It’s nearly that time of year again, when Scotland’s capital plays host to the longest continually running film festival in the world.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival has just today announced its programme for 2013 and as usual it sports an interesting array of films from all over the world, 146 features from 53 countries to be exact, and ranging from those already established from other festivals to brand new features that those who attend will have the pleasure of being the first ones to discover.
Among the near 150 films showing, a few highlights stick out:
The opening night gala of the festival is Breathe In, Drake Doremus’ follow-up to his great romance story Like Crazy which reunites him with star Felicity Jones. And closing the festival is Not Another Happy Ending, starring former Doctor Who assistant Karren Gillan.
Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg) has his celebrated Frances Ha, starring Greta Gerwig; The Bling Ring is Sofia Coppola’s latest film starring Emma Watson as part of a group of fame-obsessed teens who break into the Hollywood homes of celebrities; Sarah Polley follows up her divisive Take This Waltz with documentary Stories We Tell; and James Wan follows his terrific horror Insidious with The Conjuring, starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.
There’s Upstream Color, the second feature from director Shane Carruth (who previously made the mind-bending Primer) which has been receiving rave reviews from pretty much everyone who’s seen it; The East, a film about a radical anarchist group that sports a great cast including Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard, Brit Marling and Toby Kebbell; and Pixar will be represented again in full-form with Monsters University, its prequel to hit film Monsters, Inc. (they had the likes of Brave, Toy Story 3 and WALL-E in previous years).
As well as bringing in films that have already played elsewhere to give them UK and European premieres, the festival also has lots of World Premieres. Here’s the list of films that are getting their World Premiere at the fest:
  • 10
  • The Battles of the Sexes
  • Blackbird
  • Desert Runners
  • Fire in the Night
  • A Long Way from Home
  • The Making of Us
  • Mister John
  • Not Another Happy Ending
  • Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnaz
  • The Sea
  • Svengali
  • UWANTME2KILLHIM?
  • We Are the Freaks
As always the Retrospective is a big part of the festival’s schedule and this year there’s two – one has been previously announced, focusing on the feature and short films by French director Jean Grémillon and the second celebrates the work of American director Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green, Tora! Tora! Tora!). There’s also a Focus segment of the festival celebrating Korean and Swedish cinema.
There are certain films not showing that I would have liked to have made an appearance, including Nicholas Winding Refn’s apparently ultra-violent Only God Forgives (which has received some scathing reviews thus far), and Cannes winners Blue is the Warmest Color and Nebraska (directed by Alexander Payne), which won the Palme d’Or and Best Actor awards, respectively. However, with the close proximity of Cannes to EIFF and high profile of the films involved, I think that was wishful thinking on my part! I’m also a tiny bit surprised that Before Midnight, the third part in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Sunset trilogy, hasn’t turned up in the programme but it’s not that big of a deal considering it opens in regular cinemas a couple of days after the start of the festival anyway.
Chris Fujiwara is again Artistic Director after taking up the mantle after the shaky 2011 fest when it didn’t have anyone in such a capacity (although its lacklustre nature was greatly exaggerated). Fujiwara’s astute shaping of the festival into something exciting is extremely evident once more. He said:
“I’m very proud that in my second year at the Festival we’ve again put together a programme that reflects our festival’s commitment to international cinema, while giving our audiences opportunities to discover a broad range of outstanding work from British filmmakers.”
Once again I will be there covering the whole festival for Thoughts on Film and I hope to discover many great films from across the world. Check back here throughout 19-30 June (and beyond) for my review coverage and for even more up-to-date reports follow me on twitter @rosstmiller and the site @TOF_UK.
Tickets for festival screenings will be open to the public from Monday June 3rd. You can read the entire festival brochure, including timetables and ticket prices, here. To whet your appetite even more, here’s the official preview trailer: