Great to see that the Edinburgh economy has already benefitted from almost £8 million from the Trainspotting 2 filming. The ongoing and growing success of this sector to our local economy often goes unnoticed.
We mention the extra hotel rooms they sell but what about the small businesses who also gain from the sector – the sandwich shops, restaurants, bars, retailers, hairdressers, security and transport – and receive some of the local income spent. This is then followed up with the tourists who create and safeguard thousands of jobs not only in Edinburgh but throughout Scotland.
Midlothian Council is currently waiting for the decision of the Scottish Reporter on whether the privately funded Pentlands Film Studios will receive the go-ahead. We have been awaiting this for over a year, so hopefully this recent success will convince the civil servants that this is a sector that we should grow now as the demand for film products and the growth of the sector with a never ending increase in channels looking for new programmes and ideas. We as a city are already heavily invested in our creative industry and this, of course, goes hand in glove with the film sector.
For example, to create a film involves number of IT specialists, writers, editors, animators, costume designers, graphic designers, musicians . . . the list goes on and on. This is an industry that can grow and create opportunities for our citizens, but we need to capitalise on our profile quickly. We are currently receiving headlines from T2 and Outlander, but what is next?
It was interesting to see the entourage that the Outlander production brought to Holyrood Park last week – the marquee with the many 17th century Scottish outfits on clothes rails, the very excited fans in Tweeddale Close. There were also the opportunities many locals received as extras – what a great experience. I recall in the original Trainspotting film, the shoppers who inadvertently appear such as a friend’s mother, shopping in Princes Street with her plastic bags looking surprised as two of the characters run past her.
Ireland has, for many decades, benefited from their film industry – Game of Thrones being just one recent success – they even have a tour based around the areas they film in.
Film Edinburgh should be recognised as they have been key to attracting the latest film interest in the city. They have a charter which makes it easy for possible producers and directors to see what infrastructure and help we can offer – traffic management, list of buildings, and personal houses that are open to film. Indeed, you may want to consider approaching them with some photos of your own home which could potentially be suitable for the big screen, why not?
This is a win, win business and the more we can welcome them and help them, the better. Please join me in hoping that this success will continue and let us offer any help required. You never know: you could end up on the big – or little – screen yet!
Frank Ross is depute council leader at Edinburgh City Council