We’ll Never Have Paris, from Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg, to close the festival, which has also revealed details of its Germany focus.

Simon Helberg’s romantic comedy We’ll Never Have Paris has been named as the closing night film of the 68th Edinburgh International Film Festival (June 18-29).

Helberg, who plays Howard Wolowitz in US sitcom The Big Bang Theory, wrote, co-directed with Jocelyn Towne and stars in the film, based on the co-directors’ real life romantic history. Zachary Quinto, Alfred Molina, Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter and Maggie Grace co-star.

The film follows a neurotic young man (Helberg) rattled by a sudden declaration of love from an attractive co-worker (Grace) moments before he is about to propose to his girlfriend (Lynskey). Heartbroken, she flees to Paris, and he must race across the Atlantic to win her back.

Released in the UK by Metrodome, the film is produced by Robert Ogden Barnum (All is Lost) and Katie Mustard, along with Helberg and Towne. International sales are handled by K5 International.

Chris Fujiwara, EIFF artistic director described the film as “a funny and very personal romantic comedy”. He added: “We’ll be able to close this year’s festival on a real high note.”

We’ll Never Have Paris will receive its international premiere at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre on June 29 with Helberg in attendanc. Metrodome will release nationwide in August.

In a joint quote as co-directors, Helberg and Towne said: “It is an unbelievable thrill to be picked as the coveted closing night film at such a legendary festival. We hope the people of Scotland will find our pain and suffering as funny as we do.”

We’ll Never Have Paris premiered at the SXSW festival on March 10.

The festival’s opening film has yet to be announced and the full line-up is set to be revealed on May 28.

German focus

As previously announced, this year will see a Focus on Germany strand at the Festival which aims to shine a light on the country’s most inventive filmmakers with screenings of new and retrospective films. The strand has been programmed in partnership with German Films, with additional support from the Goethe-Institut.

Highlights of the programme include hard-hitting family dramas Daughters by Maria Speth; Parents directed by Robert Thalheim; and Edward Berger’s tale of courage and responsibility, Jack.

Other titles include Stations Of The Cross from Dietrich Brüggemann, which charts a teenage girl’s struggles with questions of life, death and faith; while A House In Berlin, directed by Cynthia Beatt, explores a woman’s personal journey of self-discovery as she delves in to the history of 20th century Germany.

The strand will also include expansive works such as Edgar Reitz’s historical epic Home From Home - Chronicle Of A Vision; Thomas Heise’s documentary observing juvenile offenders in Mexico, Staedtebewohner; Bruce LaBruce’s experimental adaptation of Arnold Schönberg’s song cycle, Pierrot Lunaire; and the UK premiere of Dominik Graf’s Beloved Sisters

Shorts programme Small Revolutions will showcase four examples of short-form cinema from contemporary Germany. 

In addition, the German focus will present Secret Master: Dominik Graf and the Hidden History Of German Cinema, a celebration of director Dominik Graf who has long been considered one of the best kept secrets in German-language cinema - mainly because he found his niche in television production.

In his native country, Graf is a prolific filmmaker who is celebrated as one of the country’s foremost specialists in crime and melodrama. A special feature of the programme is a carte blanche of German TV thrillers which Graf himself, an ardent cinephile, has selected for EIFF.

EIFF will also work for the first time with Edinburgh-based events company Neu! Reekie! on Achtung! Maybe!, which will be held on June 27 at Summerhall in Edinburgh. Curators Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson will present a special German-themed Neu! Reekie! of Weimar Republic animation and films,  accompanied by live music and performance.

Music includes new work from Edinburgh-based bands Found and Birdhead and will showcase previous winners of EIFF’s McLaren Award for Best British Animation.