There is “increasing confidence” that a national film studio will become a reality, the boss of Scotland’s creative industries body has told MSPs.
Janet Archer, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said the studio was “absolutely fundamental” to developing the screen sector but she refused to give assurances it will be up and running in three years’ time.
Ms Archer was challenged on the progress of the project during an appearance at Holyrood’s Education Committee.
She told MSPs that “pop-up” studio space was available to producers who wanted to film in Scotland and claimed the recent announcement of a £1.75 million production growth fund was helping to “increase the appetite of producers not just in Scotland, but beyond Scotland, to want to come and work here”.
However, she was pressed on the creation of a permanent studio by SNP MSP Chic Brodie, who asked if one would be in place within three years.
“We are talking about the progressive future for the film industry in Scotland,” Mr Brodie said.
“I think you know I am as driven and passionate about the need to develop a film studio in Scotland as you are,” Ms Archer said.
“In fact, at this very moment there is a meeting taking place with Scottish Government colleagues and Scottish Enterprise to discuss the film studio.
“I think we are all aware there is a commercial proposition on the table, it looks very exciting, all the players involved are feeling increasingly confident in respect of the film studio coming into realisation.
“We just have to wait until the processes that need to be gone through are delivered before that can be made public.”
Ms Archer’s comments come after Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop was forced to address criticism over a lack of progress earlier this month.
Ms Hyslop told the Scottish Parliament that talks were continuing but she was unable to provide details of “who, where and when”.
Earlier this year, she told a Holyrood inquiry that a proposition from a private-sector developer was close to being agreed.
Scottish Enterprise said at the time that it “was working towards completing due diligence and agreeing heads of terms with the developer within eight weeks”.
Ms Hylsop says the Scottish Government cannot build a public-sector studio space because such a move would breach European state aid rules.
The film studio is still subject to negotiation with the private partner, she added.
Last week, theeconomy, energy and tourism committee at Holyrood heard SNP MSP Christian Allard call for Dundee to become home to Scotland’s film industry.