Film fans in Scotland’s capital are gearing up for the 66th annual Edinburgh International Film Festival, which for many represents the highlight of their film-watching year. The 2012 festival – which runs from 20th June until 1st July – promises a return to form after the much-criticised 2011 festival, which many felt lacked the diversity, glitz and sense of adventure that are traditionally associated with the event.
Under the guidance of the festival’s new artistic director Chris Fujiwara, the programme has resumed its focus on new talent and innovation while also celebrating more established careers and offering industry-specific events. It’s an approach that will not only attract professionals from throughout the film industry, but also more general audiences drawn both by the stimulating range of lesser-known films and the opportunity to see mainstream stars.
This year the emphasis is firmly back on diverse cinema from around the world, with the festival once again adopting its forward-looking approach to film making. The various themed strands of the festival include a special focus on films from Denmark, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, plus a retrospective look at the work of filmmakers Gregory La Cava and Shinji Somai. The festival also casts a special spotlight on works by Japanese filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto and Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing, further adding to the event’s international flavour.
However, for those who favour slightly more mainstream fair and relish a bit of Hollywood in Edinburgh, the festival also includes some star-studded films to up the festival’s celebrity cachet. There will be a keynote interview with Scottish star Robert Carlyle, whose latest film California Solo is being screened at the festival, as well special “In Person” discussions with well-known actors Jim Broadbent and Elliott Gould.
The festival’s Opening Night Gala features a screening of Killer Joe, a dark comedy directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and starring Matthew MacConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon, and Juno Temple; while the Closing Night Gala centres on the premiere of the eagerly awaited film Brave, an animated feature from Disney Pixar which is set in a mythical Scottish Highlands and features the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Ferguson.
Other highlights include the return of the Michael Powell and International Competitions, which were absent from last year’s festival, plus the ever-popular animation and short film selections, as well as Night Moves, a creepy collection of late-night showings. There will also be a special 50th anniversary showing of Lawrence of Arabia, in a restored form, for those whose tastes lean toward the cinema classics.
For details of times, dates and prices, visit the Edinburgh International Film Festival website. The festival runs for 12 days, meaning there is plenty of time to explore the city. Many hotels in Edinburgh, such as the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, offer central locations which put them within walking distance of major attractions, shops and restaurants, as well as the festival venues, so it’s well worth planning a holiday around the festival.
In the meantime, check out our video playlist below for previews, trailers, and interviews regarding this year’s feature films:
Are you attending the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year? What are you most excited to see?