Scots film industry soaring as spending nears £100m

Saoirse Ronan and Jack Lowden in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)
Saoirse Ronan and Jack Lowden in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)
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Extensive filming on blockbusters Avengers: Infinity War, Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots has sent spending on film and TV productions soaring to nearly £100 million.

The fantasy time travel series Outlander has also helped the value of the Scottish industry more than double in the space of just four years.

Latest available figures show that spend on film and TV in Scotland in 2017 reached �95 million ' the highest level since records began.

Latest available figures show that spend on film and TV in Scotland in 2017 reached �95 million ' the highest level since records began.

Arts agency Creative Scotland has revealed a £26m surge in spending by production companies and film crews in the past 12 months alone.

The overall tally of £95m for the 2017 calendar year compares to £45m in 2014 and £23m in 2007.

Outlaw King – the Netflix epic starring Hollywood actor Chris Pine in the lead role – is the biggest ever film production shot in Scotland.

Shot in multiple locations, including Edinburgh, West Lothian, Aviemore and Glencoe, it is estimated to have been worth around £17.5m to the economy. Last week it emerged the film, which will launch on Netflix in November, will open the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

The same month will see the release in cinemas of Mary Queen of Scots starring Margo Robbie and Saoirse Ronan.

Filming on Avengers: Infinity War, part of which was shot across several locations in Edinburgh, including the Royal Mile and Waverley Station, was worth about £10m.

The new figures have been released by Creative Scotland to coincide with the official launch of its long-awaited dedicated screen unit.

To be known as Screen Scotland, it has been set up over the past year since the Scottish Government agreed to double the budget of the film and TV industries to £20m.

Led by former BFI 
executive Isabel Davis, the screen unit has been charged with more than doubling the value of the industry from the £69m recorded in 2016 to up to £160m by 2022.

Creative Scotland chair Robert Wilson said: “Building on the sector’s achievements to date, these latest announcements deliver further on the promise to increase funding, build stronger relationships at home, in the wider UK and internationally, and increase capacity within Screen Scotland.

“With Isabel Davis joining us to lead Screen Scotland in a matter of weeks, David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King opening Toronto International Film Festival, the extraordinary feature documentary Aquarela receiving its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival next month, as well as record levels of production spend in Scotland, these are truly exciting times for Scotland’s screen sector.”

Creative Scotland has also announced the opening up of a new £3m broadcast fund ahead of the opening of the Edinburgh TV Festival later this week.

Other major productions recently shot in Scotland include Karen Gillan’s debut feature film as a director, The Party’s Just Beginning, and zombie comedy musical Anna and the Apocalypse.