THERE must be easier ways to exercise than by dragging camera equipment up a mountain. But filmmaker Bernd Porr wasn’t trying to keep fit: he just wanted to shoot a sunny day in Scotland. Up and down Ben A’an went the crew, every weekend, hauling a camera, tripod, sound recorder, batteries, a rucksack full of lenses and another full of sandwiches.

Finally, they got sunshine. “It took us two months to get a dry day, even though it was spring,” says Porr. “We kept saying ‘maybe next weekend’. After that I decided never to do anything outside again!”

That’s one reason why the filmmaker welcomes plans for a new Scottish studio. Rather than attracting big names to the country he’s more concerned with practical details, one of which is that a studio can recreate the Highlands and make them sunny.

Porr is an engineering lecturer but spends his free time making short films and has recently made his first feature, Anna Unbound. He was willing to surrender his weekends in a hunt for one day of elusive Scottish sunshine, but movie professionals with rigid schedules can’t be so forgiving. Scotland’s wobbly weather means the studio is essential for our film industry.

German by birth, Porr came to Scotland for work but says: “I’ve been staying here so long because it’s a good place to make films. There are so many supportive things in Glasgow, like GMAC who do Café Flicker once a month. You can bring in any kind of film, whether it’s something terrible on your mobile or your first feature, and you ask the audience what they think and then we go to the pub. It’s a very social environment.’

So we may have miserable weather but the set-up for filmmakers seems warm and cheery? Porr agrees: “There’s also the Glasgow Film Office. They’re responsible for co-ordinating where shoots happen in the city, making sure if you’re filming in the park you’re not there at the same time as the BBC. They’re a friendly bunch and you can just go and have a coffee with them. The last time I was in there I was sitting on the couch and I asked the person beside me what he was working on and he said “Oh, World War Z”, so there’s no snobbery in the place. I just love that!

“In Germany it would be the total opposite, so bureaucratic and hierarchical. I could not imagine, as a low-budget filmmaker, making a film in Germany due to the red tape and snobbery. Glasgow has a much more horizontal structure.’

And this Glasgow welcome is extended to overseas filmmakers too, with the city providing a database of locations.

Meanwhile, the council rents out beautiful audition and rehearsal spaces, such as the impressive Partick Burgh Hall, all is which is made affordable for low-budget crews. “Shooting in Glasgow is easy if you ignore the funding situation,” says Porr.

Ah yes, money. It seems Scotland is on the way to fixing its weather, offers beautiful locations for shooting and rehearsing, and has plenty of advice, networking and coffee for its film crews, but we’re perhaps not quite so advanced when it comes to funding.

I had been curious about how Porr funded his feature film. All of it came from his own pocket. There is no funding available for him because he is making neither a big-budget movie nor a short film. Creative Scotland have two pots of funding for each category, he explains. “But if you’re basically in between, a first-time feature film maker, there’s no money.” Neither are there any smaller grants. “There are tedious things like colour correction. I need to pay other people to do it, but there’s no funding for it.”

This means Porr has put £20k of his own money into Anna Unbound. He appreciates the great work Creative Scotland are doing at both ends of the spectrum, but he’d like to see help for those in the middle.

“Everyone is running round with a script in Glasgow,” he laughs. And he points out that YouTube and the relative cheapness of camera equipment has meant everyone can have a go at film-making, so funding bodies would be swamped if every Glasgow filmmaker applied. Instead, Porr suggests they offer funding to help with some of the latter stages of production, once a film actually exists, which is tangible and fixable.

SO what did Porr spend his hard-earned £20k on? Anna Unbound, his first feature film, is a psychological horror set in Athens and Glasgow. Why Greece? He says that on a recent visit to Athens he was struck by the dire economic situation, and the city’s many broken and boarded-up windows.

The location stayed in his mind, plus the film’s lead actress, Vasso Georgiadou, is Greek, so that provided a connection to the city – and it does promise rather more sunlight than Scotland. With one week of filming in Athens, and three in Govan, specifically in the atmospheric Pearce Institute, Anna Unbound is an unsettling film about the power of memory, with Anna experiencing disturbing visions after she arrives in Glasgow to start a new life with her boyfriend, and it aims to portray Glasgow as a striking, unusual place, rather than the typical “gritty” image.

Anna Unbound is being submitted to film festivals in Barcelona, Leeds and, Channel 4’s Fright Fest, and will hopefully be another example of a fine, independent Scottish film – no thanks to the weather.