SCOTLAND’S film industry is under threat in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, MSPs have been warned.

Companies which have been involved in major movie and TV blockbusters – such as Braveheart, Trainspotting 2, Game Of Thrones and Outlander – have written to members of a Holyrood committee outlining their fears for the future.

They work across different aspects of the industry including camera operators and equipment hire, casting and screenwriters. Umbrella group Screen Facilities Scotland submitted its members’ concerns to the Culture Committee which has launched an inquiry into the impact of the pandemic on the creative industries.

Barbour All Terrain Tracking – which specialises in on- and off-road camera tracking – and whose credits include Braveheart and Game Of Thrones – said it may have to shut down permanently.

“As a result of Covid-19 I have had to shut down and mothball the business as much as possible to reduce overheads. Covid-19 has impacted my cash flow as there is none now as no jobs forthcoming,” wrote the owner.

“Not sure how long I can sustain the business in the state it is in and sooner or later I will have to close down completely and go and look for other work. Again not knowing what the future is for the film industry and how it will work post-Covid-19 and lockdown means it’s difficult to plan for the future.”

Talent company GBM Casting, which successfully cast actors in Trainspotting 2 and Outlander, wrote it’d had no opportunity for income generation since March 19.

It said the company was unable to make plans for the future and had received no reassurance from Screen Scotland that plans were in place to protect the future of the sector.

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It added that the firm’s employees were not eligible for the UK Job Retention Scheme, with the firm relying on business reserves and personal savings to cover overheads and staff wages.

“Over the last four years GBM Casting has seen a year-on-year increase in business. [This year] was on course for another good year. Now, after Covid-19, GBM Casting anticipates a lean year until around March 2021,” it said.

“GBM Casting’s business model will enable the company to flex up or down depending on what number of background productions request when filming starts.”

It continued: “This business model will provide our customers with reassurance that they can rely on sourcing background from us immediately after filming starts. This is really important as we need to let the industry and production companies know that Scotland is open for business and that the foundation of the Scottish industry is strong and ready to go.”

The Camera Crane Scotland went on: “The Covid-19 pandemic has utterly destroyed my business overnight. Our industry has ground to a halt with perhaps the exception of TV news crews which are skeleton in nature right now.”

Progressive Broadcast Hire, which worked on recent hit TV dramas such as The Nest and Elizabeth Is Missing, said: “As of the end of March, we have no long bookings for hires whatsoever for the next two to three months and all major productions in the UK have temporarily ceased filming.”

It added it was refused a Scottish Government grant for businesses due to administration issues but was appealing the decision and was still waiting for the outcome of a loan application under the UK’s CBILS scheme.

Screen Facilities Scotland (SFS) called for a future strategy for the sector to be drawn up that demonstrated to the industry globally that “Scotland is open for business” through safe working practices, tax relief, locations and a strong infrastructure, skills and talent.

The film industry contributes some £32 million to the Scottish economy, according to research by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre published in 2015.