Scottish talent and films to be celebrated at Edinburgh International Film Festival

In advance of the main programme launch on Wednesday 20 July, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has revealed an impressive array of films and shorts which have Scottish talent and/or settings as part of the celebrations around Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.

There are 10 features in the main programme, of which 6 are World Premieres:

The previously announced Opening Gala Aftersun, the critically acclaimed feature debut from Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells, fresh from winning First Prize when it premiered as part of International Critics’ Week during this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Aftersun tells the story of Sophie (played as an adult by Celia Rowlson-Hall and a young girl by Frankie Corio) who reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father (Paul Mescal) twenty years earlier. Aftersun’s production was supported with an award from Screen Scotland’s Film Development and Production Fund.    

Man cradling young girl in a convenience store.Still from Aftersun. Courtesy of Unified Theory Productions.

Scottish animators Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson star in and co-direct the World Premiere presentation of the inventive documentary A Cat Called Dom. Albeit framed as a film for Will’s mother, we too are invited to witness how Will deals with the grief of his mother’s illness. The duo work on their animations and face the frustrations of trying to make this documentary. Whilst alone, Will turns to DOM, the animated cat that lives on his laptop screen. A Cat Called Dom received production support from Screen Scotland.

Glasgow-based Marie Lidén’s empathetic and thought-provoking documentary Electric Malady focuses on a case of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), a medically disputed syndrome still being explored by the WHO. The isolated subject William based in Marie’s homeland Sweden, shields himself from technology and radiation with sheets of foil and copper-lined blankets, it is a condition that the filmmaker had a unique insight to as her mother was a sufferer too. Electric Malady was developed and produced with support from Screen Scotland.

Still from Electric Malady. Courtesy of Aconite Productions.

Presented in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Festival, The Ballad of a Great Disordered Heart is a collaborative film by Edinburgh-based trio: folk musician Aidan O’Rourke, Becky Manson and Mark Cousins that offers an evocative view of Edinburgh’s Old Town and the Irish communities who have called it home. This celebratory film which receives its World Premiere at the EIFF features a foot-stomping original soundtrack by O’Rourke and live performances by Irish and Scottish folk musicians.

Drawing on rare 8mm colour film of Berneray in the Outer Hebrides, Scottish directors Andy MacKinnon and Kirsty MacDonald offer a bridge between the contemporary citizens and their not-so-distant past in the World Premiere of Dùthchas | Home. The result is a film of great emotion that speaks to the importance of place and the resilience of culture through language, song and memories. The film was developed and produced with support from Screen Scotland.

Hassan Nazer’s Winners (Barandeha) produced by Scot Paul Welsh and Scottish Uzbek Nadira Murray is set in a deprived area of a small Iranian town where children are required to work to help support their families. Nine-year-old Yahya is one such child, his little hands scouring through massive piles of junk in search of hidden treasures. One day, Yahya strikes literal gold by finding an unclaimed Oscar statue, the curious item leading the boy into an adventure- filled journey that doubles as a loving ode to the history of Iranian cinema in this World Premiere presentation. Production of Winners was completed with support from Screen Scotland.

Glasgow-based Borja Alcalde’s debut feature documentary The Sacred Family (La Sagrada Familia) is a visually intoxicating emotional journey to the heart of what holds a family together or breaks them apart. Carmen and Sergio are ordinary parents juggling the pressures of family and work. Living in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, their business is based around the local ayahuasca ceremonies. Concerned about their family’s compulsive use of modern technologies, they take their three kids on a campervan road trip deep into the Amazon rainforest in this World Premiere presentation. Production of The Sacred Family was funded by Screen Scotland.

Still from The Sacred Family (La Sagrada Familia), courtesy of Yanantin World.

Expanded from his BBC short documentary, Peter Day’s kinetic portrait Off The Rails follows adrenaline-seeking Surrey teens Aiden and Rikke parkour journey to YouTube stardom in a candid exploration of contemporary teenage mental health. The film is produced by Scot Grant Keir and was developed and produced with support from Screen Scotland.

Glaswegian Lynne Ramsay’s second feature Morvern Callar based on Scot Alan Warner’s award-winning novel and which starred Samantha Morton as the titular character celebrates its 20th Anniversary with our 35mm retrospective screening. Shot in Oban and sunny Almería, this is hallucinatory homegrown cinema gilded with a soundtrack of electronica and art-rock gems.

Don Coutts’ Heading West: a story about a band called Shooglenifty is an uplifting gem for fans old and new of the Edinburgh band Shooglenifty which showcases the past, present and future of the Acid-croft music pioneers in this World Premiere presentation.

Separately screening at Filmhouse as part of the Special Events programme and in celebration of Scotland’s Stories on Screen for Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will be Scot Dougie Irvine’s Yoyo & The Little Auk. When a storm hits a flock of birds flying over the ocean, one little auk is stranded in the middle of Scotland. The lost bird is found by Yoyo, a little girl preparing for her favourite night of the year, the Inverkithkin Ceilidh. From the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Visible Fictions, supported by Year of Stories 2022, this delightful new film is accompanied by a live orchestral performance, introducing children aged 3-6 to the magic of classical music.

Also part of the Special Events programme is the talk The Making of A Bear Named Wojtek where Edinburgh based animation director Iain Gardener, Art Director Rachel Bevan Baker and producer Iain Harvey will discuss bringing this extraordinary, animated special to life. A Bear Named Wojtek tells the fantastic story of Wojtek, the Syrian brown bear who was brought to Edinburgh after having been adopted by Polish soldiers during WWII. The film is a Polish/UK co-production (FIlmograf/The Illuminated Film Company) and will be broadcast by BBC Alba and TV Poland in 2022/23.

Director Iain Gardner's concept artwork of animated film A Bear Named Wojtek

On Saturday 13 August as part of the Film Fest in the City outdoor screenings programme at St Andrew Square, the celebration of Scotland’s Stories on Screen continues and fills the square with homegrown stories and some family fun, including a special live musical performance to accompany the 100 year anniversary screening of the 1922 classic Rob Roy, as well as Pixar’s animated fantasy Brave and Sylvain Chomet’s charming Edinburgh-set animation The Illusionist.

Also at Film Fest in the City as part of the same initiative, screening across the first two days of the programme (12th & 13th August) are the following 6 short films from exciting Scottish filmmakers:

  • FLIT -  Jack Allen
  • Don vs Lightning - Big Red Button
  • Betty - Will Anderson
  • Widdershins - Simon P. Biggs (supported by Screen Scotland via SFTN)
  • What Makes Soup Soup - Conor Reilly, Tommy Reilly, Malcolm Cumming
  • Neville is Dead - Louis Paxton

Back to the main programme, as part of EIFF 2022’s ambitious selection of short films – fiction, animation, documentary and experimental – which form 12 fantastic programmes for film fans of all ages to delve into.

There is an impressive 24 Scottish filmmakers and their films represented, they are as follows:

  • Barber, The - Dhivya Kate Chetty
  • Burry Man - Simon P. Biggs (supported by Screen Scotland)
  • Canberra, Bitch - Alicja Jankowska
  • Change Direction - Greta McMillan
  • Cities I Live In, The - Rabie Mustapha (supported by Screen Scotland via Bridging the Gap)
  • Clean - Miranda Stern (supported by Screen Scotland via Bridging the Gap)
  • Dead Cat Strategy, The - Laura Wiggett
  • Dùsgadh - Cat Bruce
  • Fields, The - Ezra Course
  • Groom - Leyla Coll-O'Reilly (supported by Screen Scotland via Short Circuit)
  • Infectious Nihilism and Small Metallic Pieces of Hope - James Price
  • Kafia - Raz Salih
  • Let the Sunshine In - Eva Magdić Govedarica
  • Lights Across the Shore - Lewis William Shipley
  • Long Winter, A - Eilidh Munro (supported by Screen Scotland via Bridging the Gap)
  • Making of Longbird, The - Will Anderson
  • Maureen - Shiona McCubbin
  • Parallel - Rosanna Lee
  • SMALL - Jonathan Payne
  • There’s Not Much We Can Do - Erica Monde (supported by Screen Scotland via Bridging the Gap)
  • Tomorrow That’ll Come, The - Carla Shah (supported by Screen Scotland via Bridging the Gap)
  • Too Rough - Sean Lionadh (supported by Screen Scotland via Short Circuit)
  • TWENTY - Roxana Mia Capris
  • Who I Am Now – Jack Goessens

Kristy Matheson, Creative Director of EIFF said: “Cinema is a magical time traveling machine that allows us to see the world but as Dorothy reminds us in the Wizard of Oz, ‘there’s no place like home.’ This year at EIFF, we’re proud to showcase local talents and stories across an array of programming. Our congratulations and sincere thanks to this talented group of Scottish born and based artists for sharing their stories with us.”

David Smith, Director, Screen Scotland said: “Scotland’s creativity and diversity is brilliantly reflected in the astonishing range of features, theatrical documentaries and short films from Scotland Kristy and the film festival team have selected for this year’s welcome return of the EIFF to August. Screen Scotland has funded the development and production of eighteen of the films and short films screening during the festival, including fantastic the Opening Gala, Charlotte Well’s Aftersun.”

Ticket information

Tickets go on sale to Filmhouse Members and Screen Saver Passholders on Wednesday 20 July at 12 noon and on sale to the general public at 10am on Friday 22nd July.

The full programme launch announcement will be revealed at 10am on Wednesday 20 July


About Edinburgh International Film Festival: Inspired by the unique identity of Edinburgh and our love of film, EIFF connects audiences with essential storytellers. Intimate in scale, ambitious in artistic scope, EIFF is your annual celebration of screen, at the heart of a global cultural gathering. On our 75th anniversary, EIFF returns to the Scottish capital’s summer festival season, to centre film as a major art form within this vibrant, cultural conversation and invite audiences, artists, and innovators to imagine new worlds with us.

EIFF is supported by Screen Scotland, the PLACE Programme (a partnership between the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals), the Scottish Government through the Festivals Expo Fund, the City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland and the British Film Institute.

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) currently comprises EIFF, Filmhouse in Edinburgh and the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen.

Screen Scotland is the national body that drives development of all aspects of Scotland’s film and TV industry, through funding and strategic support. Screen Scotland is part of Creative Scotland and delivers these services and support with funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Find out more at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

About Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022: Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

Led by VisitScotland, the Year of Stories 2022 will sustain and build upon the momentum of preceding Themed Years, showcasing a nationwide programme of major events and community celebrations.  From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.

Scotland’s Year of Stories will encourage responsible engagement and inclusive participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors. Following an industry consultation, Themed Years will take place every second year to enable more time for planning and collaboration. The next Themed Year will take place in 2024.

Join the conversation using #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland.

Header image: Still from Off the Rails. Credit: Faction Films