Fiona Hyslop jets off to LA on Scots movie mission

PRODUCERS of Hollywood blockbusters such as The Hunger Games and the Batman series are to be encouraged to use Scottish talent and locations in forthcoming productions.

Fiona Hyslop will meet Warner Bros and Lionsgate in Los Angeles during her Scotland Week trip to the US. Picture: Getty
Fiona Hyslop will meet Warner Bros and Lionsgate in Los Angeles during her Scotland Week trip to the US. Picture: Getty
Fiona Hyslop will meet Warner Bros and Lionsgate in Los Angeles during her Scotland Week trip to the US. Picture: Getty

As part of the Scotland Week celebrations in the United States, culture secretary Fiona Hyslop will meet representatives of film makers Warner Bros and Lionsgate during a visit to Los Angeles next week.

Infrastructure secretary Keith Brown will travel to Toronto and New York, highlighting existing and recently enhanced transatlantic air routes which played a key role in the success of last year’s Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.

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Ms Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government has consistently championed Scotland as a location for international film and TV productions, with notable recent successes including World War Z, Under The Skin, The Railway Man and Outlander, which is already the largest ever foreign direct investment in Scotland’s creative industries.

“Scotland is already widely recognised for our world-class talent, crews, facilities and breathtaking locations, and the Scottish Government and its agencies are committed to working together to continue to create and nurture the conditions that will support our industry to flourish.”

Ms Hyslop added: “The Scottish Government remains committed to optimising the economic potential of the creative industries as a whole. Support has already been provided to more than 850 organisations under the Interactive Scotland programme over the last five years, which has enabled them to innovate and adapt to the opportunities from digital technology within the creative sector and over 100 companies in the last year or so to support international growth plans.

“This Scotland Week, I’ll be working hard to generate more jobs and investment for Scotland.”

However, the Conservatives questioned what economic benefits were actually resulting from ministerial trips.

MSP Alex Johnstone said: “You would think after question marks over Alex Salmond’s taxpayer-funded jaunts across the pond, the Scottish Government might rein this in.

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“When ministers do embark on these trips, there has to be evidence of some kind of positive impact for Scotland.”

A film studio for Scotland has long been proposed. Speaking at the Berlin International Film Festival last month, Arabella Page Croft, co-founder of Glasgow-based Black Camel Pictures, said: “In spite of my best and most passionate endeavours, I watched as a major European co-production opportunity walked out the door from Scotland to Ireland – and this is with the script actually set in Scotland.

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“It’s that bad even films with a Scottish story can’t come here.”

In January, Scottish Enterprise confirmed it was considering a bid for a privately funded studio, with five locations being considered, including in Cumbernauld and Glasgow.

The Scottish Government set up a Film Studio Delivery Group in 2013 and invited bids. Next month, a £2 million tax credit loan fund and £1m screen sector skills fund will be launched for one year. Both will be administered by Creative Scotland.

Scotland Week starts on Saturday in New York, with a 10k run in Central Park.