Scottish government funding for Brave ‘harmed rest of country’s film industry’

£7m tourism promotion deal would have been better spent backing local economy and film-makers, producer tells MSPs

Brave – Peter Bradshaw’s review
• News: Disney retreats from ‘glammed-up’ Brave character redesign

A deal which saw £7m in public funding set aside to promote the Oscar-winning Disney-Pixar animation Brave may have hindered rather than helped Scotland’s film industry, it has been claimed.

Scottish politicians heard yesterday that the cash might have been better used to boost infrastructure and local film-makers. Producer Gillian Berrie told MSPs the decision to plough money into a Hollywood movie had been a tough blow.

“Sadly, there is no film policy for Scotland at the moment, and there is such limited funding that the amount of projects and talent that can be developed is extremely limited as well,” she told the Scotsman in an interview which followed her appearance at Holyrood.

“The Brave money was spent by VisitScotland promoting a cartoon version of our wee bit hill and glen. If it had been more wisely spent and put directly into the industry it would have had a far greater impact on the indigenous sector. The long-term tourism impact would have been far greater.

“It just seems very hard sitting as a film-maker seeing that money getting poured into a film that wasn’t made here. It was painful.”

Tourism agency VisitScotland estimated the £7m promotion budget for Brave would help boost tourism by £140m, but later admitted it could take a decade before that figure is achieved. A spokesman said: “The £7m funding was used to market Scotland around the world and convert cinemagoers into visitors to Scotland. There are very few tourism destinations that get to work so closely with the world’s largest entertainment companies – this gave us an unprecedented opportunity to put Scotland on the worldwide stage with a whole new audience.”

Set in the medieval period, Brave featured a largely Scottish cast, including Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson. But the movie was conceived and financed in Hollywood by Pixar, the California animation studio now wholly owned by Disney.

Berrie is known for her work on Lars Von Trier’s Dogville, the Ewan McGregor drama Perfect Sense and the Danish costume drama A Royal Affair.

More on Brave

Brave – Peter Bradshaw’s review
• News: Disney retreats from ‘glammed-up’ Brave character redesign © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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