Jason Connery to lead film and TV studio in Leith
Jason Connery arriving for Edinburgh Film Festival in 2018 (pic: Terry Murden)
Sir Sean Connery’s son Jason is to spearhead a new film and television studio space in Edinburgh, 20 years after his father led a similar project.
First Stage Studio will be based in a former wave power factory in Leith after winning a tender from Screen Scotland.
The site will include five sound stages and 27,000 sq ft of flexible production office space.
Screen Scotland, which promotes film in Scotland, said it was “a major step forward in the county’s ability to take advantage of the global boom in high-end TV and film production”. It will invest £1m towards the initial set-up and refurbishment costs.
First Stage Studio will move into the Pelamis building, built in 2000 for engineering firm VA Tech but closed four years later. Pelamis collapsed in 2014.
The huge shed on an 8.6 acre site was used for some of the production work on Disney/Marvel’s blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War in 2017.
Oscar-nominated and Bafta-winning film and television producer Bob Last will work with Jason Connery whose acting career included a series of Robin Hood for television.
The former Pelamis building in Leith
Mr Connery said: “There is no question Scotland needs a film studio, I could not be more excited to be involved in bringing it to fruition.”
Mr Last added: “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.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Having a studio of this scale will provide a home in Scotland for film and high-end TV productions, generate significant revenue for Scotland’s wider economy and support sustainable careers across the film and TV industry from writers, producers and directors to those working in craft and technical areas.”
Isabel Davis, Screen Scotland’s executive director, said the studio was “key” in expanding film and TV production in Scotland.
“Bob and Jason bring a wealth of expertise and industry knowledge that is invaluable to the development of the studio,” she said.
“Scotland is internationally renowned for its world-class talent, crews, facilities and breathtaking locations, this facility means we can raise the visibility of Scotland on screen, anchor more film and high-end television productions in Scotland and capitalise on the global boom in the industry.”
Plans for a £250m studio complex off the by-pass and near the Pentland Hills were halted in November 2018 by a court’s decision that a tenant farmer could not be removed from his land.
PSL Land, the team behind the Pentland Studios project, is now looking at a site at Saltersgate, near Dalkeith.