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                                               peteer. He began directing theatre productions in his 20s, and from there moved into film.
“I’d always been interested in pho- tography,” he adds, “and I think that’s been very helpful. As time goes by our scripts are getting more succinct. You leave a lot of latitude for the actors, because after a while you’re experi- enced enough to know what they can bring to it. In the end they know the characters better than I ever will, I just sketch them out.”
The collaborative creativity of film is clearly a big part of the thrill for Moffat, even if the business side of things is a little more problematic. While Palm Tree are enjoying some balmy days right now, the people behind it are well aware that they are only one movie away from financial strife.
“With us, one film basically finances the next. There’s a lot of tax money around these days, so it’s easy enough to get a film off the ground but then you have to launch the next one
off the finance of the previous one. It’s like piggy-backing, but sure, you’re only one picture away from disaster in that sense.
“But I think we’re surviving quite well. We’re not on the breadline any more and 2004 is looking good, every- thing is looking very positive. A lot of companies want to do co-productions with us now, we’ve had contact with companies in Denmark, Norway and Germany. And we have people coming to us with projects now, so that will play a part in our expansion I think.
“If there is money available to make the films you might as well work on a numbers game of returns on them. It’s inevitable that you make a film with a few flaws, but at least you’ve made it.
“The thing is to learn from the errors and go on to try and make a better film. We’re always trying to make better films; a lot of training goes on with the people who work with us so hopefully that trickles through.”
Citing cinematic heroes like David Lean, Akira Kurosawa and Ridley Scott, Moffat’s sky-high ambition is not constrained by the more humble realities of low budget filmmaking. The fact that he has achieved so much through his own efforts is impressive enough, added to the very single-minded attitude neces- sary to fly in the face of received ‘wisdom’ about where exactly a film- maker ought to be based.
There are several other films on Palm Tree Productions’ slate, all Scottish based and each contrast- ing with the eclectic mix of sub- jects, genres and periods that have come before.
Moffat and Sutherland seem more determined than ever to keep moving forward turning out bigger and better films as they go. “It’s a business,” Moffat chuckles, “like manufacturing widgets. Sometimes they’re round and sometimes they’re square, but it’s the same machinery you use.”
Clearly a man doing a job he loves, the prospect of returning to the soli- tude of the novelist agonising over every adjective and comma is not something that appeals to him now.
“I couldn’t. Film is where it’s at for me. It’s more immediate. What I used to like about the theatre was that you could write a play and then perform them. It’s like that with film now. You write them the week before and then go out and shoot them.
“And I get a real kick out of it. The moment that stops, I think I’ll get a ham- mock under the palm tree and let some- one else get on with it.” ■ ANWAR BRETT
Love The One You’re With, The Hawk & The Dove, The Winter Warrior, Finding Fortune, The Bone Hunter, Red Rose and Rain Dog were all originated on Fujicolor Motion Picture Negative
 Photo main: A scene from Red Rose; Right: Scenes from various films and crew on location
Fuji Motion Picture And Professional Video • Exposure • 25

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