Day 2 - 16 Years of Alcohol, Samantha Morton and "Jimmy" Sheridan.

Hangover or no hangover, film fest events started with a press conference early this morning from the makers of 16 Years of Alcohol.

by Claire Sawers

Alcoholic Capone

Richard Jobson – the one time gang member and general bad-boy in a former life -spoke of his hotly tipped first feature film. It is, from what I could gather – a brutally violent exploration of the male psyche that probably fits best into the musical genre. Jobson was quick to point out that it was not in the style of Rodgers and Hammerstein though. Oh right. For a minute there I was a little confused.

A visually stunning debut by all accounts, this promises to be a festival hit for its pull-no-punches (well actually just pull a knife and get it over with) take on the violent side of Scottish macho culture.

Filmed entirely in Edinburgh, Scots Jobson commented, "I will always consider Edinburgh to be my home town. What I wanted was to capture all the romance and darkness of the Old Town. I’ve hopefully achieved a very stylised, elegant series of photos of the city."

Audiences got the chance to see for themselves when it was screened at the Cameo later in the evening.

Happy Families

Elsewhere, the biggest names in town today were the stars of In America, from Irish director Jim Sheridan. Samantha Morton (Minority Report, Sweet and Lowdown) and Paddy Considine (A Room for Romeo Brass, 24 Hour Party People) accompanied the filmmaker to the press conference to discuss the film.

The bright, young, Brit things play a couple who arrive with their two daughters in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan one particularly hot and sweaty summer. The film follows their first year there as they attempt to rebuild a life in New York following the death of their son in Ireland.

When asked how easy it was for her and Paddy to act like a young family (with the help of the positively scene-stealing real life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger), Samantha commented, "It was just like a Bombay Bad-Boy Pot Noodle – add the hot water and it’s there. Like a ready-made family. It just clicked. Before I knew it Paddy was hobbling about with one kid strapped to each leg, not wanting to let go and I was hovering about telling the girls – ‘careful sweetheart, watch you don’t get hurt, darling!’".

She added that as a real-life mum herself, the film helped her re-prioritise her own life and re-evaluate what really matters.

Jim Sheridan shares a few tales in Edinburgh

Jimmy, as everyone else seemed to be calling the white-haired director, was on hand with some fantastically witty tales of real life scrapes that happened when he and his family moved to the States twenty years ago. Did I tell you the one about when me and the kids got arrested in Canada and the cops paid our bail? Don’t ask.

Best known for moving drama like In the Name of the Father or My Left Foot, this is probably the most personal of Sheridan’s films to date as it draws heavily from his own experiences follwing the death of his brother Frankie. In America is one I have seen and absolutely loved. It’s the type of film where if you’re not giving it belly laughs as the two kids crack everyone up on screen, you’ll be weeping like a baby. Go see.

Voting with their feet.

As far as films hitting and missing, it seems some press were forced to walk out of yesterday’s previews of Marina de Van’s Dans Ma Peau after the gory scenes of self-mutilation proved more than they, or their stomachs could take.

Party? I'd rather be watching Celtic

Young Adam star Peter Mullan had other things on his mind than schmoozing in a crowded low-lit room last night. He skipped the opening night party altogether to catch the Celtic game on the box. He nipped out of last night’s premiere twenty minutes before the end to catch the match! Just as well, he's probably thinking, it was a goal-fest for the Glasgow team who won 4 goals to nil in Hungry.

Until tomorrow, Claire x

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We've recently been bringing you coverage of the Chattanooga Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival online selection.

Shortly before lockdown, we were at the New York Rendez-Vous With French Cinema, the Glasgow Film Festival, the Berlinale, Scottish feminist festival Femspectives, and Sundance in Utah.

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