By Karrie Gillett
BOSSES of this year’s newly-launched Edinburgh International Film Festival have promised that two of the world premieres it has secured will make the event uniquely exciting.
The festival – which shifted dates from the traditional August calendar to branch out as a stand-alone event in June – is offering a packed timetable of 142 feature-length films.
And the cinema screenings are set to open with the global debut of The Edge of Love – starring Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller.
Yesterday, at a crowded press conference in Edinburgh’s Filmhouse theatre, festival chiefs hailed the programme as a chance for the city to truly impact on world cinema.
Ginnie Atkinson, EIFF managing director, said: “We would like to see Edinburgh become known around the world as a film city – like the way it is seen as a festival city.”
And the deputy artistic director of the event which runs from June 18 – 29 echoed the call, saying that this year’s line-up would lead the way in achieving this goal.
Diane Henderson, speaking after a 20-minute show reel of the festival highlights, said: “I have no doubt that we can live up to the expectations that the city has become famous for when it comes to the festival atmosphere during August.
“The film festival is being book-ended by two world premieres which just shows the standing we have in the film world.
“What makes it even better is that both The Edge of Love and the closing night film Faintheart are from British filmmakers – which make the whole event uniquely exciting.”
Apart from the previously announced opening and closing night coups, the festival – in its 62nd year – will also host another 13 world premieres.
However, Ms Henderson singled out the important appearance of animation films in this year’s timetable – from the family friendly to the scary Fears of the Dark.
And she shrugged off any suggestion that moving the dates of the film bonanza forward two months had impacted on the schedule.
She said: “There’s been a lot of hard work from everyone involved to make sure that we have such an exciting event to offer the public.
“Moving the date to June has just made everyone work extra hard and now that is has been announced we feel very proud.
Hannah McGill, EIFF artistic director, praised all staff involved for working tirelessly to ensure the festival’s launch ran smoothly.
“This programme was put together with a whole different calendar and under quite serious time constraints so I want to personally congratulate the staff in putting together such an exciting programme.
“We have a terrifically exciting programme, which is the happy result of a very enthusiastic response from distributors and filmmakers.
“From powerful artistic and political statements to works of pure, escapist entertainment, I think this is a Festival that reflects an active, vibrant world film culture – and suits the diverse and daring tastes of our audience.”
Theatres across the capital – including Cineworld, the Cameo and The Dominion – will be showing the line-up of films from 29 countries.
Linda Fabiani, culture minister, welcomed the diverse schedule offered to film enthusiasts – with tickets going on general sale from Friday May 9.
Ms Fabiani said: “Scotland’s diverse and vibrant cultural life is one of our defining features.
“It is the energy, commitment and creativity of Edinburgh’s Festivals which together make Edinburgh the world’s pre-eminent festival city, attracting tourists and showcasing Scottish talent on the international stage.”