Glasgow’s biggest hub for the film and TV industries is set to mount a bid to run the vast new studio proposed for Edinburgh’s waterfront.
Film City Glasgow has been used a base for some of the biggest Scottish movies in recent years, including Sunshine on Leith, Filth, Under the Skin and Red Road.
Now its operators have revealed they have spent more than two years pursuing plans for the former Pelamis wave power plant in Leith Docks.
It was interested in taking on the building even before it was deployed for the Avengers: Infinity War blockbuster, paving the way for it to be backed by the Scottish Government as the preferred site for a permanent “world class” facility.
Director Tiernan Kelly said he had even accompanied Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle on a tour of the site when it was in the running to be used for T2 Trainspotting.
Around £3.5 million was spent converting the historic Govan Town Hall into a major industry hub after the idea of creating a “film city” in Glasgow was pursued by one of Scotland’s leading producers.
Gillian Berrie, whose credits include Outlaw King, Starred Up, Hallam Foe, Perfect Sense and Under the Skin, has already thrown her weight behind the transformation of the Leith warehouse complex.
Screen Scotland, the new government-funded industry body, has launched a worldwide search for an operator of the venture. It is hoped up to 160,000 sq ft of studio space will be available, including five sound stages up to 100 ft tall.
Kelly revealed Film City Glasgow’s interest in the building at a creative industries summit in Edinburgh, which heard concerns that the tender timetable proposed by Screen Scotland will be “almost impossible” for potential operators to meet. Finals bids must be lodged by 1 February.
Kelly said he had “renewed optimism” that Screen Scotland would help deliver new screen infrastructure.
He added: “We’re very interested in it (the Pelamis building). We were working with Edinburgh City council in 2016, pre-Avengers, and spent a bit of money on scoping work on it. We walked around the site with Danny Boyle when he was looking to film T2 and couldn’t get it over the line.
“It’s a great asset and it’s got great potential. We’re going to look at it. We’d have liked a bit longer to work on it.
“From a selfish point of view, we’ve been all over it for two years, so we’ve perhaps got a head start in getting our heads around all the numbers and plans for the building.
“For someone coming in cold it’s a very quick turn-around. I know people have been working on it since last November. A hell of a lot of thought and work has gone into it.”