"Discussions are now at an advanced stage for an expansion of the Film City Glasgow project, which has helped produce a string of acclaimed hits including Red Road, Hallam Foe and Neds. A suitable 72,000sqft site has now been identified to house a large studio and production village.The pound(s)3 million facility is seen as the first phase of a "Scottish Hollywood" development, which would eventually boast a number of large studios to attract big-budget productions.
Film City Glasgow is actively discussing the funding of the project with its original investment partners, as well as national arts body Creative Scotland. Just pound(s)500,000 still has to be found to get the initiative off the ground...
Gillian Berrie, co-founder of Sigma Films and founder of Film City Glasgow, said a major studio was urgently required. "We are trying very hard to expand into a bigger space which will be a studio and production village. There couldn't be a better time. At Film City we turn away two or three productions away a week because we just don't have the space. Sometimes even my own films can't get in, because it is first come, first served."
Berrie declined to reveal the exact location of the new site, which is expected to house a studio nearly five times bigger than Film City's current facility in Govan. However, she said it was in an "ideal" position for both the city centre and the countryside, as well as for major transport links, including the motorway and the airport. She added: "We have identified a site and we have backing from Creative Scotland. I'm really hoping we can have a Scottish studio by the end of the year."
In Scotland, the film and television industry currently employs almost 9000 people directly. More than 80 production companies and more than 300 facilities generate a turnover of around pound(s)1.2 billion per year. Local film-makers spent around pound(s)18m last year and the ability to attract large-scale productions is seen as vital to securing the stability of the industry."
Berrie said a studio would have a huge impact on the ability to attract inward investment, adding that she was "quietly confident" the plans will go ahead."I think we need to make funders realise the true impact of having a Scottish studio. It would be huge for the industry, for tourism and for television as well as film," she said.
"Studies have been done throughout Europe which show when a country doesn't have a studio, for every pound you put into a film, there is a 400% return. But if you have a studio, that goes up to 700%. It would put us in a very strong position."
Film City Glasgow was set up three years ago after a pound(s)3.5m investment from Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow City Council and the European Regional Development Fund.Its campus in the former Govan Town Hall brings together production and creative companies under one roof.
Tiernan Kelly, general manager of Film City Glasgow, said the proposed new site would be able to provide the large spaces required for TV and film facilities companies, alongside the studio.
"The project does not stand or fail on it being just a studio alone," he said. "The money that would be made from the other side of the business would keep it going for as long as it takes to get a big studio project in the building.It is being driven by the fact we are turning indigenous projects away, so there is a real demand for this infrastructure in the industry."
Kelly said the size of the studio was likely to be around 20,000sqft, which was on a par with what is available at most other UK studios. But he added: "We appreciate that perhaps a big Hollywood film isn't going to come unless there are four of those. So this is definitely part one of further hopeful expansion. If we had studio facilities, we would certainly have more to offer incoming feature films."