Friday, 12 December 2014

Petition Mission: a Glasgow-based film hub

I came across this petition today on, and it's one that, both as a Glaswegian and as someone who would like to see a bit more in the way of location diversity in UK-based film and television (i.e. not another cop show set in London!), I think is well worth signing:

Recognise that a Glasgow based production facility will be at the very heart of the cultural and commercial screen industry in Scotland.
An Open Letter to the Scottish Film Studio Delivery Group
10th December 2014
After many years of inertia and procrastination, there is now a clear and present opportunity to build not just a film studio, but also a globally significant screen production facility for Scotland.
This facility would deliver double advantages:
1.   The creation of Scotland’s first dedicated studio for the production of international and indigenous film and television projects, alongside a facilities village of companies providing ancillary services to the production industry.
2.     The further development of a creative cluster which would become a nexus for Scotland’s indigenous industry, acting as a catalyst for future collaboration, convergence, and of course skills development and delivery.
The Film Studio Delivery Group was convened in May 2013, and was to be a vehicle by which the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, and Creative Scotland, aimed to deliver ‘a sustainable studio for Scotland’.
Our industry is global, and with that comes fierce international competition, therefore any steps to create a sustainable studio and indeed grow the industry in Scotland would have to be considered, viable, and incremental.
Central to this ambition is location.
We not only have the opportunity to cluster rather than fragment screen and creative industry talent, but also to provide a sustainable commercial income stream to underpin any cyclical use of the studio, workshop and office facilities that would be ring fenced for production use. Pragmatism must come into play, and a stand-alone facility would be vulnerable to the easy-come, easy-go vagaries of the international marketplace.
Star Wars Co-Producer Tommy Gormley reiterated the importance of location in his recent BAFTA Scotland award acceptance speech, highlighting ’I think it should be located in an existing creative hub which we can expand on’.
Undoubtedly, the city of Glasgow has this competitive advantage and baseline of strong screen activity to expand on.
There is an existing critical mass of companies and facilities activity in the city, the major terrestrial broadcasters, over 50,000 sq ft of sound and picture post production houses, new hotel developments, Glasgow School of Art's world leading Digital Design Studio, and existing screen and creative micro-clusters such as Film City Glasgow and The Hub.
Productions using Glasgow will enjoy close links to the city’s existing cultural and hospitality amenities, together with the thicker pools of freelance workers and talent living in the city and surrounding areas. Indeed, Glasgow has the highest density of production crew and facilities companies anywhere in Scotland.
Transportation and access to a Glasgow site is enhanced by close proximity to the major airports and transport hubs, and strategically connects with the new £40m Fastlink system, which opens in 2015. Clearly, Glasgow has the potential to be home to one of Europe’s most connected screen production facilities. Institutionally, in addition to the national cultural and enterprise agencies, a Glasgow based facility would have the added support of a film office, marketing bureau, business support agencies, chamber of commerce, and a tacit connection with one of the world’s strongest city brands.
As evidenced by Game of Thrones in Belfast, a globally celebrated high-end drama production can be delivered from a relatively small footprint in the very heart of a metropolitan environment. Titanic Studios covers approximately 10 acres of land less than 2 miles from Belfast City Centre. Glasgow has at least double this amount of developable land for a screen facility – a tantalising prospect.
We agree with the Film Studio Delivery Group that any development of a film, high-end television, or indeed animation, facility in Scotland has to be sustainable, but such sustainability will only be achieved with the right location, and with a regular and demonstrable commercial income stream.
Glasgow is the right location.
Other sites currently under consideration, such as Cumbernauld and the M8 corridor, are compromises that will not deliver the double advantages of a connected, accessible , facility, married with commercial sustainability. There is little appetite amongst the many skilled workers, screen companies, post houses, or facilities companies to permanently relocate outside an urban centre, and certainly wholly impractical for the many academic institutions delivering screen industry training to align themselves with an inaccessible, out of town screen facility.
Contrast this with a Glasgow based facility, at the very heart of both the cultural and commercial screen industry in Scotland.
Longer term, and once a more tangible critical mass of screen production companies and facilities exists, an Edinburgh based facility could further complement Scotland’s production offer.
We, the undersigned, ask the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Creative Scotland to urgently reconsider any moves to develop a screen facility or studio outside of an urban centre, and to recognize that currently, the metrics of place, connectivity, accessibility and sustainability can be only fully realised within the city of Glasgow.
Alan J. Wands, Producer (STONEMOUTH, FIELD OF BLOOD)
Allan Hunter, Co-Director, GLASGOW FILM FESTIVAL
Allan MacDonald, Managing Director, MNE
Allison Gardner, Head of Cinemas, GLASGOW FILM THEATRE
Andrea Calderwood, Producer, SLATE FILMS (LAST KING OF SCOTLAND)
Andrew Orr, Managing Director, INDEPENDENT FILM SALES
Anne Mensah, Head of Drama, SKY TV
Anne Murray, Business Relationship Manager, INVEST GLASGOW
Brian Coffey, Producer (CITADEL, STARRED UP)
Carole Sheridan, Producer, SINGER FILMS
Catriona MacInnes, Creative Producer, JUMP CUT
Colin Kennedy, Director, (SWUNG)
Compton Ross, Financier/Producer, (YOU INSTEAD, BELLE)
Dan MacRae, Head of UK Development, STUDIO CANAL
Daniela Nardini, Actor (SUNSHINE ON LEITH, FESTIVAL)
Danny McGrath, Assistant Director (PROMETHEUS, SHERLOCK HOLMES)
David Mackenzie, Director (STARRED UP, HALLAM FOE)
Dr. Belle Doyle, Screen Industries Freelance Consultant
Dr. David Archibald, Lecturer, Film & Television Studies, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
Dr. Katherine Champion, Research Associate, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
Gavin Smith, Creative Director Development, COMEDY UNIT
Giles Lamb, Managing Director, SAVALAS
Gillian Berrie, Producer, SIGMA FILMS
Greg Hemphil,l Actor/Writer (STILL GAME)
Gregory Burke, Screenwriter & Playwright ('71, BLACK WATCH)
Hamish Walker, Production Executive, GLASGOW FILM OFFICE
Jack O'Connell, Actor ('71, UNBROKEN, STARRED UP)
Jaki McDougall, Chief Executive, GLASGOW FILM THEATRE
Jennifer Reynolds, Film Commissioner, GLASGOW FILM OFFICE
John Archer, Producer, HOPSCOTCH FILMS
John O'Neill, Film Finance, THE O'NEILL PARTNERSHIP
Jonathan Olsberg, Screen Consultant, OLSBERG SPI
Kahleen Crawford, Casting Director (FILTH, ANGELS' SHARE)
Kate Dickie, Actor (RED ROAD, FILTH)
Katharine Otway, Film Business Affairs, KENREN MEDIA
Katie Lander, Managing Director, FINESTRIPE PRODUCTIONS
Lenny Crooks, Film Consultant, Visiting Faculty (STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY NY)
Martin Compston, Actor (SWEET SIXTEEN, LINE OF DUTY)
Michael McDonough, Director of Photography (STARRED UP, WINTER'S BONE)
Mike Bolland, Freelancer, Ex-CHANNEL 4, BBC, NFTS
Mike Kelly, Film Analyst & Consultant, NORTHERN ALLIANCE
Paul Laverty, Writer (MY NAME IS JOE, ANGELS' SHARE)
Peter La Terriere, Managing Director, EUROPEAN FILM BONDS
Peter Mullan, Actor/Director (SUNSHINE ON LEITH, NEDS)
Professor Nick Higgins, Director, Creative Media Academy, UWS
Reno Antoniades, Film Lawyer (RUSH, UNDER THE SKIN)
Richard Brown, Producer (TRUE DETECTIVE)
Rob Kettlewell, Financier, RED SKIN MEDIA
Roddy Hart, Musician, Actor (SUNSHINE ON LEITH)
Roland Kennedy, Director, FILM CITY CAPITAL
Sean Gascoine, Agent, UNITED AGENTS
Stuart Cosgrove, Director of Creative Diversity, CHANNEL 4
Sue Bruce Smith, Filmmaker
Suzanne Reid, Production Manager (DA VINCI'S DEMONS)
Tiernan Kelly, Director, FILM CITY GLASGOW
Tommy Gormley, Co-Producer (STAR WARS VII)
Tony Safford, Co-Head of Acquisitions, FOX SEARCHLIGHT
As you can see, it's already attracted the signatures of a number of heavy hitters in the industry, both local and from further afield. Please consider adding yours!