Scottish film industry

Stunning mountains, rugged landscapes, gothic castles and unspoilt wilderness – it’s no wonder the Scottish film industry attracts some of the world’s leading filmmakers and television producers.

Few places are as photogenic as Scotland - home to the UK’s highest mountains, deepest lochs, largest tracts of forest and, of course, buzzing cosmopolitan cities. It's a climate many creative minds finds alluring.

Scotland’s film industry has evolved dramatically over the last decade and now boasts a cinematic repertoire which attracts some of the biggest names in the business including productions featuring Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson and Daniel Craig.

From action packed thrillers, rib-tickling comedies or boutique art house films, Scotland has been the setting for an eclectic range of productions. In short, this country has a thriving film and television scene which continues to place Scotland centre stage when it comes to the silver screen.

Scottish filming locations

Scotland enjoys an enviable wealth of easily accessible filming locations situated a short drive from each other. From a base in Edinburgh and Glasgow, producers can choose from gritty modern urban scenes, to centuries-old castles to rural untouched wilderness.

The abundance of quiet roads set in picturesque surroundings also make Scotland an attractive proposition to many car advertisers. And with the longest daylight hours in the UK (up to 18 hours of daylight in the summer months), there is the golden opportunity  of more shooting hours per day.

The settings for filming in Scotland are undeniably breathtakingly beautiful: from the haunting beauty of Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin, Midlothian which featured in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code to the visually stunning Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Highlands which set the backdrop for the children’s classic, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

As a result of the versatility and accessibility of its filming locations, Scotland has provided the setting for a number of high profile films over the last few years including Fast and Furious, Cloud Atlas, The Dark Knight Rises and the latest in the Bond franchise, Skyfall.

Scottish movies and television

Scotland's home grown film and television talent continues to thrive with award winning programmes and movies receiving world wide acclaim. In the last decades Scottish movies like Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Morvern Callar, Ae Fond Kiss, Young Adam, Hallam Foe, Breaking the Waves, Sweet Sixteen, Rob Roy, and Red Road have elevated Scotland’s status in the film world. And of course, the iconic Scottish movie Braveheart, which brought a Scottish story to the world and provoked a wave of pride for the Scots and those with Scottish ancestry.

Scottish TV programmes have been exported around the world as much as our films, with programmes like Monarch of the Glen, Taggart and Hamish MacBeth proving popular internationally.

1949 - Whisky Galore - this adaptation of Compton MacKenzie’s novel was filmed on the Isle of Barra.

1973 - The Wicker Man - the cult movie was filmed in the Dumfries & Galloway towns of Gatehouse of Fleet, Newton Stewart, Creetown and Kirkcudbright.

1981 - Gregory’s Girl - Bill Forsyth’s coming-of-age romantic comedy used the exterior of Abronhill High School on the outskirts of Cumbernauld.

1981 - Chariots of Fire - the West Sands beach in St Andrews was used for the iconic scenes in this Oscar winning film.

1983 - Local Hero - this gentle comedy was filmed across Scotland including in Pennan, Aberdeenshire and on Camusdarach beach, Morar.

1995 - Braveheart - the sweeping landscape in and around Glen Nevis and Loch Leven provided the backdrop for Mel Gibson’s Oscar winner.

1996 - Trainspotting - this iconic film launched the international career of Ewan McGregor and was filmed in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Rannoch Moor.

2002 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was the first of the Harry Potter movies to feature the stunning view of the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Highlands.

2006 - The Da Vinci Code - the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin, Midlothian, played an important role in Dan Brown’s award-winning novel and featured in the film adaptation, starring Tom Hanks.

2011 - The Eagle - Loch Lomond, Wester Ross and Stirling all feature in the historical epic directed by Glasgow-born Kevin MacDonald.

2012 - Brave  Disney•Pixar's animation set in the Highlands follows Merida and her tale of bravery.

2012 - Skyfall - scenes from the James Bond film, featuring Daniel Craig in his third outing as 007 were shot in and around Glencoe, in the shadow of Buachaille Etive Mor.

2012 - Under the Skin - this adaptation of Michel Faber’s book of the same name starring Scarlett Johannson was filmed in areas around Glencoe, just south of Loch Ba, as well as the harbour and beach area at Auchmithie, near Arbroath.

Famous Scottish actors

Scotland boasts a number of homegrown talents who have become international stars. To name a few: Gerard Butler, Sean Connery, Tilda Swinton, Ewan MacGregor, Kevin MacKidd, Robert Carlyle, John Hannah, James McAvoy, Dougray Scott, Kelly MacDonald and David Tennant.

Scottish film festivals

Scotland hosts a number of annual film festivals, the most widely recognised being the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Attracting around 200,000 visitors every year, this festival attracts Hollywood A-listers and high profile movie premieres to the Scottish capital.

There are a number of smaller festivals which take place around the year, including the Glasgow Film Festival and the Fort William Mountain Film Festival which features adventure documentary films.

For those situated in the remotest parts of Scotland there is even a Mobile Film Festival whichtravels to remote locations transporting a mobile cinema!

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