Hollywood in the Lothians

Scotland’s first film studio is on the way and our place in the arts world continues to rise. But possible cuts to Creative Scotland bodes a worrying future…

Hollywood has been making the rounds in Edinburgh lately. The recent Trainspotting 2 release brought a lot of film buzz to the capital. And only back in March did we see the Avengers cast filming in town for the new Marvel instalment, Infinity War.

But Marvel’s filming crew had to create a makeshift studio in a Leith warehouse in order to make up for Scotland’s lack of facilities. Not every film producer is going to make that financial sacrifice. It’s about time Scotland accommodated to the increasing demand.

It’s unsurprising then, the Scottish government have finally given the Pentland Studios in Straiton, Edinburgh, the green light. It will be Scotland’s first purpose-built film studio.

It took the Scottish government over two years to juggle the pros and cons before coming to a decision. The main argument against being a studio would mar the local landscape. But developments are inevitable. Would we rather have Scotland’s first film studio or more housing?

However, the studio will create over 1000 jobs and boost the nation’s tourism and economy. It also means we will not keep losing out on huge Hollywood productions to the rest of the UK.

Pentland Studio birds eye view of Architects Render – Copyright Keppie

This has been the case several times. Scotland lost out to Northern Ireland on being the filming location for Game of Thrones. And now they are seeing over £400 million growth in tourism spend this year thanks to the hit show. Even 1995’s Braveheart, a film based on legendary Scottish hero, William Wallace was primarily filmed in Ireland.

Things are looking up, however. A Mary Queen of Scots biopic – starring big names, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie – is being filmed around Edinburgh. The studio even recently had a casting call for bearded Edinburgh locals.

Aspiring actors in the Lothians can rejoice. They might finally have career opportunities on their doorstep with Hollywood moving. The new studio could provide more acting roles for Scottish actors. But it would inspire a new generation of Scots to pursue a career in the film industry. It is an industry fairly vacant of notable Scottish actors.

It’s worrying then, that Scotland’s main arts body, Creative Scotland has recently warned of future cuts. This would affect funding of arts and culture over the next few years. This could hinder theatre students from pursuing their dreams. Ultimately, it would deteriorate Scotland’s celebrated artistic charm.

Edinburgh only recently held its 70th annual Fringe Festival this year. It attracts hundreds of performers and thousands of spectators. Famous across the globe, the festival has turned the city into the cultural capital of the world. Edinburgh already has a firm grasp over performance and music. A film studio will finally legitimise its reputation as a cultural hotspot. We can only hope the studio will encourage greater funding in our arts industry too.

Pentland Studio, eye level view – Copyright Keppie