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Scottish Filmmaking Strikes a Note at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015

19 May 2015

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) is excited to announce a number of Scottish titles in the 2015 Programme showcasing the works of numerous Scottish filmmakers and acting talent. 

From features and shorts to music documentaries, animations and exclusive gigs, this year’s EIFF, which runs from 17-28 June, celebrates the very best in Scottish talent with many filmmakers and guests expected to attend this year’s Festival. 

As previously announced, the 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival opens with the World Premiere of Robert Carlyle’s Glasgow-set THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON starring Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone, and the Closing Gala is the World Premiere of Scott Graham’s IONA starring Ruth Negga (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), Douglas Henshall (Shetland), Tom Brooke (The Boat That Rocked), Michelle Duncan (Atonement), Ben Gallagher and Sorcha Groundsell.

Other highlights include Peter Mullan’s perfectly pitched performance in HECTOR; Karen Gillan’s directorial short debut COWARD; plus there will be an exclusive live gig from singer/songwriter Vic Godard and friends following the World Premiere of music doc BIG GOLD DREAM. The Festival is also delighted to confirm a special performance from musical maverick Bill Drummond following the screening of his documentary IMAGINE WAKING UP TOMORROW AND ALL MUSIC HAS DISAPPEARED, as well as ex-Marillion frontman Fish who will attend the World Premiere of his fly-on-the-wall documentary POLSKA. Cycling superstar Graeme Obree, aka “The Flying Scotsman” will also attend the Festival for his truly inspirational and charming documentary BATTLE MOUNTAIN. Additional guests attending the Festival will be announced at a later date.

Mark Adams, EIFF Artistic Director, said: “We are delighted to be presenting so many films with Scottish links at this year’s festival. Not only are we opening and closing with brilliant new local films, but the festival is punctuated with terrific Scottish documentaries, shorts, animation and features.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, said: “This year the Edinburgh International Film Festival is bursting with Scottish talent. From the opening scenes of The Legend of Barney Thomson to when the credits roll on Iona, the festival will celebrate a wide variety of talented Scottish actors and filmmakers. This extraordinary level of Scottish creativity on show at the EIFF is also apparent to those attending Cannes this week. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the hard work of Scottish filmmakers at festivals in Scotland, the UK and overseas.”

Natalie Usher, Director of Film & Media at Creative Scotland, said: “We are delighted to see such a large number and variety of projects with a Scottish connection screening throughout the Festival, demonstrating the talent and skills of filmmakers and crew working in Scotland. To have the premieres of films from Scottish directors as the Opening and Closing films in this prestigious programme is tremendous. EIFF is a key event in Scotland's cultural calendar, delivering inspirational, world-class cinema experiences to audiences and providing an excellent platform for emerging and established filmmakers to build their national and international profile. We look forward to an engaging and exciting EIFF 2015.”

Presenting a number of music documentaries, EIFF will host the World Premiere of Grant McPhee’s BIG GOLD DREAM, a contender for The Audience Award, which tells the previously untold story of a post-punk/indie music scene that reverberated from Edinburgh, throughout the UK and beyond. The film takes a look at Bob Last and Hilary Morrison’s independent record label Fast Product in the late 1970s, which quickly became the hub for an eclectic group of musicians. There will be an exclusive gig following the film’s Premiere on Friday 19 June at the Traverse Theatre featuring some of the musical talents from the film including singer-songwriter Vic Godard. Stefan Schwietert’s fascinating glimpse into the mind of a musical maverick, IMAGINE WAKING UP TOMORROW AND ALL MUSIC HAS DISAPPEARED documents Scottish artist, musician and writer, Bill Drummond’s idiosyncratic approach to the music industry. Here he provides exclusive commentary on his work, past and present, whilst working on one of his current passions, his choral project The17.  Drummond will attend the UK Premiere of the film and take part in a special performance after the screening. Artur Guza’s access-all-areas documentary POLSKA delves in to the world of Scottish singer, songwriter and actor Derek Dick, better known as “Fish”, who was the lead singer of British rock band Marillion.  A deeply moving and honest portrayal, Fish will be in attendance at the Festival where the film receives its World Premiere.

This year’s Programme boasts a number of films with superb Scottish acting and directing talent. Peter Mullan’s outstanding performance in HECTOR, alongside Gina McKee, Keith Allan and Stephen Tomkinson, sees him play homeless pensioner Hector McAdam in this captivating study of a man with a tragic past. The film will receive its World Premiere at the Festival.  James Cosmo’s astonishingly powerful and moving performance in PYRAMID TEXTS, again a World Premiere, tells the story of veteran fighter Ray who talks about his life and career in the ring. BAFTA-Scotland award-winner Colin Kennedy’s charming and funny Glasgow-set directorial debut feature SWUNG, which receives its World Premiere at the Festival, is a graphic, touching and funny drama about the secret underside of a very modern relationship taken to its emotional and sexual limits. Based on Scottish writer Ewan Morrison’s debut novel of the same name, the film stars Elena Anaya, Owen McDonnell and Elizabeth McGovern. Former EIFF short award winner Martin Radich’s NORFOLK is a haunting and atmospheric film starring Denis Menochet (Inglourious Basterds) as a tough-love father whose strong relationship with his teenage son (Barry Keoghan) is tested when the boy befriends a girl (Goda Lethauskaite). Co-produced by the Scottish Documentary Institute, the film receives its UK Premiere at the Festival. All four films are contenders for The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film and Best Performance in a British Feature Film.

Scottish locations also feature widely in this year’s Programme, including Talulah Riley’s writer/directorial debut feature SCOTTISH MUSSEL which receives its World Premiere. An old-fashioned romp that relishes its wonderful Scottish West Coast locations and frothy sense of humour, Martin Compston stars as a Glaswegian chancer who moonlights as an illegal pearl fisher in the Highland streams, but falls for a beautiful English conservationist (played by Riley herself) who is passionate about saving endangered mussels. The film co-stars Rufus Hound, Joe Thomas, boxer "Amazing" Alex Arthur and Harry Enfield, and talent from the film are expected to attend the Festival. 

Fascinating true Scottish stories make a compelling appearance in this year’s Programme, including the remarkable story of ANDREW CARNEGIE: RAGS TO RICHES, POWER TO PEACE. From humble beginnings in his hometown of Dunfermline, to one of the wealthiest men in the world, Andrew Carnegie made his name as a leading figure within the expansion of the American steel industry. A fascinating look at this great Scot whose mark is still felt around the globe today, the film receives its World Premiere at the Festival. David Street’s charming documentary BATTLE MOUNTAIN follows cycling legend Graeme Obree, aka “The Flying Scotsman”, as he prepares for the human-powered vehicle land speed record attempt in Nevada, using a very unusual bike designed by himself, and christened "The Beastie" by his friend Sir Chris Hoy. Obree is confirmed to attend the film’s World Premiere at the Festival on Friday 19 June. The European Premiere of THE CLOSER WE GET is a powerful, autobiographical story from Scottish director Karen Guthrie. This tender yet bittersweet documentary is the story of an apparently ordinary family having to stoically deal with broken dreams and hidden secrets.   A contender for The Award for the Best Documentary, the film is a candid narrative of contemporary family survival.

Scottish shorts this year include Karen Gillan’s directorial debut COWARD which receives its European Premiere at the Festival. The film tells the story of a young girl and the pressures she gets from her mother to become a famous actress.   Additional shorts include Still Game star Greg Hemphill’s irreverent comedy GASPING starring the brilliant Frankie Boyle as Harvey Higgins who tackles his demons, and loses, which receives its European Premiere. The World Premiere of Edinburgh-based director Owen Rixon’s animation TOONOCALYPSE sees two Edinburgh students document the seemingly harmless infiltration of Earth by cute little cartoon characters.  All three shorts are nominated for The Award for Best Short Film.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival 17 - 28 June 2015
The EIFF 2015 Programme will be launched on 27 May 2015

About Edinburgh International Film Festival
Established in 1947, Edinburgh International Film Festival is renowned around the world for discovering and promoting the very best in international cinema - and for heralding and debating changes in global filmmaking. Intimate in its scale, ambitious in its scope, and fuelled by pure passion for cinema in all its manifestations, EIFF seeks to spotlight the most exciting and innovative new film talent, in a setting steeped in history. 


EIFF is supported by Creative Scotland, the BFI, the Scottish Government through the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, the City of Edinburgh Council, and EventScotland.

The Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) was founded in 2010 with a mission to be at the forefront of the development of film and the moving image in Scotland.  The CMI currently comprises EIFF, Filmhouse in Edinburgh and the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen. 

The Edinburgh International Film Festival Limited is a company registered in Scotland No: SC132453.  It is a subsidiary of the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) which is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status with Scottish Charity No. SC006793.

About Creative Scotland
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please  Follow us @CreativeScots and Facebook.

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