2007 - 2021

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  1. John Mooney says:

    A great point of view from Douglas Henshall, c’mon Holyrood ,BBC.Scotland and STV.pull the bloody finger out and invest in Scottish film and drama,just look at Denmark and Sweden whom both put us to shame! C’mon get bloody well on with it!

  2. C Rober says:

    Douglas bud , the BBC budget you asked about , for drama , well of the 300m that is taken from the the licence tax in Scotland only 86 million is returned , which a fair chunk goes just on River shitty.

    If you have any power to rally the actors , writers , directors of Scotland then do so.

    Cumbernauld is in the fray for a closed set type film studio , if only one years remainder of the licence fee that goes to subsidise English programming is instead kept in Scotland , 214m , it could build the studio set and be an asset to Scotland.

    And there you have the new beginning , a state of the art one , pun intended.

    1. Jo says:

      “River shitty”


  3. peter thomson says:

    I recall filming over 30 years ago, in Nine Mile Burn Studios just outside Edinburgh, the cast Rikki Fulton, Chic Murray and Russell Hunter. Humorous day at work ! We were so excited about the chatter surrounding Sean Connery, and a proper Film-studio being built. A few years later, at Black Cat Studios in Glasgow, where the the outside façade begged many questions. So run-down, it flaked. I re-assured my London based, jaw-dropping client, that films are made inside the walls of studios, the Production gathered a Gold Clio at the New York Advertising Awards. My justification, merited. Today I listen to Douglas and can only echo the absurdity that in the intervening years Scotland has failed to build a proper Film studio or complex. Creativity and technicians really deserved better but it would appear, short-term gains always manifest within parochial constraints. I now hear of two or three studio projects, maybe one will actually get off the drawing-boards ?

  4. Anton says:

    An excellent, considered, and thought-provoking interview. Well done Bella.

  5. barakabe says:

    Why are the arts so historically despised in Scotland? Is it a combination of bourgeois vulgarity of the traditionally indifferent establishment in Scotland more interested in crude commerce/& or philistinian proletarian distrust of effete pursuits like the arts? Just as Douglas Henshall says in the interview: “art is a hobby”- it’s this kind of attitude that condemns us to terminal cultural decline & losing out in commercial possibilities (as is only too obvious when you look at Wales-Northern Ireland, not to mention Denmark et al). It really is quite depressing. But the attitude of the man on the street will be: “yae kin spend yer money oan something useful…like hospitals or schools”. And who can argue with that? Add into that that everything in the popular imagination is compartmentalized & mutually exclusive & you naturally have little space for debate on most issues.
    This explains why in terms of influence & activity we in Scotland have a negligible direct impact as a nation in the history of the greatest art form of the last century- how can we have a national cinema without a film industry or a film studio? How do even the smallest/poorest nations have a filmic voice in a European context ( ie Portugal, Greece, Rumania or the Balkan nations) not to mention the Nordic countries? Even Bill Douglas, our greatest filmmaker, is largely unknown in his own country & a marginal figure in the history of European film (yet more highly esteemed abroad)- a director who ought to be valued as highly as Bresson or even Dreyer in terms of the austere poetry of his vision ( even if he has such a modest catalogue of work)- & is this again another symptom of our marginalization as a nation with its own unique & independent identity? Can’t we just develop a vibrant arts culture- most specifically a film industry producing great art forms that reflect the local views of Scottish people- & just pretend that we’re a real nation for the time being?

    1. C Rober says:

      I dont think there is a despise of the Scottish arts scene , actually pre tv was its heyday , since then though it has been downhill , replaced by Soap propaganda , quiz shows , and dial in voting tribal shows.

      One shouldnt complain as much these days , the future for arts is already there in Social media , for those that are willing to do it for nothing but is sake…. ie a hobby , for the love of it , not instead the profit from it. Thats my sole reason why we should build that damn McPinewood.

      Danny Boyle , Trainspotting , 28 days later , Shallow Grave , showed us that cheap can be profitable , even today with movies costing upwards of 100m dollars to make , the occsasional blip gets through. But alas gie the guy a big budget , not so much.

      You would think that big business movie making would and should be done in Scotland , but we dont have the socal sunset , nearly everyday with garunteed sunshine that doesnt stop filming , what we do have is Scenery …. even if its a dreich wan. If ye wanted tae dae a post apocalyptic movie then Scotland is yer man , even better efter closing time , an ye widnay need a special effects crew.

    2. Douglas says:

      Why are the arts so despised?Good question. I’d start with Calvanism which burnt half of the art works of Scotland at the time of the Reformation. Art is vanity etc. The modern version of that would be “pretentious”.

      As for the situation of Scottish film, the rocks will melt with the sun before I endorse the woeful and disgraceful bungling SNP government and their totally pathetic culture policy…

      Fiona Hyslop should be fired ASAP…

  6. Douglas says:

    Terrific interview, Bella.

    Douglas Henshall says it all…

    We can really do so much better than we are doing at present and the SNP have been running Scottish culture now for almost 8 years. What is going on? How can it be that, after 8 years of the SNP in power we have a mission statement on the webpage of the national funding body which reads:

    “Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.
    We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.”

    Apart from being completely bland and lifeless, that last sentence would have failed you O Grade English at Porty High.

    Creative Scotland is run by people on massive salaries. And they can’t even come up with a passionate and well written Mission Statement…

    1. C Rober says:

      Jist a prime example of SNP keeping their tartan tories cronies in jobs. Much like their legislation towards the benefit of lawyers in legal reform.

      Art is subjective , especially modern art , only in Scotland can ye huv pickled sheep – baith art and a sandwich spread for a shipyerd labourer.

      Is architecture art , to me it is , theres more to Oor CRM than meets the eye , his wife , mair the artist than he wis , and probably behind mair than just winday dressings of his Buildings.

      Thomson too much applauded , yet somewhat of a copy artist architect.

      I would like to see some work dedicated to more than these two , there is many a building in Scotland with an artistic architect that is now forgotten.These numbers are now decreasing with rot and corporate greed enabling the loss in cities like Glasgow.

      The BBC in Scotland could be churning oot tonnes on the arts with the 214m it currently gives to Westminster that it subsidises the English regions with , that would make for much programming.

      Were the SNP to have the balls to declare its non payment legal as an illegal tax , it would start the ball rolling towards the creation of BBC arts in Scotland….. and with their backing. Jist fur interest Irish tv pays 22m to show the bbc channels , Scotland pays 300 m , and only gets 86m back for programming.

      While the last paragraph is no fault of the SNP , they have the powers to declare its collection illegal , but they are just too happy to sling blame instead , more and more they are beginning to talk like a party in opposition rather than a party in power.

  7. Onwards says:

    I think a problem is that it always seems like a privately funded film studio has been on the horizon, and then it ends up falling through at the last minute, or turns out to be a trojan horse for houses and shops on the green belt.

    I would love to the see the Scottish Government invest more directly in the arts, but it isn’t so easy when the opposition parties would use it as a weapon at election times, and then they lose seats.. Most people just don’t see it as a priority…
    All we would hear is “Investing in the arts during a time of austerity, instead of the NHS.” “People dying because some drug couldn’t be afforded etc”

    And who doesn’t want broadcasting devolved here? – But that is never going to happen this side of independence. At the end of the day, the SNP are the best chance we have to to gain self-government, rather than just moaning, whinging and protesting.

  8. Wul says:

    I know nothing of the machinations of the Arts in Scotland, but it does seem really, really weird that a country like Scotland has no film studio.

    I can only think that it must be for one of two reasons: Either we don’t want one, or we are being prevented from having one.

    I know in my heart that great and lasting work would come out of a Scottish film studio. I would rejoice were a decent living in the arts to become available as a career for my children.

    So sad Scotland. What holds us back? Why are we always held back? Holding back? I could cry with frustration.

  9. Lorna Campbell says:

    I wanted to cry and rail at all the lost opportunities for Scotland to build a real Scottish film industry that could sell itself, not only here, but abroad, too. I love foreign films, and a uniquely Scottish film industry would put Scotland on the map abroad, where, I am sure, people love foreign films just as much as I do. So many in Scotland are doing their level best – and then some – to make it happen across the board in the arts, on both an amateur and a professional stage. Good for you, Mr Henshall. Tell it like it is. We have such a huge talent pool in Scotland, for such a wee country, and in every conceivable area of human expertize, not least film and the arts, in general, but it is atrophied by a strange lack of ambition to think differently, to do things differently, to think big, essentially. I believe we are a liberal people before we are anything else, and fresh blood gives us even more scope to make the very best of ourselves. The majority of Scots are like Douglas Henshall: not born into middle class families; but not constrained in their aspirations, for all that. I really so believe that middle class (and to an extent Tory and Labour conformity, perhaps even SNP conformity, to a degree) expectations of what Scotland should be have dominated our entire politics, society and education for too long, and that is more a sense that it should remain in its box than even think to come out of it. Douglas Henshall is so brave to say all these things, so he has risen in my estimation again, outwith his roles as an actor, in which I think he excels. As the policeman, Muncie, he brought something to the small screen that was so Scottish, so heartfelt and so gigantic that I am still in awe.

  10. Wul says:

    If Scotland doesn’t have a film studio, what is this place?

    I’ve seen it often when passing through Cumbernauld, and yet I read about our lack of a film studio. Why does this place not count? genuine question.


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