EIFF announces line-up for 77th edition

New director says event has been organised in 'spirit of collaboration and renewal'

by Amber Wilkinson

Nina Conti's Sunlight will have its world premiere at EIFF
Nina Conti's Sunlight will have its world premiere at EIFF Photo: Courtesy of EIFF
At the city's Cameo Cinema the new director of Edinburgh International Film Festival Paul Ridd, and the festival’s producer Emma Boa announced the programme for the event’s 77th edition today, which will run from August 15 to 21.

It sees the, previously announced, inauguration of the Sean Connery Prize for feature filmmaking excellence. Ten films, all world premieres, will compete for a £50,000 prize supported by The Sean Connery Foundation. The winning film will be voted for by audiences. Talking about the award, Connery’s son, actor and director Jason, noted it was “a new era and dad would have loved it”.

Paul Ridd promises 'a spirit of collaboration and renewal'
Paul Ridd promises 'a spirit of collaboration and renewal' Photo: Amber Wilkinson
Irreversible director Gaspar Noe will also be at the festival for an In Person event and will introduce a screening of Daria Argento classic Suspiria. Iconic editor Thelma Schoonmaker will also be in town to present an extended introduction to a screening of I Know Where I’m Going! directed by her husband Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

The world premieres in competition include ventriloquist and comedian Nina Conti’s debut film Sunlight, about “a troubled woman living in a monkey suit," period drama Lilies Not For Me, by actor-turned-director Will Seefried, and Lollipop, the debut film from Daisy-May Hudson.

Also in competition, from the US, is Bryan Carberry’s documentary Smiles And Kisses You about a man’s relationship with a life-size AI-animated doll and Kelsey Taylor’s reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood, To Kill A Wolf. Films from Iran, Belgium and Mexico will also compete.

The schedule as a whole comprises 37 features, with eye-catching out-of-competition titles including Camera d’Or winning Norwegian school drama Armand, starring Renate Reinsve, and directed by Halfdan Ullmann Tøndelm, and the Sundance World Documentary winner A New Kind Of Wilderness, directed by Silje Evensmo Jacobsen.

Fresh from taking the Crystal Globe top prize at Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Mark Cousins will bring his portrait of Scots artist Wilhemina Barns-Graham A Sudden Glimpse To Deeper Things to the out-of-competition section and there will also be the world premiere of Sophie Fiennes documentary Acting, which follows the Cheek By Jowl company as they prepare Macbeth.

Festival producer Emma Boa
Festival producer Emma Boa Photo: Amber Wilkinson
Also fresh from Cannes is Black Dog, which won the Un Certain Regard prize at this year’s edition and Blue Sun Palace which won the French Touch Prize in Critics’ Week. Nathan Silver, meanwhile, who brought Exit Elena to the festival in 2012, returns with his latest, Between The Temples, starring Carol Kane and Jason Schwartzman. There’s also the world premiere of vampire comedy The Radleys, directed by Torchwood and Doctor Who helmer Euros Lyn, while Alice Lowe’s Timestalker, starring Kate Dickie and Nick Frost, will have its UK premiere.

A dedicated Midnight Madness strand, which features comedy alongside horror and action films will open, as previously announced with the UK premiere of Alien: Romulus and close with Coralie Fargeat’s Cannes hit The Substance. It will also feature the world premiere of thriller Sunray, which was created by and stars former Royal Marines Commandos.

The festival will also feature a screening of Axel Cheb Terrab’s Gala & Kiwi under a new banner Lynda Myles Celebrates, which Ridd says aims to honour her legacy of “championing of fresh unruly and confrontational work”.

The festival’s desire for closer collaboration with the city’s other festivals is indicated by its venues this year which include, in addition to the Cameo and Summerhall, two pop-up spaces at 50 George Square and Inspace near Bristo Square.

Jason Connery, who says his dad Sean helped him to see the city 'through his eyes'
Jason Connery, who says his dad Sean helped him to see the city 'through his eyes' Photo: Amber Wilkinson
Announcing the programme, Ridd said: “Our fundamental goal in all this has been to work in a spirit of collaboration and renewal in order to honour the many years of festival history but also to look to the future with a new shared vision and strategy for what this beautiful festival can and should be.”

The feature programme is below, with an additional programme of short films. We’ll be bringing you full details in full course.

Gala screenings

  • The Outrun (UK) – opening night film; Dir: Nora Fingscheidt
  • Since Yesterday: The Untold Story Of Scotland’s Girl Bands (UK) – closing night film; Dirs. Blair Young, Carla J Easton. World premiere

The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence

  • All The Mountains Give (Iran); Dir: Arash Rakhsha. World premiere
  • The Ceremony (UK); Dir; Jack King. World premiere
  • Fuga (Belgium); Dir: Mary Jiménez, Bénédicte Liénard. World premiere
  • Lilies Not For Me (US); Dir: Will Seefried. World premiere
  • Lollipop (UK); Dir: Daisy-May Hudson. World premiere
  • A Shrine (Canada); Dir: Abdolreza Kahani. World premiere
  • Smiles And Kisses You (US); Dir: Bryan Carberry. World premiere
  • Sunlight (UK); Dir: Nina Conti. World premiere
  • To Kill A Wolf (US); Dir: Kelsey Taylor. World premiere
  • Xibalba Monster (Mex); Dir: Manuela Irene. World premiere

Out of Competition

  • Acting (UK); Dir: Sophie Fiennes. World premiere
  • And Mrs (UK); Dir: Daniel Reisinger. World premiere
  • A New Kind Of Wilderness (Norway); Dir: Silje Evensmo Jacobsen. World premiere
  • Armand (Norway); Dir: Halfdan Ullmann Tønde. UK premiere
  • A Sudden Glimpse To Deeper Things (UK); Dir: Mark Cousins. UK premiere
  • Between The Temples (US); Dir: Nathan Silver. UK premiere
  • Black Dog (Taiwan); Dir: Guan Hu. UK premiere
  • Blue Sun Palace (US); Dir: Constance Tsang. UK premiere
  • Bogancloch (UK); Dir: Ben Rivers. UK premiere
  • Joy Dancer (US); Dir. Suzanne Smith, Sylvia Solf. World premiere
  • Mongrel (Taiwan); Dir: Wei Liang Chiang, You Qiao Yin. World premiere
  • My Favourite Cake (Iran, France, Sweden, Germany); Dir: Maryam Moghadam, Behtash Sanaeeha. UK premiere
  • Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust (India); Dir: Ishan Shukla. UK premiere
  • Sing Sing (US); Dir: Greg Kwedar. European premiere
  • Steppenwolf (Kazakhstan); Dir: Adilkhan Yerzhanov. UK premiere
  • The Mountain Within Me (UK); Dir: Polly Steele. World premiere
  • The Radleys (UK); Dir: Euros Lyn. World premiere
  • Timestalker (UK); Dir: Alice Lowe. UK premiere

Midnight Madness

  • Alien: Romulus (US); Dir: Fede Álvarez. Opening gala. UK premiere
  • The Substance (US, UK, France); Dir: Coralie Fargeat. Closing gala. UK premiere
  • Birdeater (Australia); Dirs. Jack Clark, Jim Weir. UK premiere
  • King Baby (UK); Dir: Kit Redstone, Arran Shearing. UK premiere
  • Oddity (Ireland); Dir: Damian Mc Carthy. UK premiere
  • Sunray (UK); Dir: James Clarke, Daniel Shephard. World premiere

Lynda Myles Celebrates

  • Gala And Kiwi (Argentina); Dir: Axel Cheb Terrab. World premiere

Retrospectives

  • I Know Where I’m Going! (UK); Dir: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell (introduced by Thelma Schoonmaker)
  • Suspiria (Italy); Dir: Dario Argento (Gaspar Noé will introduce the event)
  • The Untouchables (US); Dir: Brian De Palma (presented by members of Sean Connery’s family)
  • Phantom Of The Paradise (US); Dir: Brian De Palma

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