Scottish filmmaking championed at 71st EIFF

Daphne, photo: Agatha A.Nitecka

In its 70th Anniversary year, Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has unveiled a rich selection of Scottish films, filmmakers and acting talent as part of its 2017 Festival programme. Featuring features, shorts, documentaries, animations and exclusive events, this year’s programme showcases some of the very best filmmaking and talent from across the country.

While the opening and closing films at this year’s festival capture different portraits of life in Northern England, from romantic drama God's Own Country to Morrissey portrait, England is Mine, a wealth of the Festival’s programme remains devoted to Scottish-linked material.

EIFF Artistic Director Mark Adams said: “Scottish talent has always been at the heart of the festival, and I am thrilled to once again illuminate the great work that currently exists within the country. The quality, variety and breadth of this year’s programme is a true testament to the high-level of craftsmanship in past and present Scottish film”.

Natalie Usher, Director, Screen at Creative Scotland said: “It’s great to see EIFF giving a high-profile platform to Scotland’s home grown filmmaking talent across features, short films, documentaries and animation. As one of the key cultural events in Scotland, EIFF’s recognition and celebration of Scottish talent in its 2017 programme is very welcome, helping to showcase the strength and depth of Scottish film.”

EIFF audiences can look forward to Teenage Superstars, a vibrant music documentary that looks at the story of the hugely successful pre-Britpop Scottish music scene. The film is a follow-up to 2015 EIFF Audience Award winner Big Gold Dream and is directed by Scottish filmmaker Grant McPhee. Another music documentary, The Groove Is Not Trival, following world-renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser will also feature, along with Scottish-produced documentaries Donkeyote (the latest feature from the Scottish Documentary Institute) and Skyline Productions' latest film about artist Andy Goldsworthy, Leaning Into the Wind.

The Festival programme will showcase a host of features filmed and set in Scotland, such as Waterboys, which is largely set in Edinburgh, as well as Edie and The Dark Mile. Edie it set against the beautiful backdrop of Suilven Mountain and stars Scottish actor Kevin Guthrie (Sunshine on LeithDunkirk), while The Dark Mile is a psychological thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, which finds a couple’s trip on a canal boat descend into a hellish ordeal that plays out like Deliverance meets Rosemary’s Baby.

An 80th anniversary screening of The Edge of the World, Michael Powell’s first major feature, will be presented in Edinburgh University's remarkable FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility wave tank. During the event, the tank will mimic the cinematic seascapes depicted in this tale of the evacuation of a remote island community off the Scottish coast. Also screening is Oliver Pike’s short documentary St Kilda, Its People and Birds from 1908, with a new score by Alex Menzies and lighting by Florence To. Presented by New Media Scotland, this event is part of the British Film Institute’s Britain on Film season.

Audiences can look forward to a preview of the hit Gaelic TV show Bannan, filmed on the beautiful island of Skye. The BBC Alba show follows a young woman returning to the island she had left when she was 18, and gently blends tones of soap opera, family drama and murder mystery. The Festival will allow audiences to catch the first three episodes of the fourth series, followed by a Q&A.

Scottish director Peter Mackie Burns makes his feature debut with Daphne, which stars Emily Beecham (Hail Caesar, Into the Badlands) and Geraldine James (Sherlock Holmes, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), while Scottish actress Freya Mavor (Sunshine On Leith, Skins) stars in the world premiere of comedy-drama Modern Life Is Rubbish.

Filmmaker Justin Edgar also returns to the EIFF with The Marker, starring veteran Scottish actor John Hannah. Edgar’s previous film, We Are The Freaks, premiered at EIFF in 2014 and was later released by Metrodome. Edgar was also behind last year’s feature documentary Notes On Blindess, which won Best Documentary at the 2016 British Independent Film Awards and was nominated in several categories at this year’s BAFTAS. The festival will also present The Last Photograph, a powerful and moving drama revolving around the Lockerbie disaster, directed by and starring Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Aviator) and EIFF favourite Bong Joon Ho’s latest offering Okja starring EIFF honorary patron Tilda Swinton will also screen.

The dual Scottish talents of author Ian Rankin and director John McKay can also be seen at a showing of Reichenbach Falls, directed by McKay (whose short film 1745 will also screen), written by James Mavor and based on Rankin’s novel of the same name. Meanwhile, the work of Scottish acting legends Sean Connery and Robbie Coltrane will be showcased, with Connery appearing in Outland and Time Bandits and Coltrane in Mona Lisa, Scrubbers and Glasgow-set Death Watch.

There are also numerous Scottish shorts for audience members to enjoy, including Natalie, which stars Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones, Prometheus), and the Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) produced No Song To Sing. Furthermore, there are shorts from the Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN), which is supported by Creative Scotland, the BFI and Creative Skillset. SFTN forms the Scottish element of the BFI NET.WORK, designed to discover, nurture and advance new and emerging filmmaking talent from across the UK and is a consortium made up of the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), DigiCult and Hopscotch Films and is led by Talent Development Executive Claudia Yusef. The shorts this year include drama Creeling, period drama 1745, psychological drama Close To The Bone, animations Nothing To Declare and Spindrift and fantasy The Inescapable Arrival Of Lazlo Petushki.

In memory of the late Jonathan Demme, EIFF will also present special screenings of his seminal music documentary Stop Making Sense. The first screening will take place in the courtyard at Summerhall on Friday 23 June, as part of a live music event featuring a host of local bands. The second screening will be at Filmhouse on Thursday 29 June, offering a rare chance to see this much loved film on the big screen.

Exciting live events featuring a host of Scottish talent including actors Kate Dickie and Tam Dean Burn, and world renowned jazz musician Tommy Smith with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra have previously been announced.

EIFF: Play

Edinburgh International Film Festival has also today (Tuesday 23 May) announced the launch of its inaugural immersive event cinema experience, EIFF: Play. Kicking off from 15 June, this year's programme will explore films from celebrated writer-director Edgar Wright, with audiences able to lose themselves in the weird and wonderful world of gamer-fantasy Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Thursday 15 June), zombie-comedy Shaun of the Dead (Thursday 22 June) and crime-action spoof Hot Fuzz (Thursday 29 June).

Supported by Sir Ewan and Lady Brown, and in partnership with The List, the immersive screenings of the cult comedy classics will take place at three unique venues across the city including The Venue at Potterrow and Teviot Row House, The Biscuit Factory, and Church Hill Theatre.

Tickets for EIFF: Play range from £13 - £15 and are available now through the EIFF website. Tickets for each event gives access to that film and its party. See www.edfilmfest.org.uk for more.


The 2017 Main Programme will be announced by EIFF Artistic Director, Mark Adams, at Filmhouse on Wednesday 31 May. Tickets go on sale to Filmhouse members on Wednesday 31 May at 12pm and on sale to the public on Friday 2 June at 10am.

For more information on this year’s EIFF or to purchase tickets visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk.

The 71st edition of EIFF runs from 21 June - 2 July, 2017.

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Notes to Editors

About Edinburgh International Film Festival: Established in 1947, Edinburgh International Film Festival is renowned around the world for discovering and promoting the very best in international cinema - and for heralding and debating changes in global filmmaking. Intimate in its scale, ambitious in its scope, and fuelled by pure passion for cinema in all its manifestations, EIFF seeks to spotlight the most exciting and innovative new film talent, in a setting steeped in history.

Notable films premiered in recent years have included: HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, AMY, FINDING DORY, 45 YEARS, A MOST WANTED MAN, COLD IN JULY, THE IMPOSTER, BRAVE, TABU, THE HURT LOCKER, MOON, FISH TANK, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, MAN ON WIRE, CONTROL, KNOCKED UP, RATATOUILLE, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and BILLY ELLIOT.

EIFF is supported by Creative Scotland, the BFI (with National Lottery funding), and the Scottish Government through the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, the City of Edinburgh Council, and EventScotland.

The Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) was established in 2010 with a mission to be at the forefront of the development of a vibrant and successful film and moving image industry and culture across Scotland and beyond. The CMI currently comprises EIFF, Filmhouse in Edinburgh and the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival Limited is a company registered in Scotland No: SC132453. It is a subsidiary of the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) which is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status with Scottish Charity No. SC006793.

About Creative Scotland: Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com. Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland