If the definition of an entrepreneur is someone who demonstrates enterprise and is prepared to take risks for a project in which he or she passionately believes, then May Miles-Thomas, a director of

Glasgow-based Elemental Films, is one.

With her partner Owen Thomas, she has just completed her first feature, One Life Stand, which successfully premiered at the Glasgow Film Theatre earlier this month and will have its world premier on the opening day of the International Film Festival in

Rotterdam on Thursday.

This film is likely to be the first all-digital/all-electronic feature to have been made in this country. It was shot on tape, digitally edited, outputted to a digital format and digitally exhibited.

As a production company, Elemental owns the movie, the first in Scotland to be digitally projected courtesy of Manchester-based Digital Projections, a wholly owned subsidiary of the IMAX Corporation.

While it is accepted that electronic cinema will not happen overnight, there are already signs that it is well on its way, with new cinema complexes incorporating at least two digital cinemas out of 16 or 18 units.

Digital Projection has spent the past nine years and #25m in research and development.

''We are asked for a lot of support whether directly or through one of our distributors somewhere in the world. We deal with the cream of the industry, Star Wars, Shakespeare in Love, then along come two people from Glasgow who have made a film on nothing more than a home digital camera,'' explains marketing manager Mike Hood.

''What impressed me was their technical ability and preparation, their understanding and vision.

''I asked for more material for screening and they turned up with better information on screen, more definition, more direction further down the edit line, a very commercially created film shot in a professional manner. I loved it and I believe that the grass roots of digital film making is with the film makers.''

Given that level of technological involvement, it is surprising to find that Miles-Thomas has come to film through the traditional route of television, working originally as a designer, then becoming an assistant producer and director.

Elemental Films was formed in 1995 following a funding award for the first series of Prime Cuts, a short film scheme. A subsequent short film won best film at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, but breaking through into drama features was still difficult. She began to explore other routes.

I knew no-one was going to come to me with a killer script and ask me to direct it, so I started writing,'' she explains. ''I had written my first script in 1992 and it was short-listed for Tartan Shorts, but since then I have submitted 20 projects to various film funding bodies with no success.

''I just couldn't get past go. The difficulty is that if you are not perceived to be directing and writing drama then it is hard to persuade people that you are capable of doing it.''

In 1997, she began a film scholarship in Berlin, where she researched a script idea, wrote the treatment and a first draft.

Then, after researching the new technology, she bought a 3-chip camcorder, a PC-based non-linear editing system and, with Owen Thomas, made a trial 52-minute documentary which was based around Owen's Hungarian grandmother, practice for the feature drama based on a script Miles-Thomas had written in Berlin, One Life Stand.

''We had tried without success to attract funding for previous projects through the traditional public-funders route,'' says Miles- Thomas. ''So on this occasion, after waiting seven years to prove myself as a director and writer, rather than jump through the bureaucratic hoops again with the possible outcome of another rejection we decided to risk our own money and invest in the project ourselves.''

Miles-Thomas became writer, director of photography, editor and director, and Owen Thomas was executive producer, sound recordist and designer.

Glasgow-based independent producer Karen Smyth came on board as producer.

Owning the equipment gave them financial advantage, eliminating the need to hire expensive equipment and crew.

''It was not only a fiscal decision,'' says Miles-Thomas. ''Apart from the intimacy afforded by a small camera, another advantage is speed.

''I was looking for an intimacy and speed. With the small camera, I could set the pace of the shoot and, working on such a tight budget and schedule, time was everything.''

With low stock costs, there might have been a temptation to shoot too much, but Miles- Thomas avoided the danger with a self-imposed discipline.

''I knew that ultimately I had to manage the material myself, so I shot exactly what I needed while at the same time giving the actors a chance to get the performance they wanted,'' she explains.

''I had already made the decision to shoot purely in static shots and create movement in the edit process. I also decided to shoot in black and white because, shooting in a mini DV format, to correct and balance the colour satisfactorily would have been impossible for us within our budget.''

The market-place for One Life Stand has always been conceived as European, with a potential limited theatrical release in art house theatres and smaller cinemas in the UK and US.

Elemental was approached by a number of major US distributors with offices in every major European city before shooting started, and Miles-Thomas cut a promotional reel, a four and a half minute trailer, which was well received.

The project has been remarkably crisis-free. Given the nature of the funding, the company has experienced no cash flow problems and there has been a lack of interference from outside forces.

If the actual film making itself has been approached from an unusual perspective, so too has the running of the business.

''We are unusual because we only have one product, it takes a year to produce that product, and then it enters a very exclusive and slippery market,'' says Owen Thomas.

''We hand over a tape in a box and another company then attempts to return a profit from relationships with lots of individuals, so it is a simple business in terms of planning, management, finance and the legal aspects. All we needed was cash up front to make one item.

''But it is all meaningless without profit. One of the mistakes made in financing movies through the public system is not to recognise the central role of profit.

''In the end we do not know if we will make anything back, but if we do then we make it back and not some third party investor.

Miles-Thomas's advice to other film makers is clear.

''It's not enough to have a script and shoot it, you have to consider the whole picture, including post production and marketing.

''Don't hire fancy offices, keep overheads down and pay people you value to get the job done.

''Never consider giving up, plan your shoot meticulously and remember: it's not what a movie costs, it's what it's worth.''