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John Maclean is a Scottish film director, screenwriter and musician. He is best known for writing and directing the 2015 film Slow West and as a former member of the indie rock band The Beta Band.[1]



Maclean obtained his bachelor's degree (BA) in drawing and painting from Edinburgh College of Art, and his master's degree (MA) from The Royal College of Art in London. After college, he delivered cars by driving them to their new owners around America; seeing so much of the country later inspired his interest to make a Western.[2][3][4]

Maclean was a member of the Scottish indie-rock groups The Beta Band from 1997 to 2004 and The Aliens from 2005 to 2008. He also directed music videos for these bands, as well as the video for Hand of Man, Django Django's 2013 single. David Maclean, John's brother, is Django Django's drummer and producer. Those videos came to the attention of Michael Fassbender, who agreed to be involved in a 2009 short film Man on a Motorcycle, and later in Slow West.[3][5] The Guardian described the partnership between Maclean and Fassbender as "not quite up there with Scorsese/De Niro yet, but a good start".[6]

Maclean is the son of Scottish artist Marian Leven.[7]



Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2009 Man on a Motorcycle Yes Yes Short film
2011 Pitch Black Heist Yes Yes Short film. Won BAFTA for Best Short Film.
2015 Slow West Yes Yes


Reviewing Slow West, the Village Voice concluded that "Maclean is a supremely promising talent."[8]

Maclean won a Best Short Film BAFTA award in 2012 for Pitch Black Heist, which starred Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham.[9] His first feature film was the 2015 western-drama Slow West.[1] He won the "World Cinema Jury Prize: Dramatic" at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.[10] The same year, BAFTA named him as a "Brit to Watch".[11][12]


  1. ^ a b Ian Youngs, Entertainment reporter (24 June 2015). "Slow West director John Maclean: From Beta Band to Wild West". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  2. ^ John Maclean on IMDb
  3. ^ a b Youngs, Ian (24 June 2015). "Slow West director John Maclean: From Beta Band to Wild West". BBC News. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  4. ^ Garofalo, Alex (April 22, 2015). "'Slow West' Director John Maclean Discusses His Groundbreaking Western At The Tribeca Film Festival". International Business Times. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  5. ^ Django Django - Hand of Man (Official Video). YouTube. 8 January 2013.
  6. ^ Virtue, Graeme (24 June 2015). "Slow West: 'Working with Michael Fassbender was like being in a band'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Stark Talk: Marian Leven and Will Maclean". BBC News. BBC. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  8. ^ Scherstuhl, Alan (May 13, 2015). "Slow West is a Gorgeous Dada Western". Village Voice. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Ex-Beta Band John Maclean demonstrates his filmmaking prowess for Django Django". Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  10. ^ Fischer, Russ (31 January 2015). "Sundance Awards 2015 Go to 'The Witch,' 'Slow West,' 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl'". Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  11. ^ "BAFTA to Showcase 'Brit To Watch' John Maclean in New York and Los Angeles". BAFTA. 13 April 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  12. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (15 April 2015). "BAFTA showcases John Maclean in Brits to Watch". Cineuropa. Retrieved 28 September 2015.

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