VisitScotland Business Events team puts film industry in spotlight

Scotland’s screen industry could be “at the dawn of a golden age”, according to the chair of Independent Producers Scotland.

John Archer, of Glasgow-based Hopscotch Films, is among the guest speakers at a special VisitScotland event in the Highlands on Thursday 8 June, when Scotland’s increasingly prominent role in the film industry will be under the spotlight.

Organised by the national tourism organisation’s Business Events team, Archer will join a number of other producers and industry professionals at INNOVATEFILM at Inverness’s Eden Court Theatre.

Part of the XpoNorth programme as well as VisitScotland’s INNOVATETHENATION talk series, INNOVATEFILM will provide a networking opportunity for industry leaders and the business events sector, while also celebrating Scotland’s creative vibrancy.

According to the latest available (2016) figures from Creative Scotland, production spend in Scotland is at an all-time record high of over £50m, and is set to increase with the likes of Avengers: Infinity War being shot in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

There is also a growing confidence in the sector, evidenced by the Scottish Government granting in-principle planning permission for a new purpose-built film and TV studio in Midlothian, alongside the significant expansion of Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld.

The VisitScotland event will examine the industry’s £50m contribution to the economy and the opportunities the sector holds for future generations of Scottish talent.

Lindsay McGee, a producer at Braw Films, will also be at the event, while Mark Stothert of Cape Wrath Films will be discussing his recent experiences of shooting Edie with Sheila Hancock and Kevin Guthrie. The movie, shot at the stunning but remote mountain, Suilven in Sutherland, will have its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival later this month.

Archer said: “INNOVATEFILM comes at a crucial moment for the screen industries in Scotland. We’ve had a lot of soul searching and there is some agreement on the way forward. If filmmakers, government agencies and broadcasters can work together and get it right, we are at the dawn of a golden age.”

Fiona MacKinnon, business development manager for VisitScotland Business Events, said: “Film and the creative industries are a crucial sector in marketing Scotland both at home and around the world. By their very nature they have a unique ability to inspire and showcase our rugged and beautiful landscapes as well as our thriving cities.

“The INNOVATEFILM event, as part of the INNOVATETHENATION programme, provides an opportunity for local experts and industry champions to network for future collaboration, to help bring the best business events to Scotland and boost its profile on the world stage.”

XpoNorth director, Amanda Millen, a former BBC drama producer who also leads XpoNorth’s screen and broadcast network, ScreenHI, said: “The backdrop of Highlands and Islands has played a starring role in many high-profile films in recent years and there’s a wealth of behind-the-scenes talent helping to make that happen.

“The speakers on VisitScotland’s INNOVATEFILM panel have all been involved in the growth of this sector and understand the challenges and possibilities which face filmmakers. The event promises to be a fascinating session and a highlight of the screen and broadcast section of XpoNorth.”

The event’s Q&A session will be chaired by Lawrence Sutcliffe, Film Officer for the Highlands of Scotland Film Commission, while the overall session will be chaired by Fiona MacKinnon, and Jenni Steele, VisitScotland’s Film & Creative Industries Manager.

Martin Fullard

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Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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