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EIFF to open with McDonagh's The Guard

Edinburgh has announced its line-up, a third of which will consist of documentaries; Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin, starring EIFF patron Tilda Swinton, will not screen at the festival.

The 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival (June 15-26) will open with John Michael McDonagh’s Irish comedy thriller The Guard starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, which world premiered at Sundance.

UK premieres at the festival will include Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut Jack Goes Boating (which was released in the US in 2010), Keith Bearden’s Meet Monica Velour starring Kim Cattrall, Steven Silver’s The Bang Bang Club with Ryan Phillipe and Paul Fraser’s My Brothers.

Despite previous speculation, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin, which stars EIFF patron Tilda Swinton, will not be screening at the festival, EIFF’s new director James Mullighan told Screen. “I would have loved to have played it, but Tilda and Seamus are filming in June and Artificial Eye aren’t releasing theatrically until the end of the year, so from a hard nosed business point of view, that was the decision they had to make,” he explained.

The fesitval will screen the European premiere of Pascal Arnold’s and Jean Marc Barr’s American Translation, with other European films including Alex de la Iglesia’s The Last Circus, Norwegian director Andrew Ovredal’s mock doc The Troll Hunter and Baldvin Zophoníasson’s coming of age feature Jitters.

Paying tribute to the festival’s documentary roots, a third of the programme will be made up of docs, including ten joint UK premieres with Sheffield International Documentary Festival, as previously announced.

UK documentary premieres will include Peter Gilbert’s study of climate change Burning Ice, Jeanie Findlay’s Sound it Out about the UK’s last surviving vinyl record shops; and Danfung Dennis’ Sundance winner Hell and Back Again, which will be part of a “Conflict/Reportage” strand exploring the work of combat journalists. War Reporter Martin Bell OBE will be speaking at the festival.

Another new strand will be Reel Science, supported by the Wellcome Trust, which will include James Marsh’s doc Project Nim, which is jointly premiering at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

As previously announced, the festival will screen David Hare’s first directorial outing for 20 years, spy drama Page Eight starring Bill Nighy and  Rachel Weisz, Niall MacCormick’s coming of age drama Albatross with Sebastian Koch and Julia Ormond and the UK premiere of David MacKenzie’s Glasgow-set sci-fi thriller love story Perfect Sense starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green.

The line-up will also includes a series of screenings and events conceived by “guest curators” including Gus Van Sant who has programmed a Derek Jarman retrospective, Hungarian director Bela Tarr who has chosen a selection of Hungarian classics and The Streets’ singer Mike Skinner who will stage a performance event based on his favourite film moments.

EIFF will host a new annual industry conference in association with Screen International, a music film talent lab supported by Creative Scotland under its Creative Futures programme and a talent lab for film making scriptwriters and producers supported by the Scottish Government’s EXPO fund.

Other new initiatives at this year’s festival include a celebration of short films via the Nokia Shorts Weekender, Project: New Cinephila, an “experimental platform” for established and aspiring film critics, sponsored by Mubi, and Behind The Camera, a “pop up” film school featuring events in association with DazedTV, Edinburgh College of Art and Shooting People.

EIFF’s new director James Mullighan said the programme reflected a need to re-think the festival’s format. “In our 65th year, rather than ease into senior citizenship, the EIFF team has instead taken the bold and essential step of looking to the future and reinventing the festival for modern audiences.

He said that it had been an “extremely exciting and sometimes even daunting process, and one that has sparked much debate from organisers, advisors and fans alike,” adding that he was sure it would be an “EIFF to remember.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • What an underwhelming, insubstantial programme. What has happened to this once great Festival?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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