EIFF spotlight on Scots

Festival celebrates homegrown talent

by Amber Wilkinson

Scheme Birds
Scheme Birds
Edinburgh International Film Festival is putting Scottish films in the spotlight again this year, with stars including Shauna Macdonald, Jack Lowden, Angus Macfadyen, Peter Mullan and director Mark Cousins joining the line-up.

Among the films announced today is Dundee-shot Schemers, by writer/director David McLean. An autobiographical look at the director’s early years in the music business. Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin's Motherwell-set documentary Scheme Birds - which won the Albert Maysles Award and Best Documentary accolade at Tribeca Film Festival last month - will also screen.

Macfadyen reprises the role of Robert the Bruce, from Braveheart, in a retelling of the story, while Brian Cox stars alongside Blythe Danner in thriller Strange But True.

Scottish-born producer Sophia Shek brings comedy drama Go Back To China to this year’s Festival. Directed by Emily Ting, the film tells the story of Sasha Li, a spoiled rich kid whose father decides to teach her a lesson.

Scottish actor and activist Tam Dean Burn will join other guests in a special event before the screening of Best Before Death in which Irish filmmaker Paul Duane follows artist and musician Bill Drummond over a two-year period during his ambitious 12-year world tour, while world-renowned jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith OBE will perform a concert with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on Friday 28th June. To coincide with this year’s Focus on Spain, Tommy and the SNJO will present Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain, featuring award-winning trumpeter Laura Jurd in the Miles Davis role.

Meanwhile, Mullan will join Scottish composer Craig Armstrong to take part in a conversation entitled The Magic of Collaborations, with the pair talking about their screen partnership that spans 30 years, beginning with The Close Trilogy and including Orphans, The Magdalene Sisters and NEDS.

The In Person events will include a conversation with Scottish writer, actor and director Pollyanna McIntosh (The Walking Dead) and the festival will present her directorial debut Darlin’, in which she also stars. Calibre star Lowden will also appear at an In Person event and join BAFTA Scotland Career Close-Up: Preparing for Screen Auditions alongside Shauna Macdonald, which will be open to anyone aged 15-25.

Cousins will present a special introduction to Varda by Agnès, the final film made by the pioneering French filmmaker Agnès Varda, who will also be celebrated in a retrospective strand entitled The Features of Agnès.

Peter Mullan in My Name Is Joe
Peter Mullan in My Name Is Joe
Audiences can look forward to 4 Views of Scotland, looking back at some of the most important Film4 and Channel 4 productions made in Scotland, comprising Paul McGuigan's The Acid House, Philip John's Wedding Belles and Ken Loach’s Carla’s Song and My Name is Joe. The strand also features the writing talent of Irvine Welsh, Dean Cavanagh and Paul Laverty. Scottish acting talent in the frame include Peter Mullan, Gary Lewis, Robert Carlyle, Shauna Macdonald, Michelle Gomez, Ewen Bremner, Kevin McKidd, Jamie Sives, Tam Dean Burn, Stephen McCole and Shirley Henderson.

The Festival’s short film programmes include some of the latest Scottish Shorts from the Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN), and a strand entitled Phenomenal Women curated by the Scottish Documentary Institute.

The EIFF Youth New Visions Short Film Competition will also return, showcasing the best in young film making talent from across Scotland.

CineCuisine, the Festival’s culinary cinema strand, will feature the documentary Chef’s Diaries: Scotland, which follows world-famous Spanish chefs the Roca Brothers on their quest to find the best food that Scotland can offer. The strand also The Amber Light, which unpicks whisky mythology, following the evolution of spirits from medicine to social lubricant. The development of Scottish food and drink will also be discussed in panel discussion Food for Thought, chaired by Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food, Scotland Food & Drink, which will include a tasting session.

The festival has previously announced it will open with Scots film Boyz In The Wood and feature Balance, Not Symmetry as its People's Gala.

The full programme for the festival, which runs from June 19 to 30 will be announced on May 29.

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