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'Golden age' of Scottish cinema

Press Release   •   Jun 07, 2017 10:08 BST

Actor Ewan McGregor and director Danny Boyle on the set of T2 Trainspotting in Edinburgh. Picture: Sony Pictures

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 tomorrow (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, John will join a number of other producers and industry professionals at INNOVATEFILM at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.

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 £50 million, and is set to increase with the likes of T2 Trainspotting and 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 £50 million contribution to the economy and the opportunities the sector holds for future generations of Scottish talent.

John Archer will be taking a retrospective look at Scottish film from its early days and where the industry is now.

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.

John 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.

Launched last year, INNOVATETHENATION provides a networking opportunity for academics and the business events sector, while celebrating Scotland’s vast innovation legacy and developing it for the future.

For more on the INNOVATETHENATION programme go to

To register for free tickets go to

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017