Hyena kicks off Edinburgh Film Festival

America Ferrera, Ryan Piers Williams and Stephen Graham among stars on red carpet.

by Amber Wilkinson

Stephen and Heather Graham share a joke on the red carpet
Stephen and Heather Graham share a joke on the red carpet Photo: Edinburgh International Film Festival
The 68th edition of the Edinburgh Film Festival opened last night with the world premiere of Hyena, Gerard Johnson's gritty look at the life of a corrupt policeman (Peter Ferdinado) as his grip on a gangland extortion racket starts to slip.

It's certainly not an 'easy' opener, as it contains a considerable amount of violence and a graphic rape scene, but the great and the good of Edinburgh - and some notable big screen stars - turned out in large numbers to see it, with the Festival theatre more full than it has been for the opening night in several years.

Among the stars on the red carpet were wife and husband America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams, both in town with their own film X/Y. Also in attendance was Anomaly director Noel Clarke and Being Human star Lenora Crichlow.

Ryan Piers Williams and America Ferrera at the world premiere of Hyena
Ryan Piers Williams and America Ferrera at the world premiere of Hyena Photo: Edinburgh International Film Festival
Hyena co-stars Stephen Graham and Elisa Lasowski - who also attended the gala screening at the city's festival theatre along with the director, producers and the rest of the cast - Chris Fujiwara introduced the film, praising it for its "intensity" and "raw and unrestrained emotion". He also insisted that the phrase "all style and no substance" is fallacious, since, he insisted "style is substance.

Fujiwara also got a surprise on the night as, at the request of Festival CEO Ken Hay, the audience sang a round of happy birthday to celebrate his notching up another year the following day.

The film itself received warm applause from a very warm audience, who given the unusually high temperatures in Edinburgh reserved their loudest cheer for the free tubs of Mackie's ice-cream that they were given as they entered the auditorium.

The film was followed by a busy opening night party at the National Museum Of Scotland.

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