Blockbusters mean big bucks for Argyll and Bute

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The silver screen is delivering a new gold rush as film production companies declare it’s time to call for lights, cameras and action in Scotland.

A string of Hollywood blockbusters and independent films have boosted the economy by millions of pounds as crews spend weeks on location filling the coffers of local businesses and services.

Argyll and Bute has become the latest area to declare the benefits of being in Hollywood’s spotlight, with a fresh report estimating that more than £1 million was generated last year when tinsel town came to call.

Scenes from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and romantic comedy Love Me To Death were shot in the area, which has become a desirable location for film crews from around the world.

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This follows the estimated £17m put into the economy as a whole by the Netflix Robert the Bruce drama Outlaw King, starring Chris Pine – the largest production ever staged in Scotland – which was filmed in multiple locations, including Edinburgh, West Lothian, Aviemore and Glencoe.

Scotland’s cities have also recently benefited from the arrival of film crews, with the latest flick from the Fast and the Furious franchise – starring Idris Elba – taking over city streets in Glasgow this year.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and Waverley Station also made an appearance in the blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War, while other big budget productions to pick Scotland as a backdrop include the recent biopic of Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, Batman: The Dark Knight, and the Harry Potter franchise.

The lavish ongoing TV series Outlander has been shooting in locations around Scotland since 2014, while more recent productions include the Inverness-born star Karen Gillan’s debut feature film as a director The Party’s Just Beginning, and the next instalment of the James Bond series, which also saw scenes shot in Glencoe for the film Skyfall.

Argyll councillors are now considering a new arrangement which could net the area £1,000 per day to film one of its most prominent assets from one film crew.

Jurassic World was filmed at Arrochar and Glen Mallan Jetty at Loch Long. while
And Love Me To Death created a stir in Lochgilphead when cast and crew arrived to film at various locations around the town.

But more than 40 productions have been shot in the council’s zone since the trial of a charging schedule, known as “Film in Argyll and Bute”, began in August 2018.

Of those, 11 have entered into a film location agreement with the council, bringing in a total of £7,805 in commercial and statutory fees.

The council’s executive director with responsibility for economic growth, Pippa Milne, revealed that the overall value of the filming was estimated to be £1,088,500 last year.

The details of what productions have been shot in the area, and any others in the future, have been kept confidential where possible, as has the location of the potential money-spinning production.

Ms Milne’s report said: “In 2018 the value of filming in Argyll to date is estimated to be £1,088,500 as a consequence of the 40 productions known to have been filmed in the area.

“It should be noted that the council are yet to enter into a formal agreement with a large production company which could potentially raise an income of £1,000 per day in commercial fees for the use of one of the council’s assets.

“Economic development will continue to promote the council’s assets as potential locations to forthcoming inquires where appropriate.

“The purpose of the council providing a service to the screen industry is to ensure that we continue to attract inward investment into Argyll and Bute and take advantage of any economic opportunities that may arise as a result of a production filming in the area.”

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Aside from money spent on catering, crews, transport and other areas needed by a modern production, blockbusters are also helping put Scotland on the map.

VisitScotland says the growing sector of film tourism is booming, with fans travelling from across the globe to see the places featured on the big screen.
Jenni Steele, film and creative industries manager at VisitScotland, said: “Argyll is no stranger to onscreen appearances, with James Bond, Downton Abbey and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom just a few of the titles to be filmed in the region. 

“Major TV and film productions such as those not only boost the local economy in the short-term by production spend but can have long-lasting effects. Our research shows that one in five visitors is inspired to come to Scotland after seeing it on the big or small screen offering opportunities for the tourism sector promote the region to an already captive audience.”

Welcoming the latest data for Argyll, a spokeswoman for VisitScotland, said: “Film and TV productions not only showcase the unique mix of stunning landscapes, rich heritage and fascinating stories Scotland offers but can inspire set-jetting fans to visit, with research showing that one in five visitors come here after seeing Scotland on the big or small screen.”

 

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