A dark wartime drama written by the STV newsreader John MacKay is one of several Scottish films being planned at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Carol McGregor, executive producer of Sorbier Productions and the mother of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, is in Cannes to find financial backing for a movie version of MacKay's 2004 novel The Road Dance.

His novel, set in the Hebrides, is a period drama about the traumas inflicted on its heroine, Kirsty MacLeod, around the time of the First World War. With a budget of £8 million, it will be shot on location on Lewis and is to be directed by the leading Scottish actor David Hayman.

Mrs McGregor, whose famous son is one of the judges on the Cannes jury this year, said: "It is quite a dark story and the film will not be quite as dark, but we plan to shoot on Lewis, and all on location and in period.

"This is a film which not only features a very strong female lead, a great role, but several strong female characters, and we are delighted that David Hayman is attached.

"Hopefully, we can start shooting on Lewis next year."

Mr MacKay added: "Many people who've read The Road Dance have said it has a cinematic quality to it, which is what encouraged me to adapt it as a screenplay. The quest now is to secure funding."

Although the red carpet events and star appearances capture most of the attention at the festival, it is the business side of Cannes which is of most importance to filmmakers.

"I will be here for a week, and it is just meeting after meeting," said Mrs McGregor. "It is the follow-up conversations when we return home which are almost as important. I have had a chance to see Ewan, but he is very busy, seeing two movies a day, and he cannot say a word about them."

Patsi Mackenzie, who runs Sorbier Productions, said: "The ancient custom of the road dance – still recalled by many older islanders – is intriguing, and lends itself to the possibility of superb music for the film."

It will also be announced today that seven movies in the early stages of their development are to be backed by Creative Scotland, the national arts funding body. The films will be developed through the Accelerator feature film programme, worth £161,000 in lottery funds, and have been selected by Creative Scotland and the Playwrights' Studio Scotland.

They include: Seen, written and directed by former Citizens Theatre director Jeremy Raison; Creed, by Jonathan Barraclough; Fanatical, by the journalist Audrey Gillan and produced by Claire Mundell and Wendy Griffin; Mainland, by writers Raymond Friel and Derek Boyle; Monica Pink Pet Shrink, by director Tim Pope and written by Frances O'Neill; Shows, by writer and director Martin Smith; and Smokeheads, by writers David Ireland and Alan McKenna and producer Carole Sheridan.

Creative Scotland will also stage a series of events to attract film companies to Scotland and foster business and artistic relationships between Scottish producers and international companies, distributors and producers.

Creative Scotland, which unveiled controversial new funding plans for the arts sector last week, is spending £48,000 in Cannes this year.

Film funding in Scotland is expected to increase in the future, with more National Lottery funding available in the next few years. However, the £300,000 limit on funding for a single film from Creative Scotland is likely to remain in place.

Caroline Parkinson, director of creative development at Creative Scotland, said : "Accelerator will result in more great movies from our dynamic film industry."