Glasgow & West Scotland

Scotland missing out on film production cash, MSPs told

Outlander Image copyright Starz/Sony Pictures Television
Image caption Outlander is filmed at the Wardpark studios in Cumbernauld

Movie companies are using sheds to film in Scotland due to a lack of studios, MSPs have heard.

Film manager Rosie Ellison said Scotland attracted £52m through production in 2015, while the UK as a whole brought in more than £2bn.

Giving evidence at Holyrood, she urged investment in studios to attract more productions such as TV hit Outlander.

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead said Scotland's 2.5% share of the UK market was "not good enough".

MSPs were told Outlander, a huge US production, had built its own private film studio at Wardpark in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

But Ms Ellison, the film manager of Film Edinburgh, said the majority of the £2bn was spent on studio production south of the border.

"This is where the money is being spent," she told Holyrood's culture committee.

"In Scotland we have Wardpark Studio which is brilliant, thank goodness we have this, and other than that we have various sheds, which get converted for a short period of time while a film uses it and then they are set back to normal.

"That's one of the reasons we haven't been able to get more of the £2bn that is available out there, we haven't got the studio infrastructure."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Scenes for World War Z were filmed in Glasgow

She welcomed the decision by Scottish ministers to approve planning permission for a controversial film studio development in the Pentlands, but added: "We still need more film studios in Scotland."

Freelance location manager Lloret Dunn, who has worked on World War Z which was filmed in Glasgow and Trainspotting T2, said Wardpark is not available to productions other than Outlander.

She said: "With a studio, we will be providing so much more in the way of jobs and benefit our economy dramatically."

Marie Archer, arts development officer at Aberdeen City and Shire Film Office, told the committee an increase in film production had been "life-changing" in her area.


She said: "In the last five years we have had an increase in production that has been life-changing for our communities.

"My communities have seen opportunities to have feature films filmed in their local towns. I've had a young person whose come back to film in his home town as part of a professional crew. We've had young people who have told us it was life-changing.

"While we understand that the creative economy has a huge power within Scotland, in some of our regions that creative economy is only lightly touching our regions.

"In the north east of Scotland film has changed that for us, but we need further support and investment to maintain that in a time when local authorities are having to make some strong choices."

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