British Film Commission Backs Calls for Creation of Scottish Studio Facility

Iain Smith

BFC chairman Iain Smith welcomed a report that shows there is "evidence of a clear and present opportunity for a studio facility in Scotland."

LONDON – The British Film Commission is backing calls for the creation of a film and TV studio facility located in Scotland.

The BFC welcomed on Friday a report entitled "Delivery Options for Production Space for Film and TV," commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, which suggests that there is "evidence of a clear and present opportunity for a studio facility in Scotland."

BFC chairman Iain Smith, himself a Scottish film and television producer based out of Pinewood Studios on the outskirts of London, has long been an advocate of a studio in Scotland.

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Said Smith: "Scotland's creative talent and locations have long attracted major film and television productions. This report confirms it is the perfect time to capitalize on the business opportunities afforded by the U.K. government film and television tax reliefs as other parts of the U.K. have. A studio is an essential part of the equation. It's very encouraging that the report recognizes this."

The report shores up the view that the introduction of the nationwide tax credit for high-end television shows and the ongoing movie production tax relief system has provided a major boost to business levels.

Adrian Wootton, BFC chief executive and Film London chief added: "The television tax relief has been a game-changer. Whilst our major U.S. film clients tend to be based around London and the southeast of England, our high-end television clients take full advantage of the whole of the U.K. -- for example, HBO's Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland, Starz' Da Vinci's Demons in Wales and ABC's Galavant in the southwest."

Wootton said a studio "would undoubtedly add to Scotland's draw for major producers of film and television, building on the success of Outlander," referencing the Sony/Starz TV drama that has been shooting in converted warehousing near Glasgow since late last year.

"Although not quite full as is often reported, the U.K. is incredibly busy and we continue to receive huge numbers of inquires, and therefore we fully support the need for a studio in Scotland," Wootton said.

The report, to which the BFC chairman and executives contributed, explores the various options and sites for a potential studio in Scotland with the key criteria agreed to be that it must be close to a good source of crew, film and television support infrastructure and good transport links.

Scottish locations have long been popular with U.S. studio features, including Sony's Skyfall, Warner Bros.' The Dark Knight Rises and Paramount's World War Z.

The BFC backing for the Scottish industry comes just months ahead of a September vote that will call on residents of Scotland to take to the polls to decide on Scotland independence. If a majority vote yes, the country will break from the United Kingdom.