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Scotland needs a national film school, academic tells festival

SCOTLAND should establish a national film school to rival those in England and abroad, the Edinburgh International Film Festival will be told today.

In a key address to the festival (EIFF), Dr David Archibald, of the University of Glasgow, will say that the Scottish film industry also needs to have its own dedicated agency, and that there is a "disconnection between talent and infrastructure" north of the border.

Scottish film has not had its own dedicated agency since Scottish Screen was merged with the Scottish Arts Council to form Creative Scotland in 2010 and Dr Archibald, a lecturer in film and television studies, will say the present funding situation is a "muddle".

He will also say, in the Forsyth Hardy Lecture, that young and emerging talent would benefit from a dedicated film school which would draw from the knowledge and courses currently being taught at institutions such as Screen Academy Scotland at Napier University, courses at Glasgow, St Andrews and the University of the West of Scotland.

Dr Archibald said: "Instead of having the ambition to have a Scottish Film School which could compete not only with London but internationally, there is a political fear of creating another national institution.

"If you speak to aspiring film makers, people want to go to the National Film and Television School (NFTS) down south [in Buckinghamshire].

"I don't think that has been good for filmmaking in Scotland, and for developing directors, writers and producers.

"Models already exist for the creation of this institution — it could draw in part on the National Theatre of Scotland, which is a theatre 'without walls', as well as the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.

"The creation of a national film school would tap the talents of all the relevant academic institutions, the successes of art schools, the talents of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

"It could grow out of them, and would have to probably be based in the central belt."

He added: "It could still be based in Screen Academy Scotland perhaps, but it could pull on the talents of other institutions, some of the more academic aspect of film studies in Glasgow and elsewhere, with the idea that it would say to young film makers — don't go to Beaconsfield [to study at the NFTS], you can stay here and learn your craft here."

Dr Archibald will also lay out the risks and benefits of Scottish independence to the film industry in his speech.

He will question whether the institutional support for Scottish film and film makers is adequate.

For months film producers in Scotland have been calling for increased financial support for movies from Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government.

The film school would have to be integrated with plans for a new Scottish film studio and improved school-level education about film and film making, Dr Archibald said.

Dr Archibald added: "Scotland doesn't have a film policy.

"There was a Creative Scotland review of the film sector earlier this year.

"They are promising they will announce a strategy, but we are hanging around waiting for that strategy.

"There is no dedicated film agency for Scotland.

"You could argue that bringing all the arts organisations under the umbrella of Creative Scotland would allow for a more integrated approach, but it is clear that hasn't worked."

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Arts and Entertainment

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