Wittertainment Live at EIFF

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Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo brought their Radio 5 Live movie show to EIFF today for a special live edition featuring reviews of the week’s cinema releases and special guests of the Fest.

Film fans of all creeds, from blockbuster fans to art house critics, will be familiar with BBC 5 Live’s flagship film programme with film critic Mark Kermode and broadcasting virtuoso Simon Mayo.

Today they brought the show to Edinburgh for a special EIFF edition at Cineworld Fountainbridge’s Screen 7.

Over 500 were in attendance after a random draw for tickets via the BBC. Willing audience participants got to take part too as they picked out some budding critics to review the week’s Top 10 films.

On to the guests, CEO Ken Hay gave some of his personal Festival highlights which include two documentaries: Stephen Finnigan’s Hawking, a documentary on the life of the great scientist and Jeanie Finlay’s much anticipated The Great Hip Hop Hoax. The Family Gala, Monsters University, also got a special mention, along with EIFF Patron Mark Cousins’s A Story of Children and Film.

Robert Carlyle also appeared on air ahead of his In Person event taking place this evening. While Mayo kept his fear of the great man at bay, Carlyle chatted with our hosts to discuss filmmaking versus TV in this Golden Era of the latter form. They even fit in a quick clip of the Scottish actor as Begbie in Trainspotting – though, of course, with the rude language (approximately 70% by this blogger’s count) bleeped out.

Kermode gave a couple of quick reviews on the week’s releases, including the partly locally-shot World War Z starring Brad Pitt and new release Like Someone in Love directed by Abbas Kiarostami.

Last but not least, Billie Jean King graced the stage to discuss The Battle of the Sexes: a new documentary and the story behind her great match against Bobby Riggs. She maintained that the match had nothing to do with athleticism; rather, the game took on a political motive as part of her activism for equality. “95% of the media is controlled by men,” she said, and being part of that male arena is what got people interested. A great advocate for women’s rights, “tennis became my platform for my real goals,“ she explained.

King also spoke about her love of biographies and her favourite film It's a Wonderful Life. She also dished out some wisdom, reminding us that, “You never know how someone’s going to touch your life or how you’ll touch theirs.” A delightful note on which to end the day’s festivities.

But the day isn’t over yet – here at EIFF this evening you can still grab tickets for The Battle of the Sexes, Ken Hay’s highlights, and a whole host more films. Check out the listings and see what takes your fancy.

We've also put together a handy list of this weekend's features in today's Don't Miss! blog.

You can also catch up on the Wittertainment podcast via Radio 5 Live.

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Nicola is a writer & EIFF Web Editor.

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