Struggling Scottish film industry held back by ‘luvvies’ image

A leading location manager claims nothing has been learned in 20 years. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

A leading location manager claims nothing has been learned in 20 years. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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Scotland’s struggling film and TV sector is being left behind the rest of the UK due to a perception from quangos that it is dominated by “luvvies” rather than a proper industry, one of the country’s leading behind-the-scenes figures has warned.

Leading location manager David Taylor accused public sector agencies responsible for the industry of “failing to take advantage” of a boom in filmmaking in the UK.

Mr Taylor – whose previous credits include Whisky Galore, Under The Skin and World War Z – said the country had failed to learn from the success of blockbuster films like Braveheart and Rob Roy 20 years ago.

Mr Taylor accused the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise of virtually ignoring the case for a permanent film studio in Scotland, despite decades of campaigning.

Mr Taylor, who is on a taskforce behind the new Association of Film & Television Practitioners Scotland lobby group, said “decisive action” was needed to overhaul Scotland’s screen sector, which has a share of just three per cent of an industry now worth £1.47 billion.

The Cumbernauld warehouse complex used for the American TV series Outlander is set for £4 million worth of public funding to expand. However there is mounting industry support for a 
£230m studio development earmarked for green belt land on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Mr Taylor said: “The UK screen sector is booming because of the current competitive tax incentives and Scotland is failing to take advantage of it. Scotland’s screen sector is looked after by Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland, whose diverse remits are not conducive to growing the sector.

“Meanwhile there is a state-of-the art film studio complex near Edinburgh that would have six sound stages and other related businesses, including a film school. That’s been practically ignored. It’s woefully overdue. It hasn’t really got through yet that we’re not just luvvies. As a nation we’re falling so far behind. That’s down to not having a hungry stand-alone film agency.”

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