EIFF: Landmark Anniversary

For its 70th anniversary, the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has lined up an exciting showcase of 151 features from a total of 46 countries. Taking place from 21 June to 2 July, the festival will screen 17 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres, nine European Premieres and 69 UK Premieres. Highlights include the highly-anticipated Opening and Closing Gala premieres of God’s Own Country – the story of a Yorkshire sheep farmer whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of a migrant worker – and England Is Mine – a portrait of Morrissey’s early life in 1970’s Manchester before The Smiths. Stars Josh O’Connor, Alex Secareanu, Ian Hart, Gemma Jones and director Francis Lee, as well as Jack Lowden, Jessica Brown Findlay, Laurie Kynaston and director Mark Gill will be on the red carpet for each of their film’s first screening.

Established in 1947, EIFF is the world’s longest continually running film festival. In celebration of its 70th year, the festival will host a special 70th Anniversary Exhibition with archival images from throughout its history. Held across three venues, Festival Square, St Andrew Square and the Old College Quad, the ed film fest memories exhibition showcases prominent events from the past 70 years. Accompanying this will be Cover to Cover at Filmhouse: 70 years of EIFF programme covers, providing a journey into the festival’s visual identity as well as an evolving snapshot of the changing face of graphic design in Scotland.

Elsewhere, the festival makes way for The Future is History retrospective, which brings with it Richard E Grant, Peter Ferdinando, Steven Mackintosh, Kate Dickie, Tam Dean Burn, Bernard Hill, Matt Johnson, Gerard Johnson and Polly Maberly; each in attendance to support and deliver a range of events and screenings. The retrospective strand turns the clock back to the 1970s and 1980s to explore the vital question of identity in a world undergoing seismic political and cultural change. Conceived and curated by Niall Greig Fulton, it features cult classics such as Withnail & I, Outland and Videodrome.

This year’s Best of British strand includes world premieres of Bryn Higgins’ Access All Areas, featuring Jordan Stephens on a group road trip to the Isle of Wight’s Bestival music Festival; Simon Hunter’s Edie, starring a never-better Sheila Hancock as an elderly woman who aims to climb a Scottish mountain; and Danny Huston’s The Last Photograph. American Dreams shines a spotlight on creativity from across the Atlantic including coming-of-age comedy-drama Freak Show; 1930s-set and James Franco-directed In Dubious Battle; and Terrence Malick’s music-focused Song to Song, featuring Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman.

European Perspectives features a number of continental films making their UK debuts – music biopic Dalida; revenge drama Darkland; and darkly humorous corruption drama Glory – while World Perspectives delivers a global array of works including the Scottish premiere of Bong Joon Ho’s latest offering Okja, starring EIFF honorary patron Tilda Swinton, along with the UK premieres of Godspeed and White Sun. Meanwhile, the Focus on Poland programme boasts an International Premiere of Katarzyna Adamik’s thriller Amok.

EIFF SHORTS screens An Image Is a Territory; Film Is Memory; New Voices; The Young and the Wild; Trick of the Light; UK – Fireworks; UK – Spectrum; and Waking Dream. In addition, a collection of shorts commissioned through the Scottish Film Talent Network’s new talent programme, From Scotland, will feature, as well as the annual edition of the Scottish Documentary Institute’s Bridging the Gap collection, which focuses on the theme of Rebellion with six intimate shorts including Yulia Kovanova’s Plastic Man, Thomas Hogben’s Teeth and Sean Mullan’s Inhale. Also, Stanley Tucci’s feature Final Portrait based on an art critic’s meeting with Giacometti will have its UK premiere as part of the People’s Gala.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival, 21 June-2 July, venues across Edinburgh.

For the full festival programme, visit: www.edfilmfest.org.uk.

1. England Is Mine, 2017. Still.