THIS week Mary Queen of Scots had its Scottish premiere in Edinburgh. At a star-studded reception in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle, the film’s star Saoirse Ronan and cast joined First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in promoting the latest movie to be shot in Scotland. I was lucky enough to be invited along by the talented Martin Compston who plays Bothwell in the film.

A large crowd from the creative community heard the director Josie Rourke make a heartfelt plea for Scotland to have a large scale film-studio, and also praised the country for producing so much talent and its community spirit valuing culture and history. Without giving much away, it features a brilliant performance by Saoirse Ronan with very contemporary sensibilities, is beautifully shot with breathtaking location scenery and is really worth watching at the pictures.

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This is the latest in a number of films shot in part or inspired in Scotland, including Outlaw King, T2 Trainspotting, Prometheus by Ridley Scott, The Da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks, World War Z with Brad Pitt, Cloud Atlas with Halle Berry, The Wife with Glenn Close and Christian Slater, Braveheart, Brave and many others.

Undoubtedly the greatest Scottish contribution to movie making has been the steady stream of acting talent which exploded onto the scene in the 1990s with films like Trainspotting that catapulted a generation of young actors onto substantial international film and TV careers.

The National:

For decades before, it was Sean Connery who was a trailblazer for Scottish actors. In recent years we have been blessed by scores of Scots making regular appearances in film and TV productions on both sides of the Atlantic.

Blockbusters like The Hobbit series and ground-breaking television show Game of Thrones were jammed with Scottish talent and more recent hits like Outlander have become a global sensation.

The first draft of this column started to list Scottish actors and actresses, writers, producers and directors, but pretty soon it was obvious this would have taken up the entire word count.

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It is clear that Scotland massively outperforms its size when it comes to talent, on and off the screen. Indeed, we are known around the world for culturally punching above our size on the global stage. Similarly sized northern European countries have been celebrating a renaissance in film and TV making, but their acting pool is much smaller. Having said that, with ambitious state broadcasters like DR in Denmark, we have been able to watch a stream of television hits including The Killing, The Bridge, The Legacy and movies like 1864. There has been a similar flourishing of production in Sweden, Norway and Iceland.

That is the prize that awaits the film industry in Scotland if we can deliver the infrastructure to allow movie makers the option of producing whole projects here, rather than just shooting scenes and sequences. This will be a step change for the film industry in Scotland, and all the ancillary jobs and spending that goes with it.

There has been a debate about a film studio in Scotland for decades during which time facilities have been set up in Northern Ireland, Wales, Yorkshire, Bristol and soon in Birmingham.

Now however, it finally looks as if we are in line to see a major production facility established for Scottish film and TV making. In what has undoubtably been a hugely complicated process to get to this point for various sites, tenders have been issued for a developer to lease, refurbish and run a huge facility in Leith which would be well suited for domestic and international movie and TV productions.

This will be in addition to the existing Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld which has four sound stages, extensive workshops and facilities and where Outlander is produced.

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All of this has benefited from the relatively new partnership organisation involving the public sector and industry in the re-established Scottish Screen.

The agency sits within Creative Scotland and is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, and is funded by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

Scottish Screen is working to boost production, support business development, improve employment opportunities and “develop Scotland’s reputation as a destination for international productions and co-productions, supported by our world-class talent, crews, facilities and unique locations” in this multi-million pound sector.

Only a few months ago a dedicated portal went live at which is a first point of call for those looking to access film and TV funding, support and services. Take a minute to visit the website, it really is hugely impressive what is on offer.

Scotland has amazing scenery and locations for movie making, long summer shooting times, amazing talents and is developing the support infrastructure to allow full film production. What seemed a dream for so long is now hopefully becoming a reality: Scotland as a permanent home to significant domestic and international film and TV production.