Connery-led company to run film studio in Leith

Bob Last and Jason ConneryImage source, Stewart Attwood
Image caption,
Bob Last (L) and Jason Connery (R) inside the huge building

A company, led by Sean Connery's son Jason, has won the tender to run a large-scale film and TV studio space in Edinburgh's Port of Leith.

First Stage Studio will be based in an industrial building in Bath Road.

Screen Scotland said it was "a major step forward in the county's ability to take advantage of the global boom in high-end TV and film production".

The body, which promotes film in Scotland, will invest £1m towards the initial set-up and refurbishment.

The site will include five sound stages and 27,000 sq ft of flexible production office space.

It will be housed in the "big blue shed" building, three miles from the centre of Edinburgh.

Image source, First Stage Studios
Image caption,
The company will operate from an industrial building in Leith

It was built in 2000 for engineering firm VA Tech but closed four years later.

The building lay empty for several years before wave power firm Pelamis took over. The company collapsed in 2014.

In 2017, the facility was temporarily turned into a film studio as part of the production for Disney/Marvel's blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War.

Oscar-nominated and Bafta-winning film and television producer Bob Last will work alongside actor and director Jason Connery.

Mr Connery said: "There is no question Scotland needs a film studio, I could not be more excited to be involved in bringing it to fruition."

Mr Last added: "We look forward to building on the strong interest already expressed by international and UK customers. We are grateful to Screen Scotland for their commitment to an ambitious film and television sector and look forward to contributing to its development."

The limited company will manage, operate and promote the 8.6-acre facility to productions from the UK and around the world.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "Having a studio of this scale will provide a home in Scotland for film and high-end TV productions, generate significant revenue for Scotland's wider economy and support sustainable careers across the film and TV industry from writers, producers and directors to those working in craft and technical areas."

Image caption,
An aerial image of the building at 31 Bath Road in the Port of Leith

Isabel Davis, Screen Scotland's executive director, said the studio was "key" in expanding film and TV production in Scotland.

"Bob and Jason bring a wealth of expertise and industry knowledge that is invaluable to the development of the studio," she said.

"Scotland is internationally renowned for its world-class talent, crews, facilities and breathtaking locations, this facility means we can raise the visibility of Scotland on screen, anchor more film and high-end television productions in Scotland and capitalise on the global boom in the industry."

In November 2018 plans for another Scottish film studio were halted by a court's decision that a tenant farmer could not be removed from his land.

A £250m studio, which was to feature six huge sound stages, had been planned for about 100 acres of greenbelt in the Pentland hills outside Edinburgh.

A Scottish Land Court ruled that land from two smallholdings could not be used for the development.

PSL Land, the team behind the Pentland Studios project, is now looking at a site at Saltersgate, near Dalkeith in Midlothian.

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