Carlos Acosta and Eva Birthistle in the film
People spilled out of the door at Edinburgh's Cameo Cinema last night both in the ticketed and the stand-by queue, as they waited for the world premiere screening of John Roberts' romantic comedy drama Day Of The Flowers.
The film, which tells the story of two chalk and cheese Glasgwegian sisters, left-wing reactionary Rosa (Eva Birthistle) and fashion victim Ailie (Charity Wakefield). After hearing of their dad's death, Rosa decides to kidnap his ashes and whisky him to Cuba in a bid to reunite him with their mum, who passed away on the island many years before. Ailie may not be completely onboard with the ashes plan but the prospect of a holiday in the sun is too good to miss and before long they are on a dysfunctional road trip that will force them to confront their relationship and that of their parents.
Although the plot becomes rather too convoluted for its own good, both the romance and the comedy hit the right notes and won over any waverers in the house.
The film played to a packed house and afterwards, writer Eirene Houston took to the stage along with the director, producer Jonathan Rae, cinematographer Vernon Layton and two stars of the film - ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, who plays Rosa's potential love interest, and Christopher Simpson, who plays a Cuban from the wrong side of the tracks.
After saying that the film was based partially on "my life, visits to Cuba," Houston said she felt too emotional to answer questions.
Robertson revealed that the home video footage at the start of the movie is of Eirene's own daughters.
By this time, Houston had composed herself enough to say that she always had Acosta in mind for his role even as she was writing the film. Talking about the balance between the two sisters she said that aspects of both of them probably started with her as "all writers have a tendency to write about their own contradictions."
During the course of a laughter-filled Q&A, Houston also revealed that although they brought fake weapons as props into Cuba without incident, it was a sandwich toaster that led to trouble in customs "because they use a lot of electricity".
She added: "You have to love all your characters - and I enjoy that."
Robertson admitted he "struggled with the Rosa character initially", adding "she was a pain in the arse". He added: "Luckily, we got Eva, who totally got the problem and didn't take it too seriously - she's a very intelligent actress."
The night wrapped up with an after party in Edinburgh's Caves venue, with Cuban band Son al Son providing some suitably sun-drenched sounds, the crowd supping mojitos and Houston being taken for a salsa twirl round the dance floor by Acosta.
Day Of The Flowers is hoping to secure a general release in the UK soon.