Scots movie mogul urges country to create more studio facilities to treble industry's value

One of Scotland’s leading film producers has urged the country to step up efforts to create new studio facilities to capitalise on the streaming boom.

Iain Smith, whose credits include Seven Years in Tibet, Cold Mountain, The Killing Fields, Mad Max Fury Road and The Fifth Element, predicted the value of the industry could be trebled from its current value of around £100 million.

But he said Scotland was lagging well behind securing a proper share of productions and described the pace of the industry’s development as “slow motion.”

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Smith was speaking as filming gets underway on The Rig, a new supernatural thriller being made by Amazon Prime at First Stage Studios, Edinburgh’s first full-time studio facility in Leith Docks.

Smith said: “We’ve identified an increase inward investment coming into the UK as a whole for years now.

“The real issue has been how can Scotland increase and improve on its share of that.

"Even last year, the turnover from productions was well over £2 billion in the UK, but a disproportionate part of that just wasn’t coming here.

“Scotland is doing well in the sense that the Wardpark studio facility (where Outlander is filmed in Lanarkshire) and the new Leith studio are really good. The new studio is an examplar of the demand that is out there. I believe they have strong interest for things to come in after The Rig.

Picture: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

“We are doing things in Scotland, but in my opinion we are doing them in slow motion.

“I think we could treble the value of inward investment in Scotland if we had more facilities. We need to build a proper industrial base in Scotland to get everything going properly.

“All the signs are that with streaming business kicking in big-time, there will be a huge need for new content.

“They are looking to stimulate production around the world. Netflix in particular is looking to create new hubs where productions are made locally but with a global potential.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, Scotland can benefit from that, but it has to get ready for it. They have to believe it – all the evidence is there that this is a burgeoning business.

"I’ve always said that the potential in Scotland, with Edinburgh and Glasgow so close together, is phenomenal.”

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