EIFF conjures up The Illusionist for Opening Gala

Image for EIFF conjures up The Illusionist for Opening Gala

We're delighted to announce that Sylvain Chomet’s magical animated feature film The Illusionist will be the Opening Gala at this year’s Festival.

The Illusionist will open the 2010 edition of the world's longest continually running film festival with a spectacular red carpet premiere on Wednesday 16 June.

The film is directed, adapted and designed by Academy Award® nominee Sylvain Chomet, the writer and director of Belleville Rendezvous / The Triplets of Belleville, from a script by comedy genius and French cinema legend Jacques Tati. A delightful fairy-tale depiction of Scotland, it was described by Variety as a 'love-letter to Edinburgh'.

EIFF Artistic Director, Hannah McGill, is delighted to secure The Illusionist for the Opening Gala.

“The landscapes of Scotland and Edinburgh have never looked more beautiful than they do in The Illusionist. This is a truly spellbinding work of art by a unique talent who we are delighted to welcome back to the Festival.

"We are looking forward to a terrific opening night that will draw the eyes of the world and showcase Scotland as the perfect stage for international cultural events.”

To honour the film, the UK premiere will take place at the spectacular Festival Theatre on Wednesday 16 June, the inaugural premiere at the recently announced new venue – Scotland’s largest cinema.

Sylvain Chomet will attend, heralding his return to the Festival: his visit in 2003 inspired both his relocation to Edinburgh and the setting for The Illusionist.

"Things have come full circle for me. I first discovered Edinburgh during a visit in 2003 when my film The Triplets of Belleville had its UK premiere at the film festival," says the director.

"During my time living in Scotland I travelled widely around the country by boat and by train, and drew inspiration from the breathtaking landscape. Over the past five years this inspiration has been painstakingly poured back into the picture and the soundtrack of The Illusionist and I am delighted today that the fruits of our labour will be the opening film of this year's EIFF."

The film is a story about two paths that cross. The first belongs to an outdated, ageing magician, who travels to Edinburgh from Paris via Glasgow and the Western Isles in search of a venue to perform his act. The second belongs to Alice, a young Scottish girl whose capacity for childish wonder remains intact. Their destinies will collide and send them on a voyage of discovery that nothing – not even magic or the power of illusion – can stop.

The Opening Gala’s events will include a red carpet extravaganza dedicated to the art of illusion and entertainment, against the magnificent façade of the Festival Theatre.

The full EIFF programme will be announced on 1 June and tickets go on sale at midday on 3 June.


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  • ingrid tait Wednesday 19th May, 2010 / 10:05 GMT

    i soooo want to see this!!
  • Theresa Clark Friday 21st May, 2010 / 14:56 GMT

    I can't wait to see this film

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