The Edinburgh Film Festival got off to a glittering start on a damp evening in the Scottish capital.
Stars such as Kim Cattrall and Sadie Frost arrived on the red carpet under cover of umbrella, but nothing could dampen the spirits. Not least because of all the whisky being served at the bars and the premiere party.
Some would argue that in Scotland, the love of whisky is matched only by a passion for golf and it is deep into the sporting history books that former Robin Hood, Jason Connery, has delved, in directing the opening night film, Tommy’s Honour.
While the film told the story of the rambunctious father and son relationship between Golf founding father Tommy Morris (Peter Mullan) and his son, Tommy Morris Jr (Jack Lowden), who aged 17 remains the youngest ever winner of a Golf open.
Some wondered if Jason’s father Sean would attend his premier. Yet the former Bond and former patron of the Edinburgh Film Festival decided to stay at home, thus depriving fans of the icing on Edinburgh’s 70th birthday cake.
The speeches before the film were short and succinct. It was pointed out that the festival would be showing 55 films from around the globe this year and that while bums on seats was an important criteria for the festival, the organisers were more concerned with providing audiences in the Scottish capital with high quality cinematic thrills.
One of the great traditions of the Edinburgh Film Festival opening night premiere is that once the penguins and finely dressed ladies head to the party, once again hosted by the Museum of Scotland, the Festival Theatre opens it’s doors again and shows the film to a paying audience. For this public screening, more of the opening film’s cast appeared on stage and there was a real buzz about the Scottish themed tale.
“I think a lot of the cast had not seen the film,” said artistic director, and former Screen International chief critic, Mark Adams.
“Peter Mullan got a real kick out of it, there was a lot of crying in the audience. It’s interesting for us to do another screening for a paying audience and they were really supportive and receptive, so that’s a good sign.”
Tommy’s Honour was also a timely reminder of the strength of the local Scottish industry. Adams, said: “It’s important for us to open with one of the best film, if that happens to be a Scottish film then it must be good for the local industry.”
Spotted in the crowd were upcoming directors such as Hope Dickson Leach, who has just completed her debut film, The Levelling, and Charlie Henri-Bellevue, whose film Jet Trash makes it’s world premiere later next week, highlighting that a new generation of talent is emerging in a year when the festival is also using it’s 70th birthday to look back on some of the best known films made in Scotland, including special screenings of Highlander and Trainspotting.
If there was one thing missing from the opening night party at the National Museum of Scotland, it was red wine. As Adams helpfully informed: “It’s because they are not allowed to have it where there is marble flooring.”
Looking forward to the ten days ahead, Adams added: “I just hope people enjoy it. We put on the films and we hope people have a good time and try things and experiment and not be afraid to choose films that aren’t the obvious ones. There are a lot of great films for everyone.”