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Clear case for Scotland's first studio

SkyfallA report has been commissioned by Scottish Enterprise which confirms the need for a studio facility in Scotland, a call welcomed by the British Film Commission.

According to the report, which is called Delivery Options for Production Space for Film and TV, there is “evidence of a clear and present opportunity for a studio facility in Scotland”.

The UK as a whole has proved a real draw for international producers with its high end tax relief system, and studios are currently bulging with both overseas and homegrown productions, with behemoth titles such as Ant-Man being nudged out elsewhere.

The production boom in the regions and nations has been much in the news recently: Northern Ireland has Titanic Studios, famously home to Game of Thrones and currently awaiting a vital planning decision on a sizeable expansion, and Wales, which has long been heralded as a production hub, is now to be home to a Pinewood Studios outpost.

Although major features do shoot regularly in Scotland (World War Z, Under the Skin), there is still major demand for a permanent facility. When epic new drama series Outlander, backed by American money from the Starz network, was looking for a suitable home in Scotland, a warehouse in Cumbernauld was converted for the purpose.

The new report’s findings should bring hope and positivity to the Scottish film and TV industry, as well as the UK as a whole. Scottish film and TV producer Iain Smith, also BFC chairman and contributor to the report, emphasised the call for a major studio in Scotland – a cause he has long been championing – saying “Scotland's creative talent and locations have long attracted major film and television productions. This report confirms it is the perfect time to capitalise on the business opportunities afforded by Government film and television tax reliefs as other parts of the UK have. A studio is an essential part of the equation. It's very encouraging that the report recognises this.”

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, added “The television tax relief has been a game-changer. Whilst our major US film clients tend to be based around London and the south east of England, our high end television clients take full advantage of the whole of the UK, for example HBO's Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland, Starz' Da Vinci's Demons in Wales and ABC's Galavant in the south west. A studio would undoubtedly add to Scotland's draw for major producers of film and television, building on the success of Outlander. Although not quite full as is often reported, the UK is incredibly busy and we continue to receive huge number of enquires, and therefore we fully support the need for a studio in Scotland.”

It is hoped that the new complex could be up and running by 2017, at a cost of between £15m and £74m. The report also details several examples of potential locations, including Dalmarnock, Gartcosh, Cumbernauld, and Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

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