THRILLING suggestions that a film studio might be built in Gartcosh could inspire the next homegrown Steven Spielberg.
That is the hope of MP Tom Clarke – a long-term supporter of the British film industry and MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.
Scottish Enterprise has commissioned a feasibility study into the possible creation of a major film and TV studio in Scotland.
The results are expected in December and there has been speculation that possible sites could include Gartcosh.
MP Tom Clarke said: “It’s got everything to be said for it. The location couldn’t be better. The transport links are excellent and with the Campsies in the backdrop, lots of film directors would find that very attractive.
“I also think – having visited schools in my own constituency like Chryston High – the talent locally is unbelievable.
“It would be a fantastic opportunity to have such a thing on our doorstep.”
Mr Clarke was deputy director of the Scottish Film Council and was appointed as the first minister for film in 1997.
He brought acclaimed director Sir Richard Attenborough to Moodiesburn and Gartcosh in 1997.
Mr Clarke highlighted the contribution of late colleague John Brown, who lived in Muirhead, and said a new studio would present a good oppotunity to remember him.
Mr Brown was also a leading light in the Scottish Film Council, as well as writing for the screen – including scripts for ‘Taggart’ and 2006 film ‘The Flying Scotsman’.
Mr Clarke said: “It would be very appropriate to remember a great Scottish screenwriter who just happens to be a former resident of Muirhead just next door to Gartcosh.”
David Smith, director of creative industries at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We need the private sector to work with us and Creative Scotland to develop a long-term, sustainable film and TV production studio facility in Scotland.
“To help potential studio investors and operators we’ve commissioned a study to identify a number of potential options, locations and business models so that these companies fully understand the choices they have when considering Scotland as a business location.
“The first phase of the study, looking at initial feasibility and option development, has been completed with the full study due to complete by December.”
A spokesperson for Scottish Enterprise confirmed: “There’s no firm shortlist of potential locations at the current time.”
It would be up to the private sector to select appropriate sites and delivery models, depending on local facilities and resources.
Meanwhile, a major new time-travelling TV series is being filmed at a former electronics plant in Cumbernauld. It is estimated more than 2,000 supporting actors and ‘extras’ will be needed for the show, based on the best-selling ‘Outlander novels’, over the next few months.
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