Edinburgh International Film Festival reveals 2018 programme

Artistic Director Mark Adams has unveiled details of the programme for the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), taking place next month between 20 June to 1 July. This year the Festival will screen around 121 new features, including 21 world premieres, from 48 countries across the globe.

Highlights include the long-anticipated Disney-Pixar animation Incredibles 2, Q&A and In Person events with guests including the award-winning English writer and director David Hare, the much-loved Welsh comedian Rob Brydon and star of the compelling Gothic drama The Secret of Marrowbone, actor George MacKay, as well as the Opening and Closing Gala premieres of the previously announced Puzzle and Swimming With Men.

This year’s People’s Gala will be the World Premiere of Stephen Moyer’s directorial debut, The Parting Glass, starring Melissa LeoCynthia NixonDenis O’HareAnna Paquin (who also produces), Rhys Ifans and Ed Asner. The People’s Gala is supported by Sir Ewan and Lady Brown, and tickets are only £5, offering audiences the opportunity to see a great new film at an accessible price.r Stephen MoyerAnna Paquin will also take part in an IN PERSON event on Sunday 24th June.

Mark Adams, EIFF Artistic Director, said: “EIFF prides itself on offering films and events that entertain, challenge, provoke, illuminate and excite and 2018 is no exception! From the best of up-and-coming British filmmakers to striking new cinema from around the world, we offer something for everyone: from rare access to filmmakers, live events to experience and the opportunity to see films that may never appear in the country again. We remain one of the world’s most venerable and acclaimed film festivals and are delighted to be able to offer audiences the chance to see some of the most exciting and innovative new film talent, in a setting steeped in history.”

Scott Donaldson, Acting Director, Screen at Creative Scotland, said: “EIFF is a world-class film festival, and this year’s programme highlights exactly why, offering audiences and industry delegates an extremely diverse selection of some of the most exciting cinema both from Scotland and from around the world. We are proud to support the Edinburgh International Film Festival and congratulate the team on what promises to be a stellar edition.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: “Over the years, Edinburgh International Film Festival has gained increasing recognition as one of the world’s most acclaimed film festivals, attracting audiences from far and wide. This year’s programme, featuring some of the finest productions from Scotland and across the world, continues to promote international partnerships and collaborations, enhancing Scotland’s profile as the international hub for festival engagement. I am delighted that the Film Festival received £104,000 in 2018 through the Scottish Government Festivals Expo Fund, which has enabled the best new and emerging filmmakers to develop their skills, knowledge and awareness of all stages of the filmmaking process.”

Director of the BFI Film Fund Ben Roberts said: “We are proud supporters of EIFF - which plays such an important role as a platform for new Scottish, British and World Cinema, and as a real festival of discovery. Mark and his team have pulled together a rich and surprising programme, and it’s great to see Scotland as the star of the show. Congratulations to everyone who makes the festival happen, and thanks for giving us yet another reason to visit this great city.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “The Edinburgh International Film Festival is renowned around the world for discovering and promoting the very best in international cinema, and EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of the Festival in 2018 to further enhance its international reputation in 2018. Congratulations to Mark and the team for once again producing a wonderful programme befitting Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events.”

This year’s Best of British strand includes exclusive world premieres of Simon Fellows’ thriller Steel Country, featuring a captivating performance from Andrew Scott as Donald, a truck driver turned detective; comedy classic Old Boys starring Alex Lawther; the debut feature of writer-director Tom BeardTwo for Joy a powerful coming-of-age drama starring Samantha Morton and Billie Piper; oddball comedy-drama Eaten by Lions; striking debut from writer and director Adam MorseLucid, starring Billy Zane and Sadie FrostJamie Adams’ British comedy Songbird, featuring Cobie Smulders and Haifaa al-Mansour’Mary Shelley, with Elle Fanning taking on the role of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. Audiences can also look forward to a special screening of Mandie Fletcher’s delightfully fun rom-com Patrick.

This year the American Dreams strand will offer audiences the chance to delve deep into some of the very best new films from American independent cinema including: Unicorn Store, the directorial debut of Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson in which she stars alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Joan Cusack; the heart-warming Hearts Beat Loud starring Nick Offerman; glossy noir thriller, Terminal, starring and produced by Margot Robbie; the engaging comedy Humor Me from Sam Hoffman, starring Jemaine Clement andElliott GouldIdea Home in which Paul Rudd and Steve Cooganplay a bickering gay couple who find themselves thrust into parenthood; 1980s set spy thriller starring Jon HammThe Negotiator; and Papillon, starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek.

The European Perspectives strand, supported by James and Morag Anderson, will feature a wonderful selection of new films that are powerfully visionary and passionate about storytelling. Notable features include touching drama Never Leave Me highlighting how young Syrian lives have been affected by war; freewheeling Euro romp Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle; actor-turned-director Mélanie Laurent’s fourth feature Diving, the thought-provoking What Will People Say by writer-director Iram Haq; the wonderfully weird Charlie and Hannah’s Grand Night Out; French ensemble comedy C’est La Vie! and the brooding and atmospheric drama The Secret of Marrowbone starring George MacKayAnya Taylor-JoyCharlie HeatonMia Goth and Matthew Stagg.

This year’s World Perspectives strand offers audiences a fascinating snapshot of developing world-cinema themes and styles from talented filmmakers from around the world. Highlights include acclaimed epic Chinese drama An Elephant Sitting Still; award-winning South American drama The Heiresses; powerful political drama No. 1 Chung Ying Street; Girls Always Happy, an unflinching but darkly funny tale of a Chinese mother and daughter and Brazilian comedy Loveling. For lovers of the land down under there’s also raucous Aussie comedy Flammable Children (Swinging Safari) starring native icons Kylie Minogue and Guy PearceThe Butterfly Tree starring Melissa George and Ben Elton’s Three Summers starring Robert Sheehanand set at an Australian folk music festival.

This year’s EIFF programme features a diverse selection of new documentaries which reflect the ability of documentary film to inspire and challenge audiences. There is a strong musical theme that runs through this year’s films from Whitney, the much-anticipated documentary about the life and times of superstar Whitney Houston; George Michael: Freedom – the Director’s Cut narrated by George Michael himself and Almost Fashionable: a Film About Travis directed by Scottish lead-singer Fran Healy. Audiences will be inspired by the creativity of Orson Welles in Mark Cousins’ The Eyes of Orson Welles; Hal, a film portrait of the acclaimed 1970s director Hal Ashby; Life After Flash, a fascinating exploration into the life of actorSam J. Jones the topical Postcards From the 48% will also screen followed by a Q&A with director David Wilkinson, who travelled the UK to meet people from all sides of the Brexit debate.

As the sun sets, audiences will be able to journey into the dark and often downright strange side of cinema, with a selection of genre-busting edge-of-your-seat gems including: the gloriously grisly psychosexual romp Piercing starring Mia Wasikowska; the world premieres of Matthew Holness’ Possum and Solis staring Steven Ogg as an astronaut who finds himself trapped in an escape pod heading toward the sun; dark and bloody period drama The Most Assassinated Woman in the World and the futuristic White Chamberstarring Shauna Macdonald.

The country focus for the Festival’s 72nd edition will be Canada and is supported by Telefilm Canada. Focus on Canada will allow audiences to take a cinematic tour of the country and its culture, offering insight as well as entertainment, from filmmakers new and already established. Selected by EIFF’s 2018 Young Programmers are also a range of titles that explore the experiences of First Nations youth including Indian Horse in which a young boy becomes a star ice-hockey player and Kayak to Klemtu where a determined young girl, played by the charismatic Ta’kaiya Blaney, sets off to kayak the Inside Passage in British Colombia. The strand will also showcase a number of shorts in Spotlight on Contemporary Canadian Short Films, a powerful combination of short fiction, documentary and animated films that focus on the central social, political and ethical issues prevalent within contemporary Canada.

Audiences are also invited to attend a number of talks in the Festival’s free lecture stand, Reel Talk, including: Introduction to Film Studies: Female Directors in American Cinema that will shine a spotlight on the acclaimed and ground-breaking female directors who shaped American cinema; Frank Cogliano and David Silkenat of theUniversity of Edinburgh will record a live episode of their show Whiskey Rebellion, offering context for the history of paranoia in American politics and film, before answering questions from the audience in Paranoia and Politics in American Film and From Romero to Get Out, or: How Horror Helped Wake Me Up to the American Nightmare which will explore the power and importance of the horror genre.

Audiences can look forward to four programmes of short animation as part of the Festival’s dedicated animation strand, supported by Emperor and the Culture & Business Fund Scotland. The McLaren Award for Best New British Animation will return once again with two varied programmes showcasing some of the most highly-anticipated new short animations from the UK and there will also be a special retrospective of unique talent Elizabeth Hobbs, the award-winning indie animator running as part of Anim18, a celebration of British animation taking place across the UK.

The world of experimental film is once again uncovered in the Festival’s ever-popular Black Box strand. A selection of short and feature-length films that push the boundaries of visual communication will screen including the world premiere of Pig Film, taking a look at the future of film, and a range of experimental short films from Canada that foreground the material properties of 16mm. Also, as part of this year’s Focus on Canada, the Black Box strand will feature a special screening of short films by Joyce Wieland.

This year’s EIFF Shorts will offer a thrilling showcase of the finest brand-new short films from across the globe including Dream Images; Optics; Resistant Bodies; Spectres; Firecracker, celebrating the vibrant state of UK shorts; Kaleidoscope drawn from the thriving Scottish short film scene and The Young and the Wild, handpicked by the EIFF Young Programmers. New in 2018 will be the inaugural New Visions programme, introducing glowing new voices aged 14-25 from across Scotland to submit their newest works to EIFF’s newly developed short film competition for young people.

A number of special events will take place throughout the Festival including Jaws in Concert, a screening of Steven Spielberg’s seminal blockbuster with John Williams’ iconic score played live by the RSNO,a screening of the much-loved Local Hero followed by a Q&A with writer director Bill Forsyth in conversation with Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh’s Artistic Director, David Greig as well as an early preview of the upcoming season of the popular BBC Alba series Bannan. Prior to the Festival on 27 May audiences will also have the chance to experience the vampire underworld in EIFF Play: Blade: an immersive cinema experience built around a screening of the trailblazing comic-book adaptation of Blade, in partnership with Hidden Door and The List, in collaboration with New Media Scotland, and supported by Sir Ewan and Lady Brown. Continuing Retrospective Live! - Monterey Pop, Da Pennebaker’s brilliant concert film, will be played as if it were a real live gig as part of Summerhall’s brand new 10-day series, Southern Exposure. 

Specially selected to showcase the very best in world cinema for younger audiences and the young at heart, Film Fest Junior boasts two UK Premieres, Vitello and Zombillenium as well as an exclusive preview of Princess Emmy As previously announced, the Festival’s expanded youth strand, The Young & the Wild will offer a range of masterclasses offering careers advice for filmmakers aged 15-25 years old, along with events and screenings for schools, as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 celebrations and supported by Baillie Gifford. The 2018 EIFF Young Programmers, a group of 15-19 year olds who have curated their own shorts strand, The Young & the Wild, have also selected a number of films within this year’s programme which are badged accordingly in the Festival brochure.

The Festival’s previously announced pop-up outdoor cinema event Film Fest in the City with Mackays (15 – 17 June) will kick off the festivities early, with the 72nd Edinburgh International Film Festival running from 20 June – 1 July, 2018.

Tickets go on sale to Filmhouse Members on Wednesday 23 May at 12noon and on sale to the public on Friday 25 May at 10am.