Film Access Scotland members announced as The Sean Connery Foundation grantees

The philanthropic foundation aims to accelerate positive change through strategic grant-making to institutions and organisations in Scotland and The Bahamas.

The new screen-education focused grantees (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Glasgow Media Arts Centre (GMAC)
  • Screen Education Edinburgh (SEE)
  • Station House Media Unit, Aberdeen (SHMU)
  • The Portal Arts, Glasgow

Following the establishment of The Sean Connery Foundation in 2022 by the estate of Sir Sean Connery, the Foundation is pleased to announce four new grantees across Scotland. These are Glasgow Media Arts Centre (GMAC), Screen Education Edinburgh (SEE), Station House Media Unit (SHMU), Aberdeen and The Portal Arts, Glasgow. Each of these grantees, along with the Scottish Youth Film Foundation (SYFF), announced in October 2022, support young people in developing the skills, knowledge, confidence and connections needed for work in the film & TV industry at a time when more creators are choosing to produce content in Scotland. The Foundation’s commitment to these grantees provides unrestricted funding over 3 years, and totals approximately £1M.

Speaking on behalf of the Foundation’s work in Scotland, Jason Connery said:

“Before he was a globally recognized movie star, my dad was a lad from Fountainbridge, and he never once forgot that whilst talent might be distributed equally, opportunity is not. By supporting access for passionate young people to the screen sector, no matter what their circumstances, we’d like to help dreams come true. We hope that young people with an appetite for visual storytelling and a curiosity about the many behind-the-scenes jobs that make movies possible, will reach out to our grantees and get involved.”

Foundation Chair, Stephane Connery, added:

“The screen sector has enjoyed strong growth in recent years as more global productions choose to shoot their film and TV in Scotland, providing good jobs for industry-ready young people. Our screen-education grantees offer a wide variety of programs that introduce participants to the possibility of a career in screen production, often for the first time, and provide a clear path into an exciting industry that is too often considered out-of-reach.”


Each Foundation grantee delivers hands-on introduction to film-making that spans the entire creative process, from writing, producing, and acting, to sound, lighting, set design, costumes, and editing, enabling participants to try out the wide variety of roles available in the screen industry.

In addition to accelerating interest in a full scope of film & TV production careers, the Foundation’s grants portfolio aligns with Scotland’s cultural and educational priorities. By supporting organisations focused on helping passionate young people create and share their stories, the Foundation is investing in a new generation of skilled storytellers and a creative workforce with the 21st-Century literacy capabilities vital to Scotland’s future.

Participants in grantee programs report gaining valuable organisational and collaboration skills, experience in both advocacy and narrative storytelling, and increased confidence, laying the groundwork for fulfilling careers within the creative industry, and beyond.

The goal of The Sean Connery Foundation is to accelerate positive change through strategic grantmaking to education and ocean conservation institutions and organisations in Scotland and The Bahamas, the two countries Sir Sean Connery called home.

About the grantees

Established in 1982, GMAC Film is an open access media centre based at Trongate 103 in Glasgow. Our mission is to engage young people, communities, and emerging film talent from under-represented groups to:

  • Build confidence, skills and aspirations
  • Increase access to education, training and employment
  • Raise awareness of social issues through film
  • Create a fair, ethical, and diverse screen sector in Scotland

It achieves this through six main pillars of work: youth work, education, employability, filmmaking, partnerships, and community engagement. GMAC Film seeks to empower people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in projects free at the point of delivery so that low income is never a barrier to taking part, giving confidence, knowledge and ambition to those who become involved, allowing each voice to be heard.

Euan Platt, CEO of GMAC Film has said:

“GMAC Film has been championing diversity and increased access in the screen sector for over forty years, so we are thrilled to be selected as one of the Connery Foundation’s new grantees. This support will allow GMAC Film to sustain and develop its work across our wide range of programmes for young people, communities, and emerging film talent, and help ensure that more people- regardless of background- have the opportunity to use filmmaking as a way of conveying personal experiences, highlighting social issues, and telling powerful stories.”

Screen Education Edinburgh (SEE) provides high-quality screen education, training, and production programs for all ages. Originally founded as Pilton Video in 1981, SEE specialises in developing people from areas of deprivation, from rural areas and low-income backgrounds, those living with a disability, and those from diverse backgrounds.

Graham Fitzpatrick, Principal Officer for SEE has said:

“We are incredibly thankful for the support from The Sean Connery Foundation in establishing our SEE Young Filmmakers Hub. This funding will enable us to provide invaluable opportunities to young people between 12 and 18 who are passionate about filmmaking, regardless of their circumstances. With this support, we can help them develop the skills, knowledge, confidence, and connections needed to pursue a career in the film, TV and media industries. The vision of The Sean Connery Foundation, inspired by the legacy of Edinburgh born and bred Sir Sean Connery, resonates deeply with our organisation’s mission. By supporting local talent and inspiring young people in the city where he grew up, the Foundation is truly connecting with Sir Sean Connery’s roots. We are honoured to be representing Edinburgh in the Foundation’s funding portfolio and be part of the Foundation’s efforts to make a positive impact in Scotland’s cultural and educational priorities. We look forward to making a meaningful impact in the lives of aspiring young filmmakers and creating a more inclusive and accessible film industry in Edinburgh and beyond.”

Station House Media Unit (SHMU), established as a charity in 2003, is one of the core cultural organisations in North East Scotland and is at the forefront of community media development in the UK. We are a community anchor organisation, supporting residents in the seven regeneration areas of Aberdeen in film and TV production, radio and podcast broadcasting, traditional and online publications, music production and digital inclusion. These platforms are used as vehicles for personal and collective change; supporting skills development, active citizenship, community capacity building and community development. The organisation also supports other disadvantaged communities, both geographic and communities of interest, including an employability and training arm, and an adult services arm which provides support and opportunities for adults with barriers, including those who are criminal justice experienced and in recovery. We are also and SQA accredited learning centre offering a range of high-quality film and media qualifications, including the delivery of the Creative & Digital Media Foundation Apprenticeship in secondary schools across Aberdeenshire.

Murray Dawson, Founder & Chief Executive of Station House Media Unit added:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been selected by the Foundation for this award as it aligns perfectly with our core values; transforming the lives of young people from disadvantaged communities through creative film & media. This funding will allow us to turbocharge our moving image programmes with young people across the region; expanding existing successful programmes while introducing brand new initiatives co-designed alongside the young people who will directly benefit. This generous contribution from the Foundation will undoubtedly lead to raised aspirations of young people across the North East, supporting them to realise careers in the filmmaking industry, whilst providing them with a transferable skillset that will also build their confidence and self-esteem. We can’t wait to see the impact this investment will have on the young people who participate – and to watching all the great films they’ll be making along the way.”

The Portal Arts is an award winning creative media and arts charity based in Govan, Glasgow. We deliver two strands of work; community media access and Creative Steps for positive mental health. Through co-creative productions, we use filmmaking as a tool for community engagement, to raise issues and represent local people. Our socially engaged production model delivers media skills through participation, mentorship and training, with the aim of improving wellbeing and addressing inequality. Creative Steps is a positive mental health programme for adults who are experiencing enduring mental health conditions. We also recently launched The Portal Studios, the film production arm of the charity, which focuses on impact filmmaking and bringing unheard voices to wider audiences.

Moya Crowley, CEO of The Portal Arts has said:

“We’re delighted to receive this funding gift from the Connery Foundation, which will allow us to create a significant body of work with young people from under-represented backgrounds, including those with neurodivergent conditions. We aim to break down barriers, challenge misconceptions, and enable access for young people by engaging them at an early stage of the filmmaking process, providing them with knowledge, skillset, and confidence, through the creation of short form filmmaking and impact producing, on a broad scale.”


For the time being, the Foundation is not accepting unsolicited grant requests.

You can read the article published in The Scotsman here.

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