Film industry generates record £6.6m for Edinburgh and Lothians

WITH its famous closes, scenic castle and rich history, there is little wonder that Edinburgh has been a draw to filmmakers from around the world.

Filming The Secret Agent in Thistle Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson

But this year, the popularity of the Capital and the rest of the Lothians amongst producers has reached a new high, generating an economic impact of £6.6 million.

The figure is up more than a quarter (27 per cent) than the amount generated in 2014.

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Industry body Film Edinburgh reported that it had the highest economic return in its 25-year history.

It is hoped the positive results for 2015 will boost the campaign for a dedicated film facility in the region, after plans were submitted for a £150m studio at Straiton.

The bumper year has been put down to three productions which based their entire schedules in Edinburgh.

One of Us, a thriller by the creators of hit series The Missing, and The Secret Agent, an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s famous novel, both BBC productions, were filmed in the Capital.

Key scenes were also shot in Edinburgh for feature film Tommy’s Honour, which explores the relationship between golf’s founding father and son.

Filming for One of Us at Edinburgh Bus Station. Picture: Ian Georgeson

A total of 353 productions were completed in the Capital in 2015, down three per cent on last year.

However, the number of shoots which were carried out following filming inquiries rose by three per cent.

Other high-value films and TV productions to film on location in the wider Lothians this year included Whisky Galore!, The BFG, The Correspondence and the second series of Outlander.

Edinburgh’s versatile and picturesque locations have also caught the attention of international commercial makers.

Filming Outlanders at Blackness Castle. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

In August, Dean Village was used as the backdrop for an advert for Chinese mineral water company Ganten.

The short film, featuring a prince and princess, was the latest in a series of ads for the brand, which has reportedly got more than one billion viewers enthralled.

Rosie Ellison, film manager at Film Edinburgh, said: “2015 has been a record-breaking year for filming production in the Edinburgh region.

“Crucially, the results reaffirm the hugely compelling case in favour of a film studio in the city region. A film studio would provide the much-needed facilities for companies to base their entire production in the region, not simply their location shoots. The benefits would be immediate and far-reaching.”

The city’s economy leader, Councillor Frank Ross, said the figures were “testament” to the hard work of Film Edinburgh.

He said: “It has been well documented that filming has a positive impact on tourism as visitors enjoy visiting the locations they have viewed on screen, so this increased activity is great news for the city. It also further strengthens the case for a film studio in Midlothian for the benefit of the city region and Scotland.”

Plans for the 86-acre Straiton Film Studio scheme, put forward by PSL Land Ltd, would be the first purpose-built studio north of the Border. A planning application was submitted in May, but permission has not been granted and may not be until June next year, once a local development plan is confirmed by Midlothian Council.