A significant film and TV studio development in Edinburgh, Scotland, has moved a step closer with the appointment of a local company to run the venture.
First Stage Studios, led by film and television producer Bob Last (The Illusionist, Tommy’s Honour) and actor and director Jason Connery (Tommy’s Honour), has been chosen to head the project at the Port of Leith site in the Scottish capital following an open tender process. They will manage, operate and promote the facility to UK and international customers.
The site has already hosted major productions including shooting on Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. The plan is to develop it into a fully-functional, full time studio space. Plans include five sound stages, with 160,000 sq ft of adaptive interior shooting space, as well as offices.
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Local body Screen Scotland is investing $1.3M towards the initial setup, with a raise of private sector finance planned.
There continues to be a clamour for shooting space across the UK. Last year, inward investment in the territory reached a new peak, with $4b spent on UK shores by foreign companies across film and TV. The trend has seen a scramble by the U.S. majors to tie up studio space: last year, Netflix signed a long-term deal to make Shepperton Studios its de facto UK production hub, while Disney entered a similar deal at Pinewood. There is wide acknowledgement that new studios need to be built, and as Deadline has reported on several occasions so far in 2020, there are multiple projects in the works; which ones actually come to fruition, and when, remains to be seen.
“The studio is key in expanding film and TV production in Scotland. We’re delighted to be working with First Stage Studios to bring it to life. Bob and Jason bring a wealth of expertise and industry knowledge that is invaluable to the development of the studio,” said Screen Scotland’s Executive Director Isabel Davis.
“We look forward to building on the strong interest already expressed by international and UK customers. We are grateful to Screen Scotland for their commitment to an ambitious film and television sector and look forward to contributing to its development,” added Bob Last.
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