Receiving a £30,000 grant has helped producer Angus Mackay turn the Western Isles into an even more attractive, and financially viable, location for the global television and film industry.
With help from Business Gateway, the 44-year-old from the Isle of Lewis secured a grant through the Outer Hebrides Small Business Assistance Scheme this year, using the money to buy specialist equipment which has made his company - Corran Media - the first to offer a complete ‘lens-to-screen’ service in the Highlands and Islands.
Thanks to the investment the Kinloch-based production company has secured a raft of new work including lens-to-screen technical services provision for BBC Alba/Young Film’s new Gaelic drama, Bannan.
Angus, who set up Corran Media in 2009 after 22 years in the industry working for the Scottish Media Group and as a freelance director and producer, said: “The Western Isles has so much to offer the industry but the cost of bringing high-quality equipment and crew here has often been prohibitive.
“Everything is also now done digitally so to secure work, and to have a chance of attracting more programme and film makers to our shores, I needed to ensure our production services were first rate and could meet the real-world needs of producers.
“I knew it would be a huge financial undertaking, and that it was only ever going to happen with support – both monetary and in business development terms.
“My accountant suggested I talk to Business Gateway, and the advisers there got what I wanted to do straight away. They helped me develop my business plan and gave me help to apply for funding, which allowed me to buy the equipment and technology needed.
“Now companies can either hire what they need from us or use our facilities and expertise to take care of all aspects of production and post-production. Essentially what the grant has done is allowed me to remove the financial, logistical and technical barriers to filming here.”
Richard Tarves, Business Adviser, Business Gateway said: “The additional filming capacity that the investment has given adds a level of capability unique to the Highlands and Islands, and increases the appeal of the Hebrides as a filming location.
“It’s a significant development for the film and TV industry in the North of Scotland and we are glad that our assistance has helped Angus fulfil his business development goals.”
Expanding the businesses capabilities has also resulted in Angus taking on two new members of staff - Paul Martin and John McAulay, both from the Isle of Lewis.
Angus said: “I wanted to elevate the business on all fronts, not just in terms of technology and equipment but in terms of the expertise on offer. I also wanted to create jobs that were aspirational and retain local talent. I’d worked with both Paul and John on Struay Pictures’ Katie Morag project and knew their skills were exactly what Corran needed.”
He added: “My late father was convener of the local council and he campaigned over many years for both Gaelic language and the region. For that reason alone showcasing what the islands have to offer is important to me. We have an amazing environment that looks stunning on screen, and working on Bannan with Chris Young’s Young Films company, which is based on the Isle of Skye, has allowed us to highlight to the industry that we not only have outstanding scenery but first rate facilities and a wealth of local talent.”
For more information on Corran Media visit: the website