course on Filmmaking In Education. There he pooled unused budgets of fellow students in order to make the black and white short that finally got him into the National Film School at the age of 34. In the meantime he had been a cartoonist, a youth worker in north London and an illustrator. His graduation film at the NFS, Passing Glory, won the first (and, as it turned out, only) Scottish Film Prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival, allowing him to make a trio ofTV movies Conquest of the South Pole, Needle and The Grass Arena all ofwhich have strong social themes.

‘Do I go looking for these subjects or do they come looking for me?’ he asks rhetorically. ‘Maybe it’s because you make a certain step and that sets off a chain of events that attract each other. Television has been absolutely critical for me. You don’t have people on your back all the time about money - there’s only so much money in television and that’s it. You only get twenty days or whatever to shoot it, so you know what the terms are. I would recommend any filmmaker who’s starting up to do a TV film if they can get it. It’s a similar experience to being at film school.’

Despite the acclaim he receives on his home turf, Mackinnon is understandably bemused by BBC Scotland’s decision to show a football match while the rest ofthe country saw Needle. ‘You think, how can we talk about Scottish filmmakers ifwe don’t even show their films? I don’t feel like a Scottish filmmaker in the sense that I’m only here to make Scottish films. I’ll tell you, the number of Irish scripts I’ve got sitting on my desk in proportion to any others is extraordinary, but not very many Scottish ones. If we made one really good Scottish film which had commercial sensibility to it, and was also a good film, then we might be off. But how do you raise money, for example, to make a film about a big Scottish historical subject? That’s what I’d like to do. I suppose you’ve got to follow Sean Connery around golf courses and try to persuade him to be in it.’

The Playboys receives a BA F TA Scotland preview screening at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Tuesday I4 April before opening nationally in June.

Above: The Playboys- ‘one at the mostaccompltshad teatures to come from these Isles in many a year’. Below: Robin Wright

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as Tara.

The List 10— 23 April 1992 9