Creative Scotland has announced it will review public funding for an explicit film that it describes as “considerably more explicit” than first thought.

The public arts body awarded £84,555 to director Leonie Rae Gasson for the Rein development in January, which is set to be used for a film project requiring actors to participate in “non-simulated” sex scenes.

The project’s website describes it as a 45-minute art installation that pays those who take part a fee of £270 per day to take part in “non-simulated” sex, including “hardcore” acts.

The recruitment advert states actors must be over the age of 18, with those with previous sex work experience – “particularly in porn contexts” – encouraged to apply.

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The public funding allocation has come under fire, particularly at a time when the arts sector struggles to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Creative Scotland initially said it would investigate the award, but in a new statement, a spokeswoman confirmed the “next steps” will be discussed with the applicant.

The statement said the project’s application to the art body’s National Lottery Open Fund did not indicate how explicit the installation would be.

A spokeswoman said: “We support freedom of expression and artists being able to push the boundaries of radical performance.

“However, the project, Rein, is considerably more explicit in its execution than was indicated in the application received to our Open Fund.

“As such, we are reviewing this award and will be discussing next steps with the applicant and with the other partners in the project.”

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Meghan Gallacher said: “Given the concerns raised here, Scottish Government ministers must make clear that robust processes were followed before handing over taxpayers’ money for the show.”

The Scottish Government said funding decisions are made independently by the arts body.

In Ms Gasson’s description of the project, she said: “If you are selected to be in the cast, our intimacy co-ordinators will support you to more clearly identify your detailed needs and boundaries with the sexual aspects of the work.

“This is a pro-sex and pro-sex worker project, so, even if your character does not engage in sex, you will be around those that do.”

Ms Gasson has been asked for additional comment.

Feminist campaigners For Women Scotland told the Scottish Sun: “At a time when genuine arts projects struggle to find funding, it seems that Scottish Government-supported bodies are eager to splash the cash on projects that dehumanise women and promote unhealthy and dangerous relationships.”

The group has demanded to know who “signed off” on the decision to fund the project through the “public purse”.

Neil Bibby MSP, Scottish Labour’s shadow cabinet secretary for constitution, culture and sport, said: “There are serious questions to answer about how this project was awarded public funding.

“This specific case needs investigated as a matter of urgency but there should also be a review of the criteria applied to all funding applications.

“Every penny of this money should be clawed back and used to support the excellent cultural organisations who the Scottish Government are failing to properly support right now.”