New production incentive set to boost Scottish film and TV industry

Scottish Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, has unveiled the new £1.75 million Production Growth Fund, which aims to attract international film and television to Scotland.

The funding, which will comprise £0.75 million from the Scottish Government and £1 million from Creative Scotland, met from within existing budgets, will run over the remainder of 2015/16 and 2016/17 with a view to further enhancing Scotland’s offer as a base for major productions, as well as boosting home grown talent and the local economy.

Discussing the fund, Natalie Usher, Director of Screen at Creative Scotland, said it was a “strong indication of our government’s determination to create the best possible environment for the screen sector to thrive”.

Scotland’s ‘go-to’ locations for international productions

Major international productions have already made frequent use of the wealth of diverse and beautiful locations that Scotland has to offer. Recent titles include box office hit Fast and Furious 6 (Universal) and the critically acclaimed Under the Skin (Film Nation) starring Scarlett Johanssen. Scotland’s major cities are also well-known by US film makers for their versatility, doubling as cities including Philadelphia (Paramount’s World War Z) and San Francisco (Warner Bros.’ Cloud Atlas).

The Outlander effect

The most recent Scotland-based production to make its mark on international audiences is the hugely popular US television series Outlander (Sony/Starz/Leftbank). Currently in production on its second season, the historical-fantasy-romance is based at Wardpark Studios, an impressively converted industrial unit close to Scotland’s two main production hubs of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The show, which is broadcast on the Starz Network in the US and on Amazon Prime in Europe, also makes the most of Scotland’s many and varied historical locations including the towns of Falkland, which doubled for 1940s Inverness, and Cullness; Doune, Aberdour and Blackness castles; and the sweeping landscapes of Kinloch Rannoch to name but a few.

US Gamechangers in the UK

The unveiling of the fund comes at a significant time, as the BFC and Creative Scotland recently co-sponsored the highly successful ‘US Gamechangers’ strand at this year’s Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. The event strand served to expand the international content on offer at the festival while highlighting the current ‘golden age of television’ and what innovations might come next.

Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey MP, joined the BFC and Creative Scotland in hosting an intimate networking event for top US television execs from companies including HBO, FX, NBC Universal and Showtime, alongside key UK players.

Producer and BFC Chairman Iain Smith also attended the prestigious event in Edinburgh, and today commented on the new fund:

“The launch of the Production Growth Fund is excellent news for Scotland and the wider UK. As a producer, the new incentive adds an important dimension to Scotland’s already appealing offer of world-class talent, crew and glorious locations; and as Chair of the British Film Commission, the new incentive boosts our efforts in promoting the UK as the first choice for international filmmakers.”

Criteria and guidance for applicants is currently being finalised by Creative Scotland, who expect the fund will be open for applications by the end of October.

Something wicked this way comes….

Audiences don’t need to wait much longer to see for themselves what Scotland has to offer – Macbeth (Studio Canal/See-Saw Films) starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which was filmed on the beautiful Isle of Skye, is released at UK cinemas on October 2nd 2015, with a US release to follow in December. Catch the latest, thrilling trailer here.