INDIANA JONES fever is gripping the city as the latest Hollywood blockbuster sets up shop in Glasgow.

Movie lovers have been treated to a great number of major film sets gracing Glasgow streets in recent months, with the new Harrison Ford flick joining the likes of the upcoming Taron Egerton film Tetris (which saw Tradeston transformed into a grim-looking Soviet city), the Robert Pattinson-starring Batman and the Netflix hit The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again.

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Dear Green Screen

No-one doubts that Glasgow is a great and welcoming city but it does not seem obvious as the first choice for companies looking to film here.

We asked experts why it seems Glasgow is fast becoming a go-to location for Hollywood filmmakers.

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Glasgow boasts a number of film studios alongside what has been called “world-renowned” facilities and talent. 

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Screen Scotland said that their Screen Commission has been “busier than ever” with enquiries from productions from around the world looking to shoot in Scotland. The amount of cash being spent in Scotland is up 300% since 2007 - its highest-ever level since records began, according to the organisation. 

Warm welcome 

Jonny Blair, an up-and-coming Glasgow-based director who has directed five episodes of River City, reckons our good humour and friendliness makes the Dear Green Place a favourite for filmmakers. 

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The 29-year-old said: "I know for a fact that in London, if you're looking to film in someone's pub, they know straight away that they can make money off you. 

"But people in Glasgow, and people in Scotland, are happy to have you. They are happy to see their pub on screen and they'll do anything to accommodate you, because it's exciting. It's the same as anything in Glasgow, the people are so accommodating and easy to get along with, I think that attracts a lot of people."

New film studios are also responsible for bringing some showbiz excitement to city streets, something on which both Mr Blair and the country's screen champions agree. 

"For so long, they have been talking about studios," he added. 

"Scotland never had them and that always put people off - Braveheart was a good example of that, a lot of it was shot in Ireland because there were no studios in Scotland. Now they are here, it's attracting all these major productions. 

"I remember when World War Z came and it was a phenomenon because something like that had never happened before and now it's just expected." 

He also pointed out that the city's grid system and wide streets make it a natural fit to play cities such as New York on-screen, as well as the easy access to natural beauty.

Jobs boost 

Chris Quick, a film editor and director of the Glasgow Filmmakers Alliance, thinks that greater support for the local movie industry will keep talent in Scotland, who might in the past have moved away to the bright lights of London or the USA for work. 

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He said: “Our facilities and studio spaces are improving and I think the studios are starting to take advantage of that.

“Having these productions on our doorstep is not only beneficial for the economy but a tremendous influence to our up-and-coming talent and demonstrates that people could have a successful career in film here rather than having to go elsewhere.”

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But, he added, the government could be doing more to involve local filmmakers in productions through cash incentives. 

“It would be great to see incentives given to the studios from the government in exchange for more Scottish talent being used at all levels of the productions. This is where the government should be setting their sights going forward. Our talent needs experience and this is an ideal opportunity to give it to them.”

Screen Scotland has two funding schemes in place, the £4 million Film and Development programme and its £2m Production Growth Fund, both of which have specific measures to support Scottish filmmakers. 

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What's the cost? 

It is commonly assumed that the reason film crews come to Scotland and Glasgow, in particular, is a question of pure economics. Popular perception would say production companies when confronted with the costs of filming somewhere like New York City, or even its common screen double Toronto, it is just cheaper to set up in Glasgow. 

Screen Scotland could not say if it was cheaper to shoot in Glasgow or Scotland more generally compared with other parts of the world. But while it costs $300 for a permit to shoot in New York City, filmmakers in Glasgow do not need to buy a permit from the city council 

But permits are not the only way for films to bring in cash to cities. The council estimates that the Glasgow Film Office (GFO) has brought in around £330m to the city's economy since it was founded in 1997. 

A council spokeswoman said: "Contrary to popular belief, Glasgow city council doesn’t issue film permits because filming is not a licensed activity. However, filming may require a number of other permits to be undertaken safely like traffic orders, road occupation permits, parking dispensation, hire of council-owned/maintained properties and civic spaces.

“The Glasgow Film Office acts as a ‘one-stop shop’ for productions of all sizes and budgets filming or wishing to film in Glasgow from coordinating meetings with appropriate agencies to location owners and council departments.”

In 2017, there were 266 enquiries from film companies about filming, which the council estimate resulted in £15.1m being pumped into the local economy. This fell slightly in 2018, to 248 enquiries but the cash increased to £19.1m. In 2019, film companies put in 264 enquiries which resulted in around £12.2m being spent as a result of filming. 

"Helping ensure filming goes as smoothly as possible while delivering the optimum economic return for the city while minimising the impact on the daily life and operations of residents and businesses."