Fans of David Mackenzie's earlier films The Last Great Wilderness, Young Adam and Asylum will not be too surprised by his new feature Hallam Foe, he predicts. "I thought it was an opportunity to do something that goes with the general flow of my work," he says of the project, which has its world premiere on February 16 in Berlin.

The film is based on the eponymous novel by Mackenzie's friend Peter Jinks, which was optioned by Mackenzie and his Sigma Films producing partner Gillian Berrie about three years ago. Mackenzie adapted the script with Edward Whitmore.

"It's an odd coming-of-age story, it has a Catcher In The Rye element to it," Mackenzie says. The story follows a misfit, voyeuristic teenager who becomes convinced that his beautiful stepmother is responsible for his mother's suicide. "I'm interested in outsiderish characters," Mackenzie says. "And there's something fresher and more appealing about dealing with a young character."

He says that the film does feel faster-paced than the langorous timings of Young Adam. "This has a lot more energy than some of the work I've done before; others have drawn you in more slowly. Hallam Foe has got more vitality."

The film also presented a way to work with a contemporary setting - not the periods of Asylum or Young Adam - and an unusual way to look at his Scottish homeland. "I was very interested in the rooftops of Edinburgh, where part of the story is set," Mackenzie says. Hallam Foe shot for six weeks in March and April 2006 in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Peeblesshire.

Jamie Bell carries the film in the title role, and Mackenzie thinks this piece of work will distance the actor even further from his Billy Elliot past. "Jamie's been doing some interesting work, he's an amazing young talent. He really threw himself into this role."

Next, Film4 has commissioned Mackenzie to write a western and he is also working on several other scripts. He is also hoping to finally direct his Highlands-based drama, White Male Heart, an adaptation of Ruaridh Nicoll's novel about two young men whose friendship is put in jeopardy when a young woman comes between them.

Budget: $6m (£3.1m)
Co-producers: A Sigma Film production in association with Lunar Films backed by Film4, Ingenious Film Partners, Scottish Screen and Glasgow Film Finance
Sales agent: Independent, +44 (0)20 7257 8734
Major territories sold: Buena Vista has UK rights