THE Scottish producer behind hit film Mad Max: Fury Road has called for Scotland's national film school to be given more public funding.

 

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Iain Smith, who has also produced movies The Fifth Element, The A-Team and Wanted, also claims funding methods for Screen Academy Scotland have to change if local talent is to flourish.

His comments came as the academy's director Robin MacPherson revealed that the school's direct public funding has dropped by around 50 per cent since it was set up ten years ago.

Speaking at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the academy, Smith, originally from Glasgow, said: "Over the past ten years the entire UK film industry has benefited hugely from Scotland having its own national film school.

"Screen Academy Scotland graduates have been nominated at the Oscars, won dozens of BAFTA awards and outshone literally thousands of their peers to compete in Cannes.

"All this has been made possible by the support of industry and by a relatively modest amount of public sector funding. However, compared to other national film schools that funding remains very meagre.

"So it's now high time that the academy was put on a more secure footing, giving it the resources to be able to plan ahead.

"The talent is clearly here - let's make sure we give them the time, the space and the tools to shine even more brightly."

Currently, the national school - a collaboration between Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College of Art - receives a mix of public funding from the Scottish Funding Council and Creative Skillset.

However, Mr Macpherson, whose 10-year tenure as director will end in July, claims public funding for the school has greatly diminished since he took up the role.

To counter this, the academy has boosted its income by running short professional development course, but Mr MacPherson says he would now like to see more stable income, allowing the school to plan ahead more effectively.

"The UK National Film School is directly funded by the Government and they get a much higher level of funding per student," he said.

" If we are going to have a national school in Scotland, it also needs to be supported well per head.

"Scotland deserves a national film school and we can't do that on the cheap, it has to be well resourced."

A Scottish Government spokesman said Creative Scotland has awarded £110,000 to Screen Academy Scotland since 2011-12, adding that public sector investment in the screen sector has increased from £16.2 million in 2007/08 to more than £21 million in 2013-14.

The spokesman added: "The Scottish Government and its agencies recognise and value the vision and the ambition of Scotland's screen sector.

"We have demonstrated great support for the film industry in Scotland and we are committed to working together to create the conditions to enable the sector to flourish."