Tickets go on sale this morning for next month's Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). The festival programme, launched yesterday, is the first to be curated by new artistic director Chris Fujiwara.
Fujiwara, a film critic like previous artistic director Hannah McGill, is tasked with putting the festival back on track after the film festival floundered last year following funding problems and staff losses. He is helped this year by an additional one-off sum of £250,000 of lottery funding from the BFI (British Film Institute) for core programming and industry events, as well as supporting initiatives to develop new filmmaking talent.
The festival programme this year is more in keeping with the tried and tested format of the EIFF of previous years, after last year's radical overhaul misfired. Cineworld Fountainpark returns in 2012 as venue partner, hosting almost half of EIFF’s screenings, Fujiwara has said awards and red carpets will have their place, and a more clearly curated programme reflects the director's own spheres of interest, in particular a strong representation of edgy independent and Asian cinema.
Over the course of the 66th edition of the Festival, running from 20 June to 1 July, there will be nineteen World premieres and thirteen International premieres. In total, it will screen 121 new features from 52 countries, including 11 European premieres and 76 UK premieres in addition to the World and International premieres.
As previously announced the festival opens with William Friedkin’s Killer Joe and the Closing Gala will be the European premiere of Scotland set animation from Disney/Pixar, Brave.
Fujiwara said the programme reflects the “exceptionally vibrant” state of modern cinema.
“Our audiences will be able to explore a wide range of outstanding films from around the world, including work by established masters and films from new and emerging talents. There are also some no less exciting discoveries to be made this year in our Retrospectives. Altogether it’s a rich and diverse programme that tells, I believe, a fascinating story about where cinema is today, what it can learn from the past, and where it is going in the future,” said Fujiwara.
Highlights include the world premieres of Richard Ledes’ Fred, an Alzheimer comedy starring Elliot Gould; Nathan Silver’s no-budget docu-styled drama Exit Elena, and roller derby documentary Leave It On the Track, by US director Benjamin Pascoe.
Among the European premieres is Lu Sheng’s Here, There and Yang Jung-ho’s Mirage in the maiden New Perspectives section; and the international premiere of Benicio Del Toro, Pablo Trapero, Julio Medem, Elia Suleiman, Gaspar Noé, Juan Carlos Tabio and Laurent Cantet’s 7 Days in Havana.
The European premiere of Bobcat Goldthwait’s dead-pan, shoot 'em up comedy God Bless America (pictured) is one of the features of the Directors’ Showcase.
In addition to the new features presented, the Festival will also host twenty-nine older titles in Retrospectives and Special Screenings, bringing the total number of feature films to one hundred and fifty across the twelve-day event.
Michael Powell Award Returns
This year sees the return of awards and award ceremony. In particular, the coveted Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film has been re-instated, with documentaries in contention for the first time. An International Feature Competition is supported by brewer Innis & Gun. The Audience Award, previously sponsored by Standard Life, has not been re-instated though (at least no announcement yet).
The line-up for the Michael Powell Award includes seven world premieres: Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio; Day of the Flowers by John Roberts; Katarzyna Klimkiewicz’s Flying Blind; Maja Borg’s Future My Love; Alex Barrett’s Life Just Is; One Mile Away by Penny Woolcock and Pusher by Luis Prieto.
The Michael Powell Award contenders, which also include Bart Layton’s The Imposter; Shadow Dancer by James Marsh and Martin Wallace’s Small Creatures, also compete for the Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film.
Other World premieres are Mao Mao’s Here, Then and for those looking for a sideline to the European Cup 2012, football humour is provided by Alexandre O Philippe's The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus about the cephalopod who had a 100% success rate in predicting champions at the 2010 World Cup. It's brought from the same team that made The People Versus George Lucas.
The International Feature Competition includes, for the first time, documentary films alongside narrative films.
International premieres competing for the award are Jang Kun-jae’s Sleepless Night and Dan Sallitt’s The Unspeakable Act; while other titles include One. Two. One by Mania Akbari Oskar Alegria’s The Search For Emak Bakia; Yeon Sang-ho’s The King of Pigs ; David Zellner’s Kid-Thing; Maite Alberdi’s The Lifeguard and Tabu by Miguel Gomes.
Two films are by co-directing couples: Clarissa Campolina and Helvécio Marins Jr’s Girimunho and Anka Sasnal and Wilhelm Sasnal’s It Looks Pretty From A Distance (pictured above).
Gastón Solnicki’s Papirosen and A Woman's Revenge by Rita Azevedo Gomes round out the International Feature Competition.
Retrospectives and talks
Fujiwara is a big fan of retrospectives. The EIFF 2012 focuses on two "masters of their art": Spotlight on Shinya Tsukamoto (whose Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer is pictured at top - the men with drills in their heads!) and Spotlight on Wang Bing. The Spotlights strands include Tsukamoto’s latest project Kotoko, and culminate in a Masterclass with Wang Bing, who will discuss his documentary filmmaking career.
Accompanying their respective films, ¡Vivan Las Antipodas! and California Solo (pictured above), director Victor Kossakovsky and actor Robert Carlyle, EIFF Patron, will also have on-stage In-Person events, with Victor Kossakovsky presenting a Masterclass, while Robert Carlyle is the subject of 2012’s In Person: BAFTA Scotland Interview.
As well as previously announced Shinji Somai Retrospective section, presenting the world of "a neglected master" of Japanese cinema, a second Retrospective explores screen comedy director Gregory La Cava with My Man Godfrey (1936), two films starring Claudette Colbert, Private Worlds (1935) and She Married Her Boss (1935), and the rarely seen “masterpiece” Unfinished Business (1941).
EIFF will screen six of La Cava’s films, and the Retrospective will continue at Filmhouse throughout July, with a further six films.
New British Filmmaking
Jules Bishop’s Borrowed Time, Steve Rainbow’s NFA and Scott Graham’s Shell are the three World premieres in the new British Scenes section, where it is joined by Bryn Higgins’ Unconditional, in a strand introducing films from the UK that are made by new filmmakers, that try out non-traditional funding models or that venture into unusual thematic areas.
Film on Film
What Is This Film Called Love? by Mark Cousins receives its World premiere alongside Nicholas Ray’s We Can't Go Home Again and Susan Ray’s accompanying Don't Expect Too Much in the new Films on Film section.
Late Night Moves
The late-nighters at the EIFF have always been popular. This year's late-night Night Moves strand sees the World premiere of Ian Clark’s Guinea Pigs and the European premiere of Jon Wright’s Grabbers, both from the UK, and other titles include Eddie – The Sleepwalking Cannibal by Boris Rodriguez; Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker’s Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie; the multi-directed V/H/S; Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong and Magnus Martens’ Jackpot, based on a story by Jo Nesbo.
Danish and Philippine Focus
Highlighting EIFF’s global curatorial expanse, the Philippine New Wave examines the creativity of young independent Filipino filmmakers, and includes the World premieres of Emerson Reyes’ MNL 143 and Philippine New Wave: This Is Not A Film Movement by Khavn De La Cruz among the twelve strong section.
A special Focus on Denmark features Mads Brügger’s The Ambassador; Nicole N Horanyi and Heidi Kim Andersen’s Au Pair; and Siblings – For Better Or Worse (pictured below) by Max Kestner, Mikala Krough, Laila Hodell and Aage Rais-Nordentoft. Showcasing the vitality of filmmaking in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, Looking South brings together a collection of films including Juan Ignacio Domìnguez’s Riding Zorro; Musica Campesina [Country Music] by Alberto Fuguet; and Ana Katz’s Los Marziano.
The Directors’ Showcase, presenting work from the established auteurs of our time, includes Denis Côté’s Bestiaire; Johnnie To’s Life Without Principle; Peter Chan’s Dragon; Asoka Handagama’s Him, Here After; Gakuryu Ishii’s Isn't Anyone Alive?; Rent-A-Cat by Naoko Ogigami and The Rest of the World by Damien Odoul.
New Perspectives, boasting 40 titles, presents a global array of work by emerging directors also including Tetsuaki Matsue’s Tokyo Drifter, DJ Chen’s Young Dudes, Patrik Eklund’s Flicker, Gabe Torres’ Brake, Petros Sevastikoglou’s Attractive Illusion and Nuclear Nation by Atsushi Funahashi.
Animation & Art
EIFF’s animation tradition continues with The 99 Unbound by Dave Osborne and a Special Screening of Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda’s 3D version of Dr Seuss' The Lorax. In addition to the animated films and shorts at the Festival, EIFF continues to showcase the best of Scottish, UK and international shorts in a series of programmes which include Romola Garai’s directorial début Scrubber; Funtimesby Joe Carter and Revolutionary Memories of Bahman Who Loved Leila by Sarahnaz Sharifi. The experimental Black Box section also presents a series of shorts programmes from innovators of the visual art world, as well as Abigail Child’s feature-length The Suburban Trilogy.
The world of art is also represented by four free exhibitions and events across Edinburgh, through collaborations with several galleries – the Collective, Stills, Inspace and the Ingleby Gallery in Beyond EIFF.
Lawrence of Arabia remastered
There will be a screening of the new digital restoration of Lawrence of Arabia, marking the 50th anniversary of David Lean's classic. The process of restoring the film will be discussed by multi-Oscar®-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker and Grover Crisp of Sony Pictures Entertainment at the panel event Film Restoration in the Digital Age.
Returning due to popular demand will be the Surprise Movie and Awards Ceremony, as well as outdoor screenings of family friendly films in St Andrew Square Garden in Essential Edinburgh & EIFF Under the Stars 2012 (films TBA).
Special Screenings also include Penny Woolcock’s One Day, Margaret Tait’s Blue Black Permanent, Harmony Korine, Aleksei Fedorchenko and Jan Kwiecinski’s The Fourth Dimension and the previously announced World premiere of the London 2012 Festival-commissioned films by Lynne Ramsay, Mike Leigh, Asif Kapadia and Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini.
Other Special Events include Midnight Sun, accompanying a screening of the original Norwegian Insomnia, directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, which will give audience members an experience of the late light northern sky to celebrate summer solstice.
Meanwhile, The Brockas In Film Concert will present Philippine art-rock improvisers The Brockas performing their first Edinburgh gig against the backdrop of Genghis Khan, a Philippine film that originally screened at EIFF in 1952.
An annual series of lectures looking at the history of cinema in Scotland has its inaugural year with The Edinburgh Film Guild Forsyth Hardy Lecture, presenting a fully illustrated account of the beginning of EIFF followed by a complete screening of Humphrey Jennings’ rarely seen The Cumberland Story, the first film shown at EIFF 1947.
More on the EIFF