First four stages at Pentland Studios are skedded to open in 2017
Among Hollywood productions to shoot recently in Scotland was season one of Starz’s sci-fi fantasy series “Outlander,” which employed around 400 crew members. Bringing the show to Scotland led to the creation of a 140,000-sq.-ft. production facility at Cumbernauld, but there is an urgent need for more production facilities. The extension of the U.K. film tax credit to big-budget TV drama series has seen a surge in Hollywood projects coming to the U.K., and underscored the lack of studio space there.
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The 29-acre development at Straiton, where Pentland Studios would sit, includes hotel, leisure and retail facilities. The first four film stages are scheduled to open for business in 2017, with a further four stages to follow in the second phase of development. The largest of the stages, at 30,000 sq. ft. and 70 ft. high, will be capable of accommodating the largest blockbuster movies, and there will be 52,000 sq. ft. of workshop space once the project is complete. The plans will require a greenlight from local officials at Midlothian Council.
Among the partners behind Pentland Studios are Jeremy Pelzer, a former studio chief at London’s Ealing Studios and a former head of London’s Elstree Studios, and Donald Wilson, who has held senior positions at Murray Intl. Holdings and Premier Hytemp.
Gordon Ash, a director of Pentland Studios, said: “Our vision is to create the most modern film studio in the U.K., with the scale and facilities to attract filmmakers from all over the world.
“Scotland has already shown in recent years, with productions such as ‘World War Z,’ ‘Cloud Atlas’ and ‘Outlander,’ that it has the scenery and locations to compete on a global level. What we are missing, however, are the really large-scale studio, filming and production facilities that would complement our locations, and enable Scotland to harness much of the high-level investment that currently goes elsewhere.
“Our team comprises a range of film industry, property and finance experts with many years of international experience, and we are very confident the location at Straiton offers an unbeatable combination of scale, facilities and deliverability.”
If Pentland Studios get the go-ahead, the development could receive state aid. Creative Scotland, the government body that oversees film and TV policy in Scotland, has pledged $1.67 million for the construction of film and TV production facilities, and the Scottish government has offered a further $3.34 million loan for their development.