Scotland: The new New Zealand of film?

Page Jennifer Cooper
Page Jennifer Cooper

Each week in the run up to the Independence Referendum we have been looking at a different aspect of the debate, and in this instalment we speak to local film-maker Jennifer Cooper.

A firm Yes voter and lifelong advocate of Independence Jennifer sees a strong potential for a healthy and productive film industry in an Independent Scotland.

She said: “I want to live in a country where the people speak for its future, and not a government that isn’t even based in this country! That is just madness.

“Last year, CNN voted Scotland the number one place to visit in the world after films such as ‘Skyfall’ showed Scotland, and particularly Glencoe, in all its glory. ‘Harry Potter’, especially ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’, again, that made Scotland appealing in a way that we haven’t seen since ‘Lord of the Rings’ made everyone want to visit New Zealand.

“In my humble opinion, the film and TV industry is probably the best way to attract tourists to the country, and the more we put into this industry, the more we get back in return.”

She continued: “I would like to see Scotland have its own film studio, with others around the country too. One inspirational woman within Scottish film is Gillian Berrie, of Sigma Films. Sigma films recently produced Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin’, starring Scarlett Johannson.

“What I particularly liked about ‘Under the Skin’, without being biased, is that it was partially shot in Auchmithie and Arbroath.

“The thing is, the North East coast of Scotland is a largely untouched area when it comes to film, which is really quite remarkable when you look at some of the sceneries we have. I want to see an injection of money put into the film industry; that then makes potential investors feel more comfortable getting on board with further funding.

“You have no idea how hard it is right now to get funding to make films and it can’t all be done by crowdfunding/deferred payments.

“When you look at places such as Vancouver, one of the richest places for filmmaking in the world, getting on board a film/TV show; it’s seen as an investment. I want Scotland to find a similar way of working.”