Greater Scottish filming incentives urged

Scenes from the movie World War Z were filmed in Glasgow. Picture: Robert Perry

Scenes from the movie World War Z were filmed in Glasgow. Picture: Robert Perry

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FILM and television companies need greater incentives to encourage them to come to Scotland, according to the national arts body.

Creative Scotland has identified incentives for production companies - such as tax breaks for filming in Scotland - as one of its key priorities for the country’s film sector for the next three years.

Another priority should be the establishment of a sustainable film studio, the arts body said in its new film strategy for 2014-17.

Natalie Usher, director of film and media at Creative Scotland, said the “ambitious strategy” set out its aim “to make Scotland home to a vibrant, culturally diverse and commercially competitive film sector”.

Films such as World War Z, a zombie movie starring Brad Pitt, and sci-fi thriller Under the Skin, which features Scarlett Johansson, have been filmed in Scotland, as well as the US TV series Outlander.

But Creative Scotland believes more can be done to boost the sector, and wants to see greater support given to writers for script development.

It has also identified the need to use targeted programmes to fill the skills gap in the sector as another priority.

The strategy document states that focusing on priorities such as these over the next three years “will mean that Scotland is better equipped to compete on an equal footing with other territories, encourage international ‘mobile’ productions to establish themselves and shoot in Scotland and, at the same time, support the nation’s own film sector”.

The report went on: “This focus is intended to generate the conditions for a larger number of films to be produced in Scotland each year; both productions from Scotland as well as international mobile productions.”

It highlighted the benefits this could bring, stating: “In addition to the associated cultural and commercial benefits that films bring to Scotland, they also raise the profile of Scotland nationally and internationally.

“This brings additional employment, expenditure and skills development for craft and technical crew, together with business opportunities for production, distribution and exhibition companies.

“This increase in production in Scotland is also fundamental to the studio facility and maintaining its operation with demand at levels which will make it successful.”

Ms Usher said: “The strategy focuses on the five key areas of film education, talent and skills development, film development and production, inward investment and co-productions and distribution, exhibition and audiences.

“Our ambition is to generate the conditions necessary to position the film sector at the heart of Scotland’s economic and cultural life.

“We will concentrate our efforts on the priorities outlined in the strategy over the next three years so that Scotland is better equipped to compete on an equal footing with other countries.”

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