Scotland celebrated at the 73rd EIFF

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has today unveiled a rich selection of Scottish films, filmmakers, acting talent and films shot in Scotland as part of its 2019 Festival programme. Opening with the European Premiere of Ninian Doff’s Boyz in the Wood, featuring a star-studded Scottish cast, this year’s programme will showcase some of the very best films and exclusive events from across the country, as well as a great range of films set and shot in Scotland. Scottish talent in attendance this year includes Shauna Macdonald, Jack Lowden, Angus Macfadyen, Peter Mullan, Mark Cousins and many more!

Balance, Not Symmetry by Jamie Adams is this year’s People’s Gala at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh on Sunday 23 June, supported by Accenture. This beautiful, cinematic tribute to art, music and Scotland - in particular Glasgow - was made in conjunction with popular Scottish band, Biffy Clyro, who worked on both the storyline and the score. As well as Tamsin Egerton and Lily Newmark, the film features a wonderful cast of Scottish actors, including Kate Dickie, Shauna Macdonald, and Freya Mavor.

The programme also includes Schemers by Dundee-born writer/director, David McLean, which was filmed exclusively in Dundee, and is a semi-autobiographical look at the director’s early years in the music business, and Scheme Birds, set in the former steel town of Motherwell in the West of Scotland. This documentary is a compassionate and engrossing film that tells the gritty and darkly amusing real-life story of teenage “scheme bird” Gemma. We will also see Scottish actor Angus Macfadyen reprising the role he played so memorably in Braveheart, as the eponymous warrior king in Robert the Bruce, a retelling of the legendary story.

"Scotland is brimming with talent"

“This year’s EIFF shows that Scotland is brimming with talent, from the high octane cast in Ninian Doff’s Boyz in the Wood, to the phenomenal feature documentary Scheme Birds, bringing this TriBeCa award winner home to Scotland. The new wave of Scottish writers and directors through the Scottish Film Talent Network’s Scottish Shorts strand promise great things for the future.”

Isabel Davis
Executive Director, Screen Scotland

In addition, celebrated Scottish actor, Brian Cox will star alongside Blythe Danner in the powerful and atmospheric thriller Strange But True and Scottish-born producer, Sophia Shek brings comedy drama Go Back to China to this year’s Festival. Directed by Emily Ting, the film tells the story of Sasha Li, a spoiled rich kid whose father decides to teach her a lesson.

Scottish actor and activist, Tam Dean Burn will join other guests in a special event before the screening of Best Before Death in which Irish filmmaker, Paul Duane follows artist and musician, Bill Drummond over a two-year period during his ambitious 12-year world tour.

Staying with musical connections, world-renowned jazz saxophonist, Tommy Smith OBE will perform a very special concert with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on Friday 28 June. To coincide with this year’s Focus on Spain, Tommy and the SNJO will present Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain, with a special performance by award-winning trumpeter, Laura Jurd in the Miles Davis role.

Meanwhile, Peter Mullan will join Scottish composer, Craig Armstrong to take part in a conversation entitled The Magic of Collaborations: Craig Armstrong & Peter Mullan. Since meeting at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre in the early days of their careers, Craig Armstrong and Peter Mullan have established a creative screen partnership that spans over 30 years, beginning with Peter’s directorial debut, The Close Trilogy, their collaborations include Orphans, The Magdalene Sisters and Neds.

EIFF will present an exclusive opportunity to see the TV series, Good Omens on the big screen this year; a stunning new adaptation of the best-selling fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, directed by Scotland’s very own, Douglas Mackinnon (Doctor Who, Sherlock, Line of Duty, Knightfall). This epic tale of an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) joining forces to save the world boasts a truly stellar cast and music by the brilliant David Arnold (Casino Royale). Good Omens will launch worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on 31 May and on BBC Two in the UK later this year. EIFF audiences will have a chance to see all six episodes on the big screen on Saturday 29 June, with special guests expected to attend.

A number of very special guests will also grace the Festival this year in EIFF’s In Person strand of on-stage interviews, supported by Johnston Carmichael. Fresh from her hugely successful stint on The Walking Dead, Scottish writer, actor and director, Pollyanna McIntosh will be the on-stage subject of a special In Person event, and will also present her directorial debut Darlin’ in which she also stars. Another special In Person event will feature award-winning actor and producer, Jack Lowden who appeared in Calibre, winner of last year’s Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at EIFF 2018.

In addition, Jack Lowden will be taking part in BAFTA Scotland Career Close-Up: Preparing for Screen Auditions alongside another Scottish actor, Shauna Macdonald to discuss how they prepare for auditions as part of BAFTA Scotland at EIFF Youth. This event will be open to anyone aged 15 - 25.

Honorary patron, Mark Cousins will present a special introduction to Varda by Agnès, the final film made by the pioneering French filmmaker Agnès Varda. The Festival will also screen a number of her other titles across a retrospective strand entitled The Features of Agnès.

Audiences can look forward to 4 Views of Scotland, a chance to look back at some of the most important Film4 and Channel 4 productions made in Scotland, comprising Paul McGuigan's The Acid House, Philip John's Wedding Belles and Ken Loach’s Carla’s Song and My Name is Joe. The strand also features the writing talent of Irvine Welsh, Dean Cavanagh, and Paul Laverty. Scottish acting talent in the frame include Peter Mullan, Gary Lewis, Robert Carlyle, Shauna Macdonald, Michelle Gomez, Ewen Bremner, Kevin McKidd, Jamie Sives, Tam Dean Burn, Stephen McCole, and Shirley Henderson.

The Festival’s various short film programmes include some of the latest Scottish Shorts from the Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN), and a strand entitled Phenomenal Women curated by the Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI), which this year celebrates its 15th anniversary with a special programme of documentaries curated for the Festival by SDI Director, Noe Mendelle.

In addition, the EIFF Youth New Visions Short Film Competition will return in 2019 to celebrate the best in young filmmaking talent from across Scotland. The 90-minute showcase of short films carefully selected by the Youth Advisory Group promises to be both entertaining and inspirational. These filmmakers will compete for one of two New Visions Awards, to be announced on Sunday 30 June.

Four boys look menacingly into the distance against a backdrop of greenery, one holds a gun

CineCuisine, the Festival’s culinary cinema strand will feature the documentary Chef’s Diaries: Scotland which follows world-famous Spanish chefs, the Roca Brothers on their successful quest to find the best food that Scotland can offer for use in their Michelin starred restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca.

The strand also includes a documentary about Scotland’s most famous national drink. The Amber Light unpicks whisky mythology, following the evolution of spirits from medicine to social lubricant and offers an offbeat, informative and amusing look at the amber nectar. Join spirits writer, Dave Broom on his quest to discover all there is to know about his national drink, including its historical links to literature and music.

The development of Scottish food and drink will also be discussed in a fun, informal event called Food for Thought, a panel discussion chaired by Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food, Scotland Food & Drink, which will include an exciting tasting session of locally sourced Scottish produce and creative twists on classic recipes specially prepared by the world-renowned Edinburgh School of Food & Wine.

EIFF Artistic Director, Mark Adams said,

“Edinburgh International Film Festival has a long history of supporting and showcasing the very best Scotland has to offer and 2019 will be no exception. I am thrilled to be able to give this year’s audiences the chance to enjoy a huge range of films, talks, events and talent that highlight the very best of Scottish craftsmanship and skill.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said,

“Film tourism is booming in Scotland and it’s no wonder given the amazing breadth of work being produced that showcases our stunning urban and rural scenery. Together with the depth of Scottish talent on show, the Edinburgh International Film Festival is the perfect stage to showcase Scotland’s assets to the international film community, inspiring enthusiasts to visit and experience the best of our people, food, drink and music first hand.”

More information

For more information on this year’s Festival visit

The 73rd edition of EIFF runs from 19 – 30 June 2019. The full programme will be announced on 29 May 2019. Tickets go on sale to EIFF Friends and Filmhouse Members on Wednesday 29 May at 12pm and on sale to the public on Friday 31 May at 10am.

For further information, please contact:

0207 932 9800

Editor's Notes

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.

EIFF is supported by Screen Scotland, the PLACE Programme (a partnership between the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals), the BFI (awarding funds from the National Lottery), the Scottish Government through the Festivals Expo Fund, the City of Edinburgh Council, and EventScotland.

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. 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.