An invitation to dance from Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins

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EIFF Patron Tilda Swinton and filmmaker Mark Cousins want you to join them in 8½ Foundation’s latest venture at the Festival, and it will certainly help if you have happy feet!

Known for their inventive ideas, such as creating the Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams and hauling 37 tonnes of cinema across the Highlands for the love of film, 8½ Foundation have a new plan for their launch at EIFF.

We have this personal message from Mark and Tilda ...

Dear Friends, 

Brace yourselves, we’ve had a new idea!

As you know the Ballerina Ballroom was 8½ days in August 2008 of willy-nilly cinephilia, bike racing across the moon in Nairnia. Then in Beijing in March 2009, in the Scottish Cinema of Dreams, we created a forest in the China National Archive, made it snow feathers, and projected Lynne Ramsay and Bill Douglas films through the snow over 8½ days.

Then, in A Pilgrimage, channelling Cliff Richard and Una Stubbs, we somehow nicked ideas from road movies and religion to haul the Screen Machine past lochs and burns, over 8½ days…

Our next kids party-colloquy will be just 4 minutes long!

On Saturday 26 June 2010 at 10:45, come rain or shine, we’re gonna meet at Festival Square, Lothian Road, Edinburgh. At exactly 11:00, music will start – The Avalon Boy’s ditty “At the Ball”. It’s a song from Laurel and Hardy’s funniest film Way Out West. In the film, Stan and Ollie do a wee dance, one of the most charming, amusing musical numbers in cinema history.

In tribute to Stan and Ollie, and to dancing in public and in unabashed celebration of doing something as a group and looking like dafties…when the music starts, we will put down our newspapers and do the Laurel and Hardy dance…

We need you to join us. Especially if you are

• 8½ years old
• or 85
• or on the number 16 bus – STOP THE BUS!
• or Alex Salmond
• or an EIFF movie-goer
• or bevvied
• or you don’t usually dance in public



You’ll find the dance in the Downloads sections at


We’re doing it to launch our new 8 1/2 Foundation.

We’ve talked about this foundation before but on Saturday 26 June, we will raise the velvet curtain. The dance is the first part, then at 13:15, there will be a screening in Filmhouse 1.

We will talk about our foundation, reveal our brilliant team, announce some of our films, our locations, and answer questions. Then we’ll show one of the loveliest films ever made, by Jafar Panahi, suitable for all ages and not to be missed.

The 8½ Foundation has been massively supported by the National Lottery Inspiring Communities Fund through the Scottish Arts Council. They liked our thoughts and have helped make them happen. We’re delighted.

Thanks for your time, pals. Please learn the dance and buy a ticket for the launch.

Mark and Tilda x

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  • Anne Garven Tuesday 15th June, 2010 / 13:21 GMT

    And if the launch is sold out why not carry on dancing down to East Market Street for the start of Edinburgh's Gay Pride March, Pride Scotia 2010? Assemble 12.30, speeches 1.00 pm, march moves off 1.30 pm. Details

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