Edinburgh Film Festival announces line-up

Guests include Ewan McGregor, Jane Seymour, Malcolm McDowell and Johnnie To.

by Amber Wilkinson

Ewan McGregor as Yeshua in Last Days In Desert
Ewan McGregor as Yeshua in Last Days In Desert
Edinburgh International Film Festival's new artistic director Mark Adams announced the line-up of this year's event at the Filmhouse this morning, at the most well-attended pre-fest press conference I've seen at the event in years.

The festival, which will celebrate its 69th edtion from June 17 to 28, will feature 164 features (134 new films plus retrospectives) from 36 countries, including 24 world premieres, eight international premieres, 16 European premieres, 84 UK Premieres and two Scottish Premieres.

Stars attending will include Ewan McGregor - whose Last Days In The Desert will also screen - Jane Seymour and Malcolm McDowell (both of whom are in Bereave), Johnnie To (whose Exiled will screen) and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey in conversation with One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest DoP and Who Needs Sleep? director Haskell Wexler.

"It's kind of like Sophie's Choice," Adams said, "because you don't want to have favourite children - they're all the children that we love.

"It's worth saying submissions were up again this year, we had 3,186 submissions and, of that, 23 per cent made it through to the final programme, which is a great testament to the submissions process. And of the short films, 80 per cent of those submitted made it into the programme. So that shows that it can work and for filmmakers out there, it's a way to get their films shown on the big screen."

He added that just almost 27 per cent of the films were directed or co-directed by women which was a total they were looking to "build upon".

Artisic director Mark Adams:
Artisic director Mark Adams: "We had 3,186 submissions and, of that, 23 per cent made it through to the final programme" Photo: Courtesy of EIFF
British films in competition for the Michael Powell Award (for Best British Feature Film and Best Performance in a British Feature Film) include 10 world premieres and three UK Premieres. Among those competing are Andrew Haigh's 45 Years - which has already picked up awards for its stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay - Jamie Adams' relationship comedy Black Mountain Poets, Joseph Bull and Luke Seomore’s Blood Cells, about a farmer’s son and his nomadic lifestyle; the world premiere of complex sci-fi thriller Brand New-U from documentarian Simon Pummell; and Jake Gavin’s Hector, starring Peter Mullan as an affable homeless man.

Also competing are Martin Radich’s Norfolk, starring Denis Menochet as a tough-love dad whose relationship with his son is threatened; Steven Nesbit’s Romeo and Juliet style drama North V South, starring Greta Scacchi, Steven Berkoff and Bernard Hill; and Colin Kennedy’s directorial debut feature Swung.

The section also includes Jane Linfoot’s psychological drama The Incident, which also receives its world premiere, starring Ruta Gedmintas and Tom Hughes as a young couple whose comfortable life is disrupted when a troubled teenage girl enters their life; Ludwig and Paul Shammasian’s The Pyramid Texts, starring James Cosmo; and author Helen Walsh’s debut as writer/director, The Violators, which follows two young girls from radically different backgrounds who meet and set off on a course that has profound implications.

As has been previously announced, the opening and closing films The Legend Of Barney Thomson and Iona will allso compete.

New events for 2015, include a Doc of the Day, which will see each featured film supported by an associated event.

Retrospectives include the previous announced Little Big Screen showcase of Sixties and Seventies American TV movies and Walter Hill: The Early Years (Adams says he still hopes the director may attend).

The country focus this year falls on Mexico, with a mix of classic films, including Poison For The Faries (Veneno Para Las Hadas) and Santa Sangre and newer films such as La Tirisia and The Obscure Spring (Las Oscuras Primaveras).

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