Scottish film makers have warned that leaving the EU could damage the film industry in Scotland.

The association that represents technical crew, producers, directors and technicians north of the border says that many films rely on both UK treasury tax breaks as well as funding from Europe to be made.

And leading Scottish producers tonight said they were "devastated" by the prospect of UK leaving the EU.

The Association of Film and Television Practitioners Scotland (AFPTS), which has a membership of more than 1700 professionals, also said the future now looks uncertain.

Creative Europe is one of the main supporter of film and other cultural activities with a budget of more than a billion Euros.

Some of the UK's biggest films were part funded by European sources, including The King's Speech, I Daniel Blake and Amy.

Scotland remains a popular place to shoot movies, with Trainspotting 2 in production, historical drama Churchill just finishing its shoot, Outlander made in Cumbernauld and both the opening and closing films of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Tommy's Honour and Whisky Galore! were made in Scotland.

The AFPTS said: "There is no clear way ahead at the moment: Scottish production activity is very reliant on the rest of the UK, London especially, to attract inward investment and so we are pleased the the UK tax incentives are safe for the time being.

"However, TV co-production with European countries, changes in BBC commissioning and programming and the potential dwindling lack of opportunities for producers here in Scotland are all factors that make freelance crew and facilities companies very vulnerable."

It added: "On the plus side, the fall in the pound has made the UK very attractive to US and European producers, and may (ironically) bring more production here in the short-term.

"However, indigenous Scottish feature film production has always relied on European investment, and this may be difficult in the future.

"We will continue to work with Independent Producers Scotland and Screen Facilities Scotland to support and nurture Scottish creative talent and Scottish businesses."

A statement from Independent Producers Scotland (IPS) said it was "devastated" by the vote.

It said: "We are devastated.

"Producers in Scotland have benefited from training, development and production funding through Creative Europe. 

"They have been particularly valuable in establishing  alternative, indigenous production in contrast to the dominance of the United States in our industry. 

"We have also had access to producers and their funds in our fellow EU countries for international co-productions.

"European initiatives have also helped build our industry.  If they become closed to us due to Brexit, it will make it harder for Scottish producers across fiction, documentary and animation to be players in the wider global marketplace, with the consequent loss of jobs, growth and opportunity in Scotland."

It adds: "Scottish producers and Scottish films also benefit from the huge diversity of European and international talent who work and live in Scotland. "IPS echoes the statements made by Scotland's First Minister that these colleagues have always been and shall remain a vital part of an open and inclusive film making culture here in Scotland."

Film makers are currently waiting to see if Scottish Ministers approve the building of a privately-funded studio at Straiton, outside Edinburgh.

The decision is expected some time in July.

Iain Smith, the leading Scottish film producer, whose movies include the latest Mad Max film, said the effect of a possible Brexit would have complex results.

He said: "Brexit will affect the film industry, but in particular ways.

"The British industry can be broadly divided into two camps. The cultural one and the industrial one.

"The cultural one will definitely be impacted by the withdrawal of EU subsidy and support for films that are of European cultural importance but which would not be considered overtly commercial. These are supported by the European Media programme, among others.

"The industrial camp, which is largely reliant upon ‘inward investment’ production coming in from the US, will probably benefit from lower US dollar/British pound exchange rates, which will make the cost of our goods and services extremely competitive, that is, cheap.

"The eventual removal of EU cultural restraints will mean that the UK, if it so chooses, can tailor incentives to maximise the benfits to the UK alone. At the moment there are restrictions and qualifiers under the EU State Aid rules, where one state cannot advantage itself to the potential disadvantage of other member states."

He added: "As far as Scotland is concerned it will be affected in exactly the same way.

"The cultural/creative side will be inhibited, and the commercial/industrial side, such as it is, will be theoretically enhanced.

"The existence of a film studio and a skills programme would enable Scotland’s film business to compete in this more favourable environment.
"There is a lot of change and uncertainty in the air of course, so we must watch and wait to see what emerges from the political disarray that we’re seeing at the moment, both in Westminster and in Brussels."

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, said: "In terms of the UK’s creative sector tax reliefs, it’s very much business as usual.

"While there will inevitably be some uncertainty following the results of the referendum, I would like to assure all our close Industry partners and clients successfully making film and TV programmes in the UK that we will be working closely with our peers, colleagues and political stakeholders to ensure the UK’s screen industries continue to be the most competitive, highly-skilled and accessible in the world."