Town in frame for film base

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A bid by Glasgow artistes to create a film industry enclave in the city has collapsed in ruins – while a rival Cumbernauld plan is tipped to win.

Last month we reported how an open letter signed by a raft of Glasgow-based actors and other industry players made a straight pitch for Glasgow to be at the heart of Scotland’s nascent film industry.

The artistes specified Cumbernauld as being allegedly too remote from the supposed centre of endeavour in Glasgow – 20 minutes by bus from the city.

But this month the Scottish Government outraged backers of a plan to create a Glasgow film hub by ruling it out of the equation.

And simultaneously a private bid for a film studio scheme in Cumbernauld, backed by Scottish Enterprise, was reckoned a front runner alternative.

The town has been seen as a potential film hub option since a disused factory, formerly part of the OKI printworks, acted as main base for the hugely successful Outlander series – a hit in the USA which is soon to be screened in the UK.

The News and Chronicle’s sister paper, The Scotsman, said: “The former OKI printer plant in Cumbernauld is understood to be in the frame for the flagship project, after a host of other sites around Scotland were ruled out.

“The 200,000 square feet building, which has been un­occupied for almost a year, sits just a few hundreds metres from the temporary studio where the US television show Outlander is being made.

“The 13.8 acre site at the Wardpark Industrial Estate is also close to both Cumbernauld Airport and the M8.”

The need for a film hub is said to be urgent, since lack of adequate facilities is seeing prestigious and lucrative projects – notably Game of Thrones – lost to Scotland.

Outlander was reportedly worth £40m to the Scottish economy, but was only brought to Cumbernauld with the aid of investment support from the Scottish Government.

Cumbernauld community activist Adam Smith said: “I’ve been lobbying the Scottish Government for several years to locate Scotland’s first film studio in Cumbernauld and I’m delighted to see this take one step further to being realised.

“Outlander continues to be a huge success with around £40 million generated for the Scottish economy, with local people and businesses benefitting hugely from the show’s Cumbernauld production facility.”