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Co-producer attacks delays on Scotland studio

Renowned assistant director and co-producer Tommy Gormley has criticised what he sees as a lack of progress in the development of a purpose-built studio in Scotland.

Regarded as one of the industry’s best assistant directors, Gormley is a Glasgow native and regularly collaborates with JJ Abrams and his production team. Gormley’s recent credits include Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek Into Darkness and the last three Mission: Impossible films.   

He has written an open letter to politicians in Scotland reacting strongly to recent comments from Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise which he said suggested the country’s industry could continue to grow without a studio.

Scotland is a popular filming location – appearing in high-profile films like Skyfall (pictured), Cloud Atlas and The Railway Man – but often only on a short-term basis. The lack of a purpose-built studio facility is seen as a major obstacle hampering the country’s international filming appeal. 

“A film studio is no panacea, and it doesn’t in itself solve the problem of this low spend ratio, but it is a vital component of the film production process and absolutely a prime mover in where films and high end TV shows choose to base their productions,” Gormley said in his open letter.

“I truly believe, with all my experience and knowledge of this field, that a film studio would a true hub for our industry, and would gather together the critical mass required, in terms of skills, crewing and ancillary support, to be a game-changer for filmmaking in Scotland.”

Creative Scotland has since reiterated its commitment to a studio, agreeing that it is “essential to drive growth in the sector”. The organisation points out that Scotland’s screen sector continues to grow without a purpose-built studio. 

Nearly £50m was spent on location filming in Scotland in 2014, marking a £10m increase on the previous year. However, the reality remains that there is considerable scope to accelerate this growth if big-budget international productions are able to plan longer shoots in a purpose-built studio. 

For more on filming in Scotland see our production guide.

Image: Francois Duhamel/United Artists Corporation/Columbia Pictures


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