Scottish sites in running for major film studio

Sunshine on Leith. Picture: Contributed
Sunshine on Leith. Picture: Contributed
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FOUR sites are vying to become home to a major film and TV studio in Scotland, The Scotsman has learned.

A major feasibility study ordered earlier this year is understood to have identified possible sites in Glasgow and Lanarkshire.

The economic viability of each site - on the Clyde waterfront, at Dalmarnock, in the city, and Gartcosh and Cumbernauld, in North Lanarkshire - will be tested over the next few months before final recommendations are made to the Scottish Government at the end of the year.

News of the four possible sites has emerged 12 months after Creative Scotland ring-fenced £1 million for the project.

Film City Glasgow, an existing production facility at the former Govan Town Hall, was awarded £75,000 to pursue the idea for a neighbouring site.

However the stakes were raised dramatically when the owners of an industrial estate in Cumbernauld clinched a lucrative deal to host filming for the US fantasy series Outlander, which is due to begin shooting at the former Isola plant later this year. Other buildings on the site are also being converted for possible studio use.

Both parties are in talks with Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, which has commissioned the new study, about the possibility of becoming home to a permanent facility. But little is known about the other two sites at Gartcosh and Dalmarnock.

David Smith, director of creative industries at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We need the private sector to work with us and Creative Scotland to develop a long term, sustainable film and TV production studio facility in Scotland.

“To help potential studio investors and operators we’ve commissioned a study to identify a number of potential options, locations and business models so that these companies fully understand the choices they have when considering Scotland as a business location.

“The first phase of the study, looking at initial feasibility and option development, has been completed and we’ll be able to share initial findings shortly. The full study is due to be completed by December.”

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland said: “We look forward to seeing the initial findings from Scottish Enterprise’s study, discussing these with the film studio delivery group and the sector and progressing towards the development of a long term, sustainable film and TV production studio facility in Scotland.”

The findings of the £75,000 Scottish Enterprise study will be discussed by a special “film studio delivery group”, which was set up by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop earlier this year. At the time she said there was “clearly” an appetite for a large-scale studio in Scotland.

Creative Scotland is also working on its own study of the film sector, which is nearing completion.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Through Creative Scotland, we are doing much to support the film and television industry in Scotland, supporting the local industry as well as attracting international productions.

“A recent example of this is the four indigenous films which made their debut at the Toronto International Film Festival to great acclaim; Sunshine on Leith, The Railway Man, Under the Skin and Starred Up each received support of £300,000 from Creative Scotland, as did Filth, which premiered in Edinburgh earlier this month.

“Attracting international productions is a key strand of Creative Scotland’s work and the new television series Outlander, which starts shooting soon in Cumbernauld, is the biggest inward investment in film and television ever secured in Scotland.

“This is a welcome vote of confidence in our first-rate facilities and talent production crews and cements our nation’s reputation as a sought-after location for major productions.

“Scotland has the capacity and talent to become a global centre of TV and film production and we are committed to supporting this vital industry.”