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Strong Line-up for Edinburgh Film Festival 2009


By Robert Alstead - Posted on 06 May 2009

The 63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival, kicking off at Cineworld on 17 June with Sam Mendes comedy Away We Go, will showcase 135 features from 33 countries over ten days to 28 June.

The 2009 programme, launched earlier today, will close with the International premiere of Adam, a romantic drama by Max Mayer starring Hugh Dancy (Confessions Of A Shopaholic), Rose Byrne (Knowing), and Peter Gallagher (The O.C).

As well as 23 World premieres and 16 International premieres there will be a good smattering of stars and filmmakers in attendance.

Three of the four EIFF Patrons, Sir Sean Connery, Tilda Swinton and the recently appointed Seamus McGarvey, will be attending.

The popular In Person events will see the opening night director Sam Mendes, Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), Joe Dante (Gremlins) and Bill Forsyth (Local Hero) - who for so long in the Eighties was virtually the Scottish film industry - talking about their work.

Brenda Blethyn who appears in The Calling (see below) will be the subject of this year's BAFTA Interview.

Comic scriptwriter Meera Syal is the Skillset In Person interviewee, along with previously announced In Person subjects Indian cinema screen legend Sharmila Tagore and Slumdog Millionnaire cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle.

Roger Corman, the subject of this year's Retrospective, is also in town to talk about his work.

Lord David Puttnam will give a Keynote Address on the future of cinema in the digital age.

Some highlights

This year's galas include Oscar-winner Adam Elliot's stop-motion animation for adults Mary and Max (pictured) about an unlikely penpal relationship between a lonely 8-year-old girl in Melbourne and an obese 40-year-old New Yorker called Max; Glasgow-based David Mackenzie's Hollywood-set feature Spread starring Ashton Kutcher as a gigolo, and the cut and thrust of fashion journalism is covered in RJ Cutler's documentary profile of Vogue magazine in The September Issue.

Other highlights include Beau Travail director Claire Denis' 35 Shots Of Rum; Steven Soderbergh's DV experiment The Girlfriend Experience, starring porn actress Sasha Grey; and the world premiere, from EIFF regular Shane Meadows (This is England, Somers Town), of Le Donk, starring Paddy Considine as an over-the-hill rapper.

There's also Point Break director Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker about a US bomb squad unit in Iraq in the Directors' Showcase, and from Mexico The Last Heroes Of The Peninsula (Los últimos héroes de la península) by José Manuel Cravioto in the Document section.

"Best of British"

EIFF Artistic Director Hannah McGill highlighted the British section of the film festival as "especially diverse" this year.

The major focus on Film UK will be on British Galas competing for the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature.

This year includes seven World premieres (*) in the line-up:

* * Boogie Woogie, an artworld satire by Duncan Ward boasting a star-studded cast (Gillian Anderson, Alan Cumming, Heather Graham, Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Christopher Lee, Joanna Lumley, Charlotte Rampling)
* * A Boy Called Dad, a bittersweet coming-of-age story by Brian Percival about a boy who becomes a dad at 14
* * The Calling, Jan Dunn's drama with Emily Beecham and Brenda Blethyn about a woman who enters a convent for a more meaningful life experience only to find tensions and rivalries in cloistered life
* * Crying With Laughter, a low-budget Scottish thriller by Justin Molotnikov about a joke that has unintended consequences
* * Kicks, a thriller by Lindy Heymann, about two teenage girls who decide to stop their footballing idol from transferring from Liverpool to Spain
* * Mad, Sad and Bad, a comedy by Avie Luthra,
* * Running In Traffic by Dale Corlett, an atmospheric thriller about two lives in the same city that run parallel but never touch
* Fish Tank by director Andrea Arnold which sounds like it is in similar intense and claustrophobic territory as her previous feature Red Road
* Moon, a sci-fi by David Bowie's son Duncan Jones making his directorial debut
* My Last Five Girlfriends, by Julian Kemp, a romcom looking at what makes relationships work
* Unmade Beds by Alexis Dos Santos, an atmospheric party flick

Homecoming Scotland event

Celebrating influential Scottish filmmakers in Scotland's Year of Homecoming, the EIFF presents a Focus: Peter Mcdougall & John Mackenzie with screenings of classic Scottish TV drama including The Elephant's Graveyard and A Sense of Freedom.

Festival Location and EIFF Tickets

While the festival held a test screening at the Festival Theatre earlier this year, it doesn't feature among this year's venues. The EIFF has also become more centralised in its Lothian Road location with six of this year's eight venues conglomerated together at Filmhouse, Cameo, Cineworld (the cineplex is a ten-minute walk from Lothian Road), Traverse Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Theatre, and the previously announced St. John's Church.

The EIFF box office opens at noon on Friday 8 May, tickets available either online at www.edfilmfest.org.uk or from the credit card hotline: 0131 623 8030

Latest coverage of the Edinburgh International Film Festival

World Premieres

BARABOO
ATLETU (THE ATHLETE)
BIG THINGS
BOOGIE WOOGIE
A BOY CALLED DAD
THE CALLING
CRYING WITH LAUGHTER
LE DONK
EXAM
FOLLOW THE MASTER
GIALLO
ISOLATION
KICKS
MAD SAD AND BAD
NAKBA
NO GREATER LOVE
ROMEO AND JUILET VERSUS THE LIVING DEAD
RUNNING IN TRAFFIC
SALVAGE
THANKS MAA
TONY
WASTED
WIDE OPEN SPACES

International Premieres

ADAM
AWAY WE GO
EASIER WITH PRACTICE
ELKLAND
HARMONY AND ME
THE LAST HEROES OF THE PENINSULA
THE MAIDEN HEIST
THE MISSING PERSON
MODERN LOVE IS AUTOMATIC
MOON
MY YEAR WITHOUT SEX
THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE
SPREAD
SURROGATE
TINY JOYS
VAN DIEMEN'S LAND

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