EIFF Artistic Director Mark Adams today unveiled details of the programme for the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), taking place next month between 19th and 30th June. This year the Festival will screen around 121 new features, including 18 feature film World Premieres, 12 International Premieres, 8 European Premieres and 78 UK Premieres from 42 countries across the globe.
Mark Adams, EIFF Artistic Director, said: “It is always important that EIFF reflects the changing face of all aspects of society and culture. With attitudes changing throughout the world it is important that this year the festival has a real European spin and presents a series of wonderful films from around Europe with a particular emphasis on Spain this year.
“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. 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.”
He added: “We are thrilled to be able to finally announce the full programme for this year’s Festival. We are really delighted to be able to stage such a rich and diverse group of films that really do offer something for everybody. The encouragement and support we have received from all around the world has been gratifying and it is with real pleasure that we offer up a feast of fantastic film fare from a wonderful selection of talented filmmakers."
Highlights include In Person events, supported by Johnston Carmichael, with guests including one of Britain’s most successful directors, Danny Boyle, award-winning actor and producer Jack Lowden, British documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield and Scottish writer, director and actor Pollyanna McIntosh, who also brings her latest film, Darlin’ to this year’s EIFF. There will also be a very special In Person featuring award-winning film producer Rebecca O’Brien in conversation with acclaimed director, actor, writer and producer Icíar Bollaín. Bookended by the previously announced Boyz in the Wood and the World Premiere of Mrs Lowry & Son, the Festival will screen UglyDolls as this year’s Family Gala, supported by Edinburgh Live, and the People’s Gala screening of Jamie Adams’ Balance, Not Symmetry, supported by Accenture, as well as special preview screenings of Toy Story 4 and Brightburn in advance of the start of the Festival on 16th June.
Isabel Davis, Executive Director at Screen Scotland said: “It’s exciting to see EIFF showcasing a number of British debut features, alongside strong international threads, reflecting Scotland’s close affinity with both our European neighbours and filmmakers from across the globe, including Scottish/Swedish co-production Scheme Birds. It’s also a chance to encounter stellar filmmakers such as Danny Boyle and Rebecca O’Brien, whose work has brought Scottish stories, unique characters and talent to the world.”
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: “The Edinburgh International Film Festival plays a vital role in Scotland's screen success story, promoting domestic productions, developing talent and encouraging people to go to the cinema. This cutting-edge programme, supported by the Scottish Government, is a diverse mix of established and emerging talent which will proudly showcase our thriving industry to both local and international audiences."
Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences at the BFI, said: “We’re proud to continue our support of this fantastic Festival. It is a showcase for exciting up and coming talent from across the globe and we are particularly thrilled to see so many women filmmakers represented, across so many genres. This year’s programme promises to be yet another year of discovery.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “As one of the world’s longest continuously running film festivals and one of Scotland’s signature events, EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2019. Mark and his team have once again produced a stellar programme that is sure to entice audiences of all ages and interests. I’m particularly delighted to see the continuation of EIFF:Youth, a legacy of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. Events play a key role in our visitor economy and EIFF provides the perfect stage to celebrate Scotland as a place to explore cinematic ideas as well as Edinburgh’s position as a world leading festival city.”
This year’s BEST OF BRITISH strand includes exclusive 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 smart and 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 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 magnificent, moody and mysterious Gothic tale Gwen; Joanna Hogg’s autobiographical feature The Souvenir and fun and frothy modern day rom-com, Love Type D. Audiences can also look forward to a screening of Danny Boyle’s Yesterday featuring an all-star cast including Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran and Kate McKinnon.
Films in consideration for the prestigious Michael Powell Award will be selected from the BEST OF BRITISH and GALA sections.
This year the AMERICAN DREAMS strand will offer an audiences an exciting, challenging and provocative group of films from across the pond featuring some of the brightest and best global talent. The strand will include: the World Premiere of Liberté: A Call to Spy, a fascinating story of a real life sisterhood of spies and the International Premieres of the clever and deviously dark mystery I See You starring Helen Hunt; Andrew Patterson’s sci-fi mystery feature debut The Vast of Night; indie film Justine, which explores the role of a single mother working as a caregiver to a girl with spina bifida and the previously announced comedy drama Go Back to China directed by Emily Ting. Them That Follow, staring Olivia Colman, about an Appalachian sect will receive its European Premiere at the Festival as will Ode to Joy, an unusual rom-com about a man who avoids joy starring Martin Freeman and The Sound of Silence starring Peter Sarsgaard and Rashida Jones. Skin, based on the true story of neo-Nazi Bryon Widner starring Jamie Bell will screen alongside the Cannes 2019 opener, Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die; comedy drama Driven, about the car designer John DeLorean and Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli’s quietly radical film, So Pretty.
The EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVES strand, supported by James and Morag Anderson, celebrates the rich cultural impact and importance of European cinema and includes films from France, Ireland, Hungary, Belgium, Austria, Croatia, Germany, North Macedonia, Greece, Ukraine, Switzerland, Belgium, Georgia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. Notable features include: Elfar Adalsteins’ End of Sentence where a bickering father and son from America take a road trip in Ireland; the International Premieres of writer-director Mary McGuckian’s powerful new film A Girl from Mogadishu that tells the inspiring true story of Ifrah Ahmed, a Somalian refugee 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 hilariously funny How to Fake a War starring Katherine Parkinson and Aniara, an epic science-fiction drama about a passenger spaceship lost in the void, as well as titles including Barbara Vekarić’s Aleksi from Croatia; Susanne Heinrich’s Aren’t You Happy? from Germany and Swiss psychological drama Cronofobia. Audiences can also look forward to the return of France’s favourite Gaul in Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion.
This year’s WORLD PERSPECTIVES strand offers audiences an exciting and challenging array of new works by talented filmmakers from around the world. Highlights include: the World Premieres of Astronaut, starring Richard Dreyfuss as a lonely widower who dreams of a trip to space and Rodrigo Guerrero’s Venezia. Australian cinema features prominently this year with the acclaimed Acute Misfortune, a striking, brilliant and unconventional portrait of one of Australia’s most acclaimed and idiosyncratic painters, Adam Cullen; The Flip Side, a breezy rom-com about a budding chef and a British actor starring Eddie Izzard; Undertow, a tense and moving female-led drama from director Miranda Nation and Top End Wedding, a rom-com about family ties and contrasting cultures. Other highlights include two South Korean action-adventure masterclasses in the form of Unstoppable and box office smash Extreme Job.
This year’s DOCUMENTARIES programme reflects the ability of documentary film to amaze, inspire, challenge, provoke and fascinate audiences, offering them the unique chance to travel the world and see strange and unusual sights. Strand highlights include: Memory: The Origins of Alien, a fascinating documentary about the making of Alien from the very beginning; This Changes Everything which examines the problems faced by women filmmakers and features interviews with Hollywood greats including Geena Davis, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Taraji P. Henson, Reese Witherspoon and Cate Blanchett; Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk narrated by former caddie Bill Murray and Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, from Nick Broomfield, giving audiences an insight into Leonard Cohen’s love affair with Marianne Ihlen. Films in consideration for the annual documentary award are selected from this section.
In addition this year, the Scottish Documentary Institute will celebrate the art of documentary filmmaking through the lens of international female directors in a strand entitled PHENOMENAL WOMEN. The women included in this programme focus their gaze on stories that quietly shift our understanding and experience of the world and pique our curiosity. They include work from Camille Budin, Maja Borg, Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei and Sara Isha. Two shorts programmes will also screen entitled Celebrating 15 years of Bridging the Gap and Syrian Stories, Female Voices.
Ranging from bloodthirsty gore through to ecozombies, this year’s NIGHT MOVES strand serves up a wide variety of pulse-pounding genre titles sure to delight audiences. This year, women take the front seat with a double bill of Pollyanna McIntosh in The Woman and Darlin’; The Furies, a gripping modern take on the 1980s slasher film, full of gore; Roxanne Benjamin’s Body at Brighton Rock; Carolina Hellsgård’s Ever After and Emma Tammi’s The Wind, a breathtakingly beautiful and haunting moody tale.
This year’s previously announced retrospective strand entitled ONCE UPON A TIME IN SPAIN, will explore Spain’s rich cinematic history through three strands: A Retrospective Celebration of Modern Spanish Cinema; A Retrospective Selection of Cult Spanish Cinema and an in-depth celebration of the work of legendary Spanish writer, actor and filmmaker, Icíar Bollaín. Designed to begin where the retrospective ends, FOCUS ON SPAIN features a selection of brand new Spanish cinema by some of the country’s most promising directors. Highlights include: Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles from Salvador Simó, an accomplished and fitting homage to the great master of surrealist cinema; the directorial debut from Nicolás Pacheco Cages and gripping sci-fi thriller h0us3 from Manolo Munguía, inspired by the mysterious ‘insurance files’ famously employed by Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Two Spanish shorts programmes will also feature as part of the strand: Shorts from Galicia and Spotlight on Contemporary Spanish Short Films, a thematically diverse range of films that filter their narratives through cultural and societal lenses. Losers, Werewolves, Murderers – Spanish Web in the Cinema with moderator Regina Mosch from Copenhagen Web Fest will present a selection of Spanish webseries that go beyond genre constraints and box office success and that tell stories you might never otherwise see in the cinema. FOCUS ON SPAIN is supported by Acción Cultural Española, Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales and Embassy of Spain London.
EIFF will this year present its inaugural strand of special culinary screenings and events, bridging the gap between food and film in CINECUISINE: a celebration of Scottish cuisine and the connections with our friends in Spain. The strand features fascinating documentaries spanning the culture and heritage of Scotland’s most well-known export, whisky, in The Amber Light and an exploration of Scotland’s cuisine by Spain’s Michelin starred chefs the Roca brothers in Chef’s Diaries: Scotland. Food for Thought, a one-off event exploring the flavours and future of food in Scotland with an informal panel discussion and a special tasting session presented by world-class cookery school Edinburgh School of Food & Wine; chaired by Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food, Scotland Food & Drink and a fascinating free lecture, Kino Cuisine: Food and Drink on Film with Edinburgh University professor, Dr Pasquale Iannone, will delve into the many ways food is presented in cinema. Continuing the Festival’s celebration of food and drink, Festival HQ at Filmhouse is hosted with Johnnie Walker, EIFF’s Official Whisky Partner, who have created a special menu of bespoke Johnnie Walker cocktails available during EIFF.
In addition, a number of special events will take place throughout the Festival including the previously announced screening of all six episodes of TV series Good Omens on the big screen which will launch worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on 31st May and on BBC 2 in the UK later this year; a special screening of a restored version of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now: Final Cut to celebrate its 40th anniversary and the Retrospective LIVE! presentation of Robert Mugge’s Black Wax. Two very special live events celebrating women in film, Reclaiming the Frame with Birds’ Eye View and Girls On Film Live! with film critic Anna Smith, will take place as well as a thought-provoking lecture entitled: Grabbing the Spotlight: Women in the Film Industry. Channel 4 and Film4 classic titles The Acid House (Paul McGuigan), Carla’s Song (Ken Loach), My Name is Joe (Ken Loach), and Wedding Belles (Philip John), all made in Scotland, will screen as part of 4 VIEWS OF SCOTLAND, alongside lecture, Scotch on the Box: Channel 4 and Scottish Cinema with Dr Jonathan Murray from the Edinburgh College of Art, who will re-examine some of the key films in question.
This year EIFF will also join forces with Matchbox Cineclub to present CAGE-A-RAMA 3D, a wild-hearted Nicolas Cage extravaganza featuring cult Cage classics Drive Angry and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 3D.
The Festival will screen a number of films by the late great Agnès Varda across a retrospective strand entitled THE FEATURES OF AGNÈS, in partnership with The Skinny and supported by James and Morag Anderson, as well as Varda by Agnès, her final film which will be introduced by Honorary Patron Mark Cousins.
EIFF is also delighted this year to welcome New Media Scotland and Capital Theatres into the Festival fold to present a pair of unique events that bring classic films to life: a cinema rendition of Robert Altman’s Gosford Park will screen at the spectacular Lauriston Castle as part of New Media Scotland’s Atmosphere series, and Capital Theatres presents a traditional silent cinema screening of Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera, hailed as the greatest documentary ever made.
Audiences can look forward to a whistle-stop tour of the latest ideas and techniques being explored in the world of animated film in the International Animation selection, as part of the Festival’s annual dedicated ANIMATION strand, as well as a screening of an anthology of anime shorts from the Japanese Studio Ponoc – the anticipated successor to Studio Ghibli – in association with Scotland Loves Anime. The McLaren Award for Best New British Animation, now in its 30th year, will also return with three varied programmes showcasing some of the most highly-anticipated new short animations from the UK. The eventual winner will be chosen by the audience.
The world of experimental film is once again uncovered in the Festival’s ever-popular BLACK BOX strand which presents a selection of short and feature-length experimental and artists’ films from around the world. These works exist on the margins of commercial film production, pushing the boundaries of visual communication and tying together form and politics in new and exciting ways. Films screening as part of the strand include: Philip Hoffman’s Vulture, an observational study of farm life and Home in E Major, a deeply personal and quietly poetic documentary about displacement, friendship and the importance of home as well as a number of shorts programme including Politics of Place, which explore the relationship between humans, nature and technology.
This year’s SHORTS section will offer a thrilling showcase of the finest brand-new short films from across the globe including Haunting the Image, which will explore the medium of film as a conductor through which to capture and evoke episodes of ritual and transfiguration; Film Is Resistance, which suggests that film can be an act of potent political resistance, offering ideological provocations and Image Is Memory, which explores the moving image as a powerful marker of memory. EIFF Youth Shorts: Exploring Boundaries will also return with seven stories from around the globe which explore the fascinating world of human relationships. The winner of the EIFF Youth Shorts: New Visions competition, which invites filmmakers from across Scotland aged 14–25 years old to enter, will also be announced.
The Festival’s EIFF Youth strand will offer an array of cutting-edge film screenings, special events, talks and masterclasses for young audiences at this year’s Festival. In addition the 2019 EIFF Young Programmers have also selected a number of films within this year’s programme which are recommended as essential viewing for 15-25 year olds. These include: the opening night film Boyz in the Wood; The Art of Self-Defense, starring Jesse Eisenberg as a mild-mannered accountant who learns karate and Bulbul Can Sing, an adolescent girl’s coming-of-age story in a small Indian village. EIFF Youth is supported by Baillie Gifford and funded through the PLACE programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government through Creative Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals.
As previously announced the immensely popular free open-air cinema event, Film Fest in the City with Edinburgh Live, will also return to St Andrew Square Garden, running from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th June 2019.
Tickets go on sale to EIFF Friends and Filmhouse Members on Wednesday 29th May at 12noon and on sale to the public on Friday 31st May at 10am.
For more information on this year’s Festival visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk.
The 73rd edition of EIFF runs from 19 – 30 June 2019.