From the Red Carpet

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The 68th edition of Edinburgh International Film Festival kicked off last night with the World Premiere of Hyena. We met a few familiar faces on the Red carpet to get their thoughts.

Wednesday night's festivities were the first chance to see our honoured Guests of the Fest out and about on the streets of Edinburgh.

Guests in attendance included cast and crew of Hyena, from director Gerard Johnson to stars Peter Ferdinando, Stephen Graham, and Elisa Lasowski.

America Ferrera and her husband, fellow filmmaker Ryan Piers Williams also walked the Red Carpet before their own tonight for X/Y (19 & 20 June).

More familiar visitors included actor-director Noel Clarke (We Are Monster, The Anomaly), director Mark Cousins (Life May Be), many of our Awards jurors, and familiar faces like Kevin Guthrie, Alex Kapranos, Gary Lewis, Martin Compston and Paul Laverty.

We caught up with Gerard Johnson, director of Hyena. He said, "I'm very excited for our World Premiere, it's amazing. And look at all this! It's fantastic."

Johnson told us that the UK is great at the TV cop drama, but his influences came from elsewhere. "I was looking more towards French cinema and French Policiers, which I've grown up on, and I wanted to try and create something that had more of a European feel, in London."

"This is as European as any other film festival in Europe – so it's nice for it to open on home soil. Especially as Tony, my first feature, opened here. It's almost like coming home."

Hyena is also screening in competition for the Michael Powell Award. "I'm a big Michael Powell fan so I'm very excited about that. It's means something just to be nominated."

The Festival will feature many more World Premieres – 11 to be precise – among the programme's 156 features from 47 countries. These films include The Guvnors, Hide and Seek and We Are Monster.

Along with more of the cast and crew, our own Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara headed along the media line giving recommendations left, right and centre.

We asked him which films he would recommend for those who loved Hyena.

"If you like Hyena – and there are lots of reasons why you should like Hyena – I would recommend two parts of our Festival. One is the retrospective of Dominik Graf, a German filmmaker who is a specialist in high-tension crime thriller films. Some of his amazing, riveting genre work is to be found here."

"Of course I would also recommend the Wicked and Wild strand which includes a number of horror films, films that aren't so much horror as weird or creepy. So I think people who get off on Hyena may well be able to tap into that vibe as well."

And for those who are looking for something a little bit different this Festival?

"I would certainly recommend A House in Berlin, it's a very human, very serene retelling of a Scottish woman who inherits a house in Berlin. It's a beautiful film.

"I would also recommend Ana Arabia by Amos Gitai. It's an astonishing piece of filmmaking done in one take which explores a community in Jaffa, Israel. It's about the exploration of one woman's life and of history."

"Final Whistle by Niki Karimi is an astonishing piece of political cinema from Iran. It's about patriarchy, the legal system, injustice, and trying to fight it. It's a solid film."


Look out for more coverage from Opening Night, coming soon from EIFFtv!

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