Written by Murray Ashton on Sep 27, 2011. Posted in Interviews

Filming in Glasgow with Hamish Walker

Hamish has been with the Glasgow Film Office for 13 years. Following a restructuring in 2008, he is now responsible for dealing with all location and production enquiries for the office. 

Before working at the Glasgow Film Office, Hamish was involved in setting up Scottish Screen (the national body for the screen industries in Scotland which was replaced by Creative Scotland in 2010).

Hamish has also worked with other economic development agencies in the city.

Tell me about Glasgow

Glasgow is well known for its architecture, with Victorian red and honey sandstone, Italianate steeples, medieval spires and neo-gothic towers to the titanium, glass and steel of the contemporary city. It has a population of around 588,000 and is Scotland's largest city. There's a crew base of more than 600 skilled workers in almost all grades and departments, and a robust facilities and services sector including state-of-the-art post-production facilities.

What locations are most commonly used by film and TV crews in Glasgow?

The City Chambers has been used extensively - Heavenly Pursuits used it as The Vatican, The House of Mirth used it as a New York Boarding House, The BBC's The 39 Steps used it as The Home Office and a gentleman's club, and An English Man Abroad used it as The Kremlin.

Tontine Lane has been used in Perfect Sense and Skagerrak. It has three different access points, interesting architecture and is an easily controllable space. Parnie Street is another popular choice. It's a one-way street that circles around tenement buildings. It's been used in Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself and Lip Service.

What are the rare, more unusual locations that our readers would not necessarily associate with Glasgow?

Glasgow has doubled for many different locations such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, London and New York. We have Georgian locations which are not necessarily associated with Glasgow, such as Pollok House and Hutchesons Hall.

What has been your most difficult location assignment to date and why?

Most recently, US production World War Z closed the municipal square in the centre of the city for 17 consecutive days. This was a significant undertaking for the city. Traffic was re-routed, parking suspensions were in place, pedestrians were marshalled and police and fire services had to be present throughout.

What types of production do you deal with the most?

The Film Office offers a free service to any productions wanting to film in the city whether it's features, television, commercials, short films, music videos and so on.

We've had a lot of big names recently including World War Z, Cloud Atlas, Perfect Sense, The Angels' Share and TV shows Young James, This September and Field of Blood.

Are there any particular tips that you would like to share with our audience about filming in Glasgow?

Yes, the weather can be unpredictable. World War Z had to halt filming for almost a full day because of too much sun!

What's the best airport to use for Glasgow?

Glasgow International Airport. It serves more than 100 destinations and is only eight miles from the city centre.

What are the most film-crew-friendly hotels in Glasgow?

Most hotels in the city are film-friendly. Click here to download the Film Office's approved list.

There are usually set costs for Public Liability cover for film units and costs for insuring locations. Can you tell us about location insurance and give any examples of costs in your region?

Glasgow City Council requires to be indemnified to a maximum GBP10 million when filming on its property. Fairly standard requirements apply for PLI and Employers Liability Insurance.

What do you do with your time off and what would you recommend crew and cast do to have fun and relax?

I am a keen cyclist and regularly take off on my mountain bike into the countryside just outside the city. If I’ve any energy left after that I can usually be found in one of the many bars, restaurants or live music venues in the city.

Thank you.


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