The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has launched its annual programme of around 121 feature films taking place from the 19th to 30th June.
The EIFF opens with the anarchic Highlands comedy Boyz in the Wood and closes with the world premiere of art biopic Mrs Lowry & Son, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall in mother and son roles.
The festivities begin early with free open-air films in St Andrew Square Garden from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 June and screenings of Toy Story 4 and Brightburn before the festival start on 16th June.
EIFF Artistic Director Mark Adams said this year’s line-up has a “real European spin” with a particular focus on Spain.
“We are also delighted to be able to present a series of striking new films from women directors and filmmaking teams from around the world,” said Adams.
“In particular this year we have an amazing selection of genre films from women filmmakers, ranging from gothic romance and Western chills through to science fiction and old-fashioned horror. All this set alongside a tribute to French filmmaker Agnes Varda, a women who has inspired generations of directors.”
Highlights this year include kids’ animation UglyDolls as this year’s Family Gala and the People’s Gala screening of Jamie Adams’ Glasgow-set Balance, Not Symmetry which was scored and scripted with help from Scottish band Biffy Clyro.
The EIFF will be welcoming, for its In Person events, Danny Boyle, award-winning actor and producer Jack Lowden, British documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield and Scottish writer, director and actor Pollyanna McIntosh, who is bringing her film Darlin’ to the festival.
Award-winning film producer Rebecca O’Brien will also be in conversation with acclaimed director, actor, writer and producer Icíar Bollaín.
Scottish talent coming this year includes Shauna Macdonald, Jack Lowden, Peter Mullan, and Mark Cousins, among others.
Look out for Angus Macfadyen, who reprises his role from Braveheart as the eponymous warrior king in the World Premiere of Robert the Bruce. The film follows Netflix's release last year of David Mackenzie’s epic about Robert the Bruce, Outlaw King.
Richard Dreyfuss may be in Edinburgh for the world premiere of Astronaut a drama about a lonely widower who dreams of a trip to space.
British Film in competition
Home-grown cinema is always a key component of the EIFF, with British directors in contention for the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film.
This year’s “Best of British” strand includes World Premieres of Bittersweet Symphony starring Suki Waterhouse as a woman whose Hollywood dreams are on the verge of becoming a reality; a love letter to Europe in The Black Forest from writer-director Ruth Platt; coming-of-age supernatural love story Carmilla from director Emily Harris; new British drama by first-time feature director, poet, actor and publisher Greta Bellamacina, Hurt by Paradise; Masters of Love, a wry take on the classic British rom-com from debut feature film-maker Matt Roberts; Schemers, based on writer-producer David McLean’s early years in the music business in Dundee and the atmospheric noir thriller Strange But True starring Blythe Danner, Brian Cox and Greg Kinnear.
Additionally, there is a clash of old and new worlds seen through the eyes of a Cornish fisherman in Mark Jenkin’s Bait; the directorial debut of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, real-life story, Farming; William McGregor’s debut feature, the moody Gothic tale Gwen; Joanna Hogg’s autobiographical feature The Souvenir and frothy rom-com, Love Type D.
Danny Boyle’s Beatles-infused Yesterday features an all-star cast including Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran and Kate McKinnon. It was scripted by Richard Curtis.
The Americas have their own strand at the EIFF with films like mystery I See You starring Helen Hunt, comedy drama Go Back to China, directed by Emily Ting and Them That Follow, staring Olivia Colman, about a repressive Appalachian Pentecostal sect.
A tattooed Jamie Bell returns to the EIFF in Skin as neo-Nazi Bryon Widner and cult director Jim Jarmusch throws Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray to the zombies in The Dead Don’t Die.
Among the International Premieres are writer-director Mary McGuckian’s A Girl from Mogadishu based on a true story of Ifrah Ahmed, a Somalian refugee turned activist against gender-based violence and She’s Missing from Irish writer-director Alexandra McGuinness.
The Emperor of Paris starring Vincent Cassel will receive its UK Premiere at the Festival alongside Rudolph Herzog’s comedy How to Fake a War starring Katherine Parkinson and Aniara, an epic science-fiction drama about a passenger spaceship lost in the void
The variety of cinema at the EIFF ranges from South Korean action-adventure thrills of Unstoppable and box office smash Extreme Job to Nick Broomfield’s intimate Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, giving audiences an insight into Leonard Cohen’s love affair with Marianne Ihlen, or Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin’s gritty documentary Scheme Birds, profiling the life of teenage “scheme bird” Gemma in the former steel town of Motherwell.
Not to be overlooked, is the “Black Box” strand which highlights short and feature-length experimental films from around the world and EIFF animation which includes an anthology of anime shorts from the Japanese Studio Ponoc and three programmes of British animation in contention for the McLaren Award.
There will also be a special screening of a restored version of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now: Final Cut to celebrate its 40th anniversary on 30th June.
Tickets go on sale to EIFF Friends and Filmhouse Members on Wednesday 29 May at 12noon and on sale to the public on Friday 31 May at 10am via EIFF web site.
EIFF 2019 Stats
- 121 feature films
- 18 World Premieres
- 12 International Premieres
- 8 European Premieres
- 78 UK Premieres
- 42 countries represented