Nicola Sturgeon urged to act on Scots film crisis

NICOLA Sturgeon has been urged to personally intervene over the “crisis” gripping Scotland’s film and TV industry, The Scotsman can reveal.

Campaigners have door-stepped Nicola Sturgeon in protest at the handling of the screen sector. Picture: PA
Campaigners have door-stepped Nicola Sturgeon in protest at the handling of the screen sector. Picture: PA

Campaigners have revealed they have “door-stepped” the new First Minister in protest at the handling of the screen sector and the failure to build a permanent studio facility.

The operators of Film City Glasgow, the country’s biggest hub for film-makers, which is in Ms Sturgeon’s constituency, later wrote to her to her to demand action over the performance of a task-force set up by the government to get a studio facility off the ground.

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The developments have emerged in the midst of a Holyrood inquiry into the state of the TV and film industries, that has heard how Scotland is lagging behind the likes of Northern Ireland and Wales.

Leading industry figures want the government to find around £1 million a year to help kick-start a revival for the industries, amid mounting concern over

Backers of the proposed Glasgow facility, which would be built close to BBC Scotland and STV’s studios at Pacific Quay, claim the terms of possible funding for the project have been “a moving target.”

They secured a £1 million pledge from arts agency Creative Scotland for their scheme in September 2012 while the government ring-fenced £2 million for a loan fund for production infrastructure a year later.

But Tiernan Kelly, director of Film City Glasgow, accused public bodies Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise of wasting “a six-figure sum” by spending almost two years analysing various options for a national studio without coming to any conclusions.

He has also compared the relationship between the two quangos - who are jointly responsibility for the film and TV industries - to “a failed marriage”.

In his submission to the economy committee’s parliamentary inquiry, he states that the film studio delivery group “has failed as an entity, lacks a fundamental understanding of the specific needs of the Scottish industry, and most concerning, has suffered from an obvious discord between the public sector agencies within the group.”

He added: “That it has not yet delivered after 21 months of deliberation and consultancy, and at a cost likely to be a large six-figure sum, is in our opinion testament to its dysfunction. Such expense and procrastination is difficult to justify, across any sector or agency.

“One can only speak specifically about personal experience and sector, but from my perspective, the relationship between Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise needs immediate attention. Metaphorically, it is a failing marriage, but ultimately salvageable with the appropriate counsel and action.”

In its submission to the Holyrood inquiry, the Scottish Government says it is “committed to taking whatever action is possible to provide support to Scotland’s screen sector.”

In response to Film City Glasgow’s submission, a spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to work hard with our partners at Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise to make progress on a film studio for Scotland and support for the film industry more widely.”