Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara announced this morning at Filmhouse in Edinburgh details of the programme for the 67th edition of Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). This year the Festival, which runs from 19-30 June, will showcase 146 features from 53 countries, including 14 World premieres, 6 international premieres and 10 European premieres.
The Festival boasts 125 new features, with highlights including FOR THOSE IN PERIL, the debut feature by Paul Wright, a contender for the Michael Powell Award, starring newcomer George MacKay and Kate Dickie. Alex Gibney’s controversial WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS screens within Directors’ Showcase. Noah Baumbach brings FRANCES HA to the Festival with co-writer and star Greta Gerwig, as part of the American Dreams strand which also includes Sofia Coppola’s depiction of fame-obsessed teens, THE BLING RING. Special Screenings include FIRE IN THE NIGHT, which receives its World premiere ahead of the 6 July anniversary of the Piper Alpha North Sea oil rig disaster of 1988. JURASSIC PARK 3D and the 1950 landmark Scottish film THE GORBALS STORY are two of the 21 classic titles in the Festival.
EIFF Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara said: “I’m very proud that in my second year at the Festival we’ve again put together a programme that reflects our festival’s commitment to international cinema, while giving our audiences opportunities to discover a broad range of outstanding work from British filmmakers. This year we take the Festival in a number of new directions. In our new “American Dreams” strand we bring the highlights from an exceptionally good year for American independent cinema. In our Focuses on Korea and Sweden, we recognise films that represent the artistic vitality and social commitment of two strong filmmaking nations. Our “New Realities” strand reaffirms our Festival’s continuing support for documentary filmmaking. And “Not Another Teen Movie” is a new section programmed by 15-19-year-olds for their peers. Altogether, our programme is filled with films that I’m sure our audiences will find exciting and inspiring.”
British films competing for the Michael Powell Award include 7 World premieres and 6 feature debuts. Among the Michael Powell Award contenders are the captivating Scottish tale of belonging and loss BLACKBIRD by Jamie Chambers; the black comedy EVERYONE’S GOING TO DIE by the two-person collective ‘Jones’; Paul Wright’s FOR THOSE IN PERIL; DUMMY JIM by Matt Hulse; MISTER JOHN by Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy; and John Hardwick’s SVENGALI, expanded from a YouTube series. A LONG WAY FROM HOME by Virginia Gilbert stars Natalie Dormer, who serves on the International Feature Film Competition jury; while THE SEA by Stephen Brown stars Ciarán Hinds and Charlotte Rampling. A documentary feature competing is LEVIATHAN by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel. Completing the selection are UWANTME2KILLHIM? by Andrew Douglas, based on true events, WE ARE THE FREAKS by Justin Edgar, in which misfit teens go on an all-nighter, and NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING, the Festival’s Closing Gala film, directed by John McKay. The Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film will be awarded from films within the Michael Powell selection.
The International Feature Film Competition includes a selection of live-action narrative films, animated films and documentaries, highlighting filmmaking from around the world that is imaginative, innovative and deserving of wider recognition. The selection introduces debuts from Mahdi Fleifel with A WORLD NOT OURS, a portrait of family life in a Palestinian refugee camp; Iraqi-Kurdistan-born director Hisham Zaman with BEFORE SNOWFALL a coming-of-age odyssey from East to West; and Argentine director Leonardo Brzezicki, who paints an erotic psychological landscape with sound in NOCHE. The European premiere of JOY by Greek documentary filmmaker Elias Giannakakis competes along with titles such as Alexey Fedorchenko’s CELESTIAL WIVES OF THE MEADOW MARI which focuses on the rites and customs of a Russian ethnic group; a dreamlike allegory set in Tehran, FAT SHAKER by Mohammad Shirvani; and I.D. by writer-director Kamal K.M. based on a real incident in Mumbai. JUVENILE OFFENDER, a gritty story of family neglect in Korea by Kang Yi-kwan, and OF SNAILS AND MEN, a Romanian post-Communist era social satire by Tudor Giurgiu, round out the International Feature Film Competition.
There are a number of Special Screenings across the Festival, including the World premiere of THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES from co-directors James Erskine and Zara Hayes about the historic 1973 tennis match between Wimbledon winner Billie Jean King and retired champion and self-proclaimed chauvinist Bobby Riggs; and, receiving its European premiere, HAWKING, for which filmmaker Stephen Finnigan was given unprecedented access to the world’s most famous living physicist, Stephen Hawking. I AM BREATHING tells the true story of Neil Platt following his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease just months after the birth of his son; the film screens in the Festival ahead of MND Global Awareness Day on Friday 21 June. There will also be a chance to see on the big screen the first two episodes of BBC Two’s crime drama PEAKY BLINDERS, set in the lawless streets of post-war Birmingham on the cusp of the 1920s, starring Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory and Sam Neill.
The American Dreams strand includes the European premiere of Scott McGehee’s WHAT MAISIE KNEW, a modern story based on the Henry James novel; Sebastian Silva’s MAGIC MAGIC, which reveals a star turn by Juno Temple; and THE EAST, which stars Brit Marling, who co-wrote with director Zal Batmanglij. International premieres include Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s C.O.G., adapted from humourist David Sedaris’s autobiographical essay; the sci-fi thriller UPSTREAM COLOUR by writer-director and actor Shane Carruth; and THIS IS MARTIN BONNER from Chad Hartigan, in which an unlikely friendship blossoms.
EIFF is privileged to welcome to Edinburgh one of the world’s greatest animators, Richard Williams, to celebrate his work with a retrospective, RICHARD WILLIAMS: 80 ANIMATED YEARS. This screening is in partnership with Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival and charts the development of Williams’s animated career. Williams will also present the coveted McLaren Award, which provides a focus for new British short animation. This year marks a new partnership with the British Council, which will see films selected from the McLaren Award competition for an international touring programme representing the best contemporary British animation. The Festival hosts a further Special Screening of short animations in tribute to Scott Ward, the award-winning cinematographer who died earlier this year. Scott had worked as animation programmer for EIFF for ten years.
The Directors’ Showcase presents work from established auteur directors and emerging talents with 23 films from 17 countries. The selection includes 6 documentaries including Thomas Riedelsheimer’s BREATHING EARTH SUSUMU SHINGU'S DREAM, following artist Susumu Shingu; and actor and director Sarah Polley's intimate family portrait STORIES WE TELL. Narrative films cover a variety of genres and include high-speed Hong-Kong cop film MOTORWAY directed by Pou-Soi Cheang and produced by action auteur Johnnie To, while Dibakar Banerjee takes Bollywood in a new direction with political thriller SHANGHAI. Intimate human dramas are represented with Bruno Barreto’s REACHING FOR THE MOON, about the love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares; Mania Akbari’s FROM TEHRAN TO LONDON, a poetic exploration of the roles of women, during the filming of which Akbari fled to the UK; and THE DEEP, Baltasar Kormákur’s breathtaking drama about an Icelandic fisherman who reluctantly became a national hero.
The World Perspectives strand presents 25 films from 18 countries, offering a spectrum of work from emerging directors. BIG BOY, from the Philippines, was shot on Super 8 by Shireen Seno; DAYS OF GRACE is a breathless triple-kidnapping thriller from Mexican director Everardo Valerio Gout; DIE WELT, set after the 2011 Tunisian revolution, is the feature debut from Dutch director Alex Pitstra; from Li Lou, EMPEROR VISITS THE HELL is a political satire inspired by a Ming Dynasty literary classic; and EVERYBODY’S GONE is an outstanding debut by Georgiy Paradjanov, nephew of legendary master director Sergei Paradzhanov.
With New Realities, EIFF features some of the most interesting documentary filmmakers working today, including Thomas Heise, who observes the routines of a crematorium in CONSEQUENCE; PJ Raval, who reveals the lives and loves of three gay seniors in BEFORE YOU KNOW IT; and first-time director Khaled Jarrar, who follows fellow Palestinians’ attempts to cross the wall separating them from Israel in INFILTRATORS. The enigmatic Scottish maker of salmon flies Megan Boyd is the subject of Eric Steel’s KISS THE WATER; and with LUNARCY! Simon Ennis takes an affectionate look at a group of individuals obsessed with the moon. The strand also hosts the World premiere of DESERT RUNNERS by Jennifer Steinman, an intimate film about competitors in RacingThePlanet’s 4Desert Ultra-marathons, and the European premiere of Jeanie Finlay’s THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX, the stranger than fiction story of Billy Boyd and Gavin Bain, aka ‘Silibil 'n' Brains’.
Filmmakers and filmmaking is the subject of the Film on Film strand which includes: NATAN, David Cairns and Paul Duane’s moving account of Bernard Natan, a forgotten giant of French cinema; A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM by Mark Cousins; and Graham Eatough’s THE MAKING OF US, commissioned by the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.
The late-night Night Moves strand hosts the World premiere of OUTPOST 3: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ, with producer Kieran Parker turning director for the third instalment of the popular Nazi zombie saga; and the European premiere of SHOOTING BIGFOOT, in which British filmmaker Morgan Matthews travels to America and forms uneasy alliances with several Bigfoot trackers. Concept artist Richard Raaphorst directs his first horror flick, FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY, a Nazi v Communist ‘found footage’ horror; while PARIS COUNTDOWN, a high-octane thriller, is director Edgar Marie's debut feature; and the master of Japanese horror Hideo Nakata brings us THE COMPLEX.
EIFF will this year screen 172 short films from 38 countries across 22 programmes. In addition to animated shorts the Festival continues to showcase new work by Scottish, UK and international filmmakers, including DAY TRIP by Park Chan-wook and his brother, Park Chan-kyong. The experimental Black Box strand presents a series of shorts programmes from innovators in the visual art world as well as the World premiere of documentary poem and travelogue ‘10’ from photographer filmmaker Telemach Wiesinger. The Festival enters new territory this year with BLACK BOX LIVE, a presentation of multi-projector expanded cinema artworks performed live by experimental practitioners Nominoë, Sami van Ingen, and Screen Banditas.
The first of the retrospectives previously announced will celebrate the work of French director Jean Grémillon with a programme of features and short films in partnership with the BFI, while the second, presented as part of a wider programme running at Filmhouse, recognises the Hollywood director Richard Fleischer.
As previously announced, this year’s two country Focuses showcase work from Korea and Sweden not previously seen in the UK. The Focus on Korea includes films ranging from the commercial mainstream to independent cinema that show the diversity and vitality of Korean film today. The Focus on Sweden includes feature films from contemporary mainstream and experimental filmmakers, a film by an old master from the silent era, and a selection of shorts.
A new initiative this year has seen a group of 15-19-year-olds with a keen interest in film select films under the mentorship of the Festival. Entitled ‘Not Another Teen Movie’, their new strand includes include quarter-life crisis comedy OLD STOCK by Canadian director James Genn; 7 BOXES, a thrilling chase movie set in the markets of Paraguayan capital Asunción, from co-directors Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori; STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, starring Chris Colfer and Rebel Wilson; Danish coming-of-age drama YOU & ME FOREVER and a collection of short films.
As previously announced, the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival opens with the European premiere of Drake Doremus’s BREATHE IN with Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce and the Closing Gala is the World premiere of the Scottish romantic comedy NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING, starring Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber. Disney•Pixar’s MONSTERS UNIVERSITY is this year’s Family Gala, screening at Festival Theatre Edinburgh in 3D.
THE 67TH EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL RUNS FROM JUNE 19 - 30