic” support.

She states: “My company was publicly unsupported by its national agency responsible for film and we ended up humiliated in our deal-making with a seriously reduced position.

“We lost a pan-European co-production opportunity, ownership stakes in the film, national spend, local employment opportunities, skills and career development opportunities for cast and crew, and important international relationships were bruised and a potentially wonderful marketing opportunity for Scotland was lost.

“Furthermore, our company lost its much-needed production fee.

“We simply can’t have this happening here any longer. Producers need to trust their agency to deliver when trying to bring in films for co-productions.”

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland said: “All of our decisions are taken based on a balance of what a project offers in terms of the creative and professional development of Scottish-based talent and the economic benefit of the project.

“It is our understanding that a decision was taken by the producers to move the project to Wales as a result of a change to the finance plan – not as a direct result of Creative Scotland’s offer of funding.”

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