Yesterday festival director Chris Fujiwara announced the much anticipated programme for the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014. As attendees have become accustomed, the line-up is as exciting and diverse as ever, showcasing 156 films from almost 47 different countries with 11 World Premieres, 8 international premieres and much more for film enthusiasts to sink their teeth into come June 18th. Fujiwara said of this year’s festival:

“A film festival must keep trying to remain challenging, provocative and responsive, and I believe the programme we’re unveiling today shows our success at doing that this year. It’s a diverse and artistically strong programme that will delight and surprise our audiences, both old and new, and that will reward those who share our passion for exploring cinema in all its forms.”

As always, Thoughts On Film will be there to try and cover as many films as possible over the festival period. There are far too many exciting films on the line-up to name every single one but here is just some of what we’re looking forward to seeing most:

The festival is bookmarked, as always, by the Opening and Closing Galas. This year the festival opens with Hyena, a crime drama from director Gerard Johnson that has an impressive British cast including Stephen Graham, Neil Maskell and Peter Ferdinando. Closing the festival in polar opposite and much lighter fashion is romantic comedy We’ll Never Have Paris, starring Melanie Lynskey, Simon Helberg (better known as Howard from The Big Bang Theory) and Maggie Grace.

Celebrated South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Memories of Murder, The Host) makes the jump to Hollywood with the hugely anticipated Snowpiercer, which is part of the Director’s Showcase that aims to present work from both auteur directors and new talents. Stake Land and We Are What We Are director Jim Mickle returns with already critically acclaimed Cold In July, starring Dexter himself Michael C. Hall; and Anton Corbijn (Control, The American) directs the late-great Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man, one of the actors last ever films before he sadly passed away.

There’s also James Franco and Emma Roberts who star in Palo Alto, from director Gia Coppola; Abel Ferrara’s typically controversial new film Welcome to New York; Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis star in the anticipated Hellion, which makes it’s International Premiere at the festival; and there’s the World Premiere of Castles in the Sky, starring Eddie Izzard as radar inventor Robert Watson-Watt.

Filling the eccentric quota we have the likes of Life After Beth, a zombie romantic comedy that sports an impressive cast including Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly and Dane DeHaan; Noel Clarke presents the World Premiere of his futuristic thriller The Anomaly, featuring a cast that includes Ian Somerhalder, Brian Cox and Luke Hemsworth; and Eli Roth delivers his latest no doubt opinion-dividing effort The Green Inferno.

On top of its usual Strands that include American Dreams, New Perspectives and Black Box, we also have two fresh country focuses for the long-running festival: Germany and Iran. And there’s also a new Strand entitled Teen Spirit, which is part of the fest’s devotion to encouraging and celebrating young talent. Lastly and excitingly, EIFF and has also teamed up with Empire Magazine for a special and rare theatrical screening of the film that was voted by the readers as The Greatest Movie of All Time for their 301st issue: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Those are just some of the highlights of what this year’s festival has to offer. For the full programme you can view the interactive PDF on the official EIFF website where you can also book tickets. The 68th annual Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from June 18-29.

What are YOU looking forward to at this year’s festival? Let us know in the comments below. And, as always, look out for our review coverage right here on the site!