Published: 15/12/2017 14:42 - Updated: 15/12/2017 15:15

Outlaw King could lead to Cairngorms tourism boost

Written byMike Merritt

 

More visitors could be on their way to Aviemore thanks to latest movie
More visitors could be on their way to Aviemore thanks to latest movie
 

Aviemore is set for another major film tourism boost from a Robert the Bruce historical drama.

New Netflix historical drama Outlaw King - which was filmed in the Highlands - is boosting Scotland’s economy by more than 10 times what the taxpayer has spent on it.

The Scottish government says the film has already generated £17.5m and increased employment opportunities.

The film follows the battle between King of Scots, Robert the Bruce - The Outlaw King (Chris Pine) and King of England Edward I (Stephen Dillane).

It also stars Scottish actors James Cosmo, Tony Curran, Steven Cree, Chris Fulton and Alistair Mackenzie.

The production was awarded £500k from the Production Growth Fund and another £500k from the National Lottery, through Creative Scotland.

It was shot in locations including on Rothiemuchus by Aviemore, Craigmillar and Glencoe.

Outlaw King – which has a $120m budget – is following in the footsteps of time travel series Outlander, starring Sam Heughan and Catriona Balfe and based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels.

Visitors from around the world have flocked to Scotland to experience the landscape that inspired the series.

The Outlander locations map on VisitScotland.com has received hundreds of thousands of downloads since it was added in 2014 and more than 24,000 hard copies of the map have been distributed in that time.

Principal photography is now complete on Outlaw King, which was produced by Glasgow-based Sigma Films and backed by streaming service Netflix.

Directed by Scottish director David Mackenzie – who also made the Oscar-nominated Hell Or High Water – Outlaw King is one of the biggest productions ever made in Scotland.

Bringing significant benefits to the growing screen sector, it has provided work for Scottish cast and crew, utilised Scottish locations and facilities, and provided opportunities for 35 trainees.

The Production Growth Fund aims to maintain a steady stream of work for Scottish-based crew by encouraging screen productions to be based in Scotland.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop visited the set at Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh, where she met cast, crew and production trainees.

Ms Hyslop said: "We know that encouraging film and TV productions to base themselves in Scotland generates significant returns for the Scottish economy and opportunities for our skilled crew.

"A major production like Outlaw King brings huge benefits to the whole screen sector, as well as related businesses.

"Having our stunning locations featured in screen productions also increases tourism."

She added: "Some of the locations featured in "Outlander" have seen visitor numbers increase significantly - Doune Castle recorded an increase of 91% since being featured in the series.

"Total production spend on film and TV in Scotland has increased by more than 200% since 2007, and I’m delighted to welcome Outlaw King as the latest chapter in this great success story."

Gillian Berrie, producer of the film, said: "We are delighted that Scotland and its people will benefit from the legacy of this for years to come.

"Sigma Films are dedicated to nurturing the next generation of filmmakers and to that end have employed 35 trainees on Outlaw King working across all departments."

Natalie Usher, director of screen at Creative Scotland, said: "We are delighted that Netflix is backing David’s next feature, Outlaw King, and we are proud to have supported the project in both development and now with awards from the Production Growth Fund and the Screen Fund.

"This exciting project, from one of Scotland’s leading production companies, about one of Scotland’s most iconic historical figures, provides the ideal opportunity to promote Scotland’s rich history, the ambition and talent of our filmmakers, and Scotland’s ability to develop and produce films of an epic scale with an ability to engage an international audience."

Braveheart helped put Scotland on the map for visitors.

In the aftermath of the movie, the Wallace Monument in Stirling saw visitor numbers leap from 30,000 a year to nearly 200,000 in 1996.

That success has continued, with films such as 2006 thriller The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown’s global bestseller and starring Tom Hanks, also making a huge impact in visitor numbers.

In the wake of the book being published, visitor numbers to historic Rosslyn Chapel increased by 72 per cent, from 68,603 in 2004 to 118,151 in 2005. In 2006, following the release of the film, numbers reached 175,053.

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