Filmmakers Using Sheds Due To Lack Of Studios In Scotland

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

Rosie Ellison, film manager of Film Edinburgh, said Scotland attracted £52 million through production in 2015 compared to more than £2 billion in the UK as a whole.

She urged investment in studio facilities in Scotland to attract more productions such as hit TV show Outlander, which built its own private film studio at Wardpark in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead questioned why Scotland only attracted around 2.5% of the UK expenditure, saying that was "not good enough''.

Giving evidence to Holyrood's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, Ms Ellison said the majority of the £2 billion was spent on studio production which is mainly housed south of the border.

She said: "This is where the money is being spent. 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 £2 billion that is available out there, we haven't got the studio infrastructure.''

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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