Scotland’s biggest film festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, is only a few weeks ago so this is the perfect time to take a look at the rich history Scotland has in the world of film. The Scottish film industry is much bigger than anybody would expect and it’s a fascinating choice for different on-location shoots and big blockbusting films.
Few places in the world are as photogenic and sparsely populated as Scotland. With the highest mountains and most atmospheric countryside in the UK as well as culturally fascinating cities, there are simply hundreds of different sites to shoot.
All types of films with all kinds of actors have been filmed in Scotland and the talent of Scottish actors and film directors must not be underestimated either.
Filming in Scotland
Scotland has a wide range of accessible locations which can be used for all kinds of film and television. Edinburgh and Glasgow provide perfect sites for modern gritty dramas and urban scenes and within just a few short miles there are acres of greenery, historic castles and sparse wilderness.
From Rosslyn Chapel to the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scottish sites have been made famous by film. Scotland has been used for many high profile films from Skyfall to Dark Knight Rises and Cloud Atlas.
Films from Scotland
It isn’t all about using the stunning locations and scenery. There is a wealth of home grown Scottish talent which is thriving and expanding every year. Movies like Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Sweet Sixteen and Rob Roy have put Scotland firmly on the map. Of course even bigger hits like Braveheart stand out for their influence on Scottish film and are often the first thing that people think of when thinking of film and Scotland.
1996 was the year that Trainspotting launched the career of Ewan McGregor and just the year before was the release of Braveheart. In 2002 Glenfinnan Viaduct features in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and 2006 saw Rosslyn Chapel playing a key role in the film adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. A Disney character once again put Scotland at the heart of film with Pixar’s 2012 release Brave, set in the Highlands and featuring new animated star Merida.
There are a large number of famous Scottish actors who have carved out a huge career in the world of film. Stars such as Sean Connery, Gerard Butler and Tilda Swinton as well as David Tennant, James McAvoy and Robert Carlyle. This is just a small number from the many Scottish actors who have become known for their talents in both Scottish-made and internationally made films.
The Scottish film industry is continuing to thrive and flourish and the Edinburgh International Film Festival gives the country a chance to shine. Though the festival isn’t solely about Scotland’s industry it does put the city on the map as a leading centre for film innovation. Many films are premiered at the festival and it has become a key event on the intentional film events calendar.
photo credit: Gage Skidmore