Scottish film stars urge Govt to build new studio


OVER 50 leading names in the Scottish film industry have urged the government to build a £15m studio in Glasgow.

The open letter has been signed by actor and director Peter Mullan, actor and writer Greg Hemphill, actors Gary Lewis and Ewen Bremner, actresses Kate Dickie and Daniela Nardini and writer Gregory Burke.

Tommy Gormley, the co-producer and assistant director of the new Star Wars film, as well as a number of other directors, actors, producers and senior executives also signed.

It has been sent to the body established by the government to deliver a film studio for Scotland – the Scottish Government’s Film Studio Delivery Group.

The letter urges the group to build a studio in Glasgow following “years of inertia and procrastination”. It says that the city would be the best site for such a studio as it has a “competitive advantage and baseline of strong screen activity to expand on”.

Earlier this year it was announced that Scotland should have its own studio following a “surge of interest” in filming, which has increased demand for studio space. It is hoped that a new complex will be up and running by 2017.

The letter, organised by Film City Glasgow, lobbies for the city location following discussions earlier this year of a potential site off the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

It says that other sites being considered, including the Cumbernauld studio created for the Outlander TV series and other locations along the M8 corridor, are “compromises that will not deliver the double advantages of a connected, accessible facility, married with commercial sustainability.”

It adds: “There is little appetite amongst the many skilled workers, screen companies, post houses, and facilities companies to permanently relocate outside an urban area.”

This contrasts, the letter says, with Glasgow which is “at the heart of both the cultural and commercial screen industry in Scotland”. It says that there is a danger that a stand-alone new studio would be a “white elephant, vulnerable to the easy-come, easy-go vagaries of the international marketplace.”

Both directors of the Glasgow Film Festival, Allan Hunter and Allison Gardner, have put their name to the open letter. Paul Laverty, writer of My Name is Joe and Angels’ Share, Jack O’Connell, star of Starred Up, and broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove have also added their names.

The Scottish Film Studio Delivery Group was set up by Fiona Hyslop, the culture secretary, in May. So far, there have been no announcements for a site or plan for the studio.

Five bids have been made for the studio, including one from Film City Glasgow, who organised the open letter.