Edinburgh International Film Festival Unveils 2015 Programme

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New Artistic Director Mark Adams announces programme details for the 69th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

The Festival in figures

This year the Festival runs from 17 to 28 June, and will showcase 164 features from 36 countries, including:

  • 24 World Premieres
  • 8 International Premieres
  • 16 European Premieres
  • 84 UK Premieres
  • 2 Scottish Premieres.

The Festival boasts 134 new features, with highlights including:

  • The UK premiere of Asif Kapadia’s striking documentary AMY, about the life of music legend Amy Winehouse.
  • The latest Disney-Pixar animated sensation INSIDE OUT, screening as the Festival’s Family Gala.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as a tormented father tending his zombie daughter in MAGGIE.

In-Person events

At this year’s EIFF we are presenting a series of In-Person events, which will see illustrious names from the world of film interviewed live on stage, including:

  • Ewan McGregor, who will attend with his new film LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT.
  • Jane Seymour.
  • Malcolm McDowell.
  • Hong-Kong director Johnnie To.
  • EIFF Honorary Patron Seamus McGarvey who returns with his cinematography ‘In Conversation’ series with two-time Academy Award® winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler.

A special In-Person talk celebrates the 60th birthday of one of Britain’s eminent animators, Barry Purves.

Multi-talented musician, writer and comedian, Neil Innes will present 'A Half of Innes', a live In-conversation event with musical accompaniment.

Mark Adams, EIFF Artistic Director:

“We are delighted to be presenting such a thrilling, fun, challenging, provocative, exciting and balanced programme. There really is something for everyone and we hope that filmgoers will get a lot of pleasure out of this year’s Festival.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs:

“The Edinburgh International Film Festival has produced another excellent programme in 2015, showcasing Scottish talent alongside some of the best of world cinema. The film festival attracts visitors to Edinburgh and Scotland, as well as giving local residents the opportunity to see wonderfully diverse and creative films on their doorstep."

British films

British films in competition for the Michael Powell Award (for Best British Feature Film and Best Performance in a British Feature Film) include 10 World Premieres and 3 UK Premieres. Among the contenders are:

  • Andrew Haigh’s beautiful portrait of a fractured relationship, 45 YEARS, with award-winning performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay.
  • Relationship comedy BLACK MOUNTAIN POETS from Jamie Adams which was shot in just five days on the Black Mountains of Wales.
  • Joseph Bull and Luke Seomore’s BLOOD CELLS about a farmer’s son and his nomadic lifestyle which he is forced to leave behind.
  • The World Premiere of clever and complex sci-fi thriller BRAND NEW-U from acclaimed documentary-maker Simon Pummell
  • Jake Gavin’s HECTOR starring Peter Mullan as an affable homeless man.
  • BAFTA-Scotland award-winner Colin Kennedy’s directorial debut feature SWUNG.
  • THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON, EIFF Honorary Patron Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut and the Festival’s Opening Gala.
  • IONA, Scott Graham’s striking family drama and the Closing Night Gala are also in contention for the Michael Powell Award.

The International Feature Film Competition

This competition highlights filmmaking from around the world that is imaginative, innovative and deserving of wider recognition. This selection includes:

  • World Premiere LEN AND COMPANY from Tim Godsall;
  • Rick Famuyiwa’s coming of age tale for the post hip-hop generation DOPE;
  • Oliver Hirschbiegel’s tense World War II drama 13 MINUTES;
  • I STAY WITH YOU by Artemio Narro, provocatively addressing the notions of power and control;
  • Niki Karimi’s enthralling drama NIGHT SHIFT.


This year’s Festival hosts the Award for Best Documentary Feature Film, as well as introducing ‘Doc of the Day’, with each featured film supported by an associated event.

Documentaries from around the globe include PROPHET’S PREY from Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg, looking at the megalomaniacal leader of a fundamentalist church.

Rounding out the Documentaries, including those announced previously, are David Nicholas Wilkinson’s enthralling journey into the origins of cinema THE FIRST FILM; a delve into the delights of sherry in José Luis López-Linares’ SHERRY & THE MYSTERY OF PALO CORTADO.

Also screening in the Documentary strand are Asif Kapadia’s critically acclaimed AMY and Grant McPhee’s BIG GOLD DREAM: SCOTTISH POST-PUNK AND INFILTRATING THE MAINSTREAM.

Audience award

EIFF will also host the World Premiere of the English-language version of UNDER MILK WOOD from Kevin Allen, a beautiful film adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ iconic classic starring Rhys Ifans and Charlotte Church and a contender for EIFF’s Audience Award.

Other Audience Award nominees include:

  • Jon Watts’ thrilling COP CAR starring Kevin Bacon who plays a sheriff with plenty to hide.
  • Patrick Brice’s smart and funny sex comedy THE OVERNIGHT starring Jason Schwartzman and Taylor Schilling.
  • DESERT DANCER starring Reece Ritchie and Freida Pinto in the truly inspirational story of choreographer Afshin Ghaffarian.

American Dreams

The American Dreams strand looks at the very best new works from American independent cinema and showcases an exciting and varied group of films. Highlights include:

  • Gina Prince-Bythewood’s enthralling musical melodrama BEYOND THE LIGHTS starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver and Danny Glover
  • The UK Premiere of FRANNY starring Dakota Fanning, Theo James and featuring a powerhouse performance from Richard Gere as a billionaire philanthropist.

European Premieres

European Premieres include WELCOME TO ME starring Kristen Wiig who delivers a hilarious and outstanding performance as Alice Klieg, a woman with borderline personality disorder, and Jamie Babbit’s dark comedy about the life of a sex addict in FRESNO.

Additional films (all of which receive their UK Premieres at the Festival)

  • Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen’s comedy-romance MEET ME IN MONTENEGRO in which they also star alongside Rupert Friend.
  • Road trip drama THE ROAD WITHIN starring Robert Sheehan, Dev Patel and Zoe Kravitz.
  • Leslye Headland’s hilarious SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE with Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie and Adam Scott,

Director’s showcase

A selection of new works from some of the world’s finest and established directors includes:

  • David Gordon Green’s tale of loneliness and longing, MANGLEHORN, with Al Pacino and Holly Hunter.
  • Amy Berg’s gritty crime story EVERY SECRET THING starring Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks.
  • Peter Bogdanovich’s old fashioned sex comedy SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY.

Night Moves

A journey into the dark, thrilling and chilling side of cinema is guaranteed to delight horror fans with a selection of edge-of-your-seat cinematic gems.

Feature films include:

  • Multi-award winning director Bruce McDonald’s horrifying tale of evil trick-or-treaters, HELLIONS.
  • Corin Hardy’s brilliantly terrifying debut feature THE HALLOW.
  • Hungarian director Károly Ujj Meszáros’ fantasy film LIZA, THE FOX-FAIRY.
  • The World Premiere of British director Justin Trefgarne’s NARCOPOLIS starring Elliot Cowan as a troubled cop.

Late night screenings

All late night screenings will take place at EIFF HQ in Filmhouse where audiences can mingle with Festival guests, and enjoy late night food, and specially themed events until 3am every evening of the Festival.

The Young and The Wild

This strand is brought to the Festival by EIFF’s intrepid Young Programmers, aged 15-19, who have selected the finest international shorts and features exploring the lives and issues of young people from around the world.

Films include:

  • THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT, a compelling twist on teen fantasy as one girl’s lie leads to a small American town becoming the scene of a modern-day Salem Witch Trial.
  • Inspiring documentary PIRATES OF SALÉ which follows four young performers in Morocco as they join the country’s first professional circus, plus a selection of Shorts.

The FilmFest Junior strand is chosen for young audiences and includes exciting family film PAPER PLANES about a boy who wants to enter the world of junior paper planes championship and LABYRINTHUS, one for the gaming enthusiasts, which tells the story of a boy’s friends who are trapped inside a computer game.

Focus on Mexico

In partnership with the Year of Mexico in the UK, this strand showcases some of the very best in Mexican cinema including new feature films, classics and a short film programme.

Animation strand

As well as the usual focus on British shorts, the Animation strand features new and exciting work, plus some rarely-seen retrospective gems from across the world.

This year’s programme features not just one, but two Masters of Animation; previously announced Barry Purves, and cult favourite Ralph Bakshi, who will appear via Skype after a screening of FRITZ THE CAT and will also present an exclusive work-in-progress preview of his new short LAST DAYS OF CONEY ISLAND.

The McLaren Award for Best New British Animation

Now it its 26th Year, this award continues to charm audiences with two programmes of the best new short animations from the UK.

The Retrospective

As previously announced, the year’s retrospective ‘LITTLE BIG SCREEN’, sponsored by American Airlines, celebrates the very best in 1960s and ‘70s American TV movies.

Classic titles screening in the strand include:

  • Michael Mann’s THE JERICHO MILE.
  • Steven Spielberg’s DUEL.
  • Tobe Hooper’s SALEM’S LOT

The Festival also celebrates the multi-talented Walter Hill, one of the true great directors of the late 1960s and ‘70s in WALTER HILL: THE EARLY YEARS which will see screenings of some of his finest early works including:

  • 48 HRS


A chance to revisit a selection of films with their own distinctive cinematic stamp, 'Classics' offers audiences a rare chance to see some of these cult hits on the big screen, including

  • Mark Christopher’s belated director’s cut release of his cult disco film, 54.
  • A remastered version of Carol Reed’s classic film THE THIRD MAN starring Orson Welles
  • A screening of Joseph Sargent’s THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE.

Cinematic TV

This strand includes a sneak-peek at the second season of DOLL & EM, the hilarious comedy series following real-life friends Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells and acclaimed artist Jake Chapman’s THE MARRIAGE OF REASON & SQUALOR starring the brilliant Rhys Ifans in a stylish and surreal satire of the paperback romance.

Special Events

LIVE LIVE CINEMA: THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS sees four talented performers create an entire live soundtrack to Roger Corman’s popular 1960 B-movie (THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS). Screening at Festival Theatre, it’s guaranteed to be a wild ride!

The Edinburgh Schools Film Competition

Now in its seventh year, this competition invites young people from Edinburgh nursery, primary, secondary and special schools to submit their short films to EIFF whose selected films are then screened during the Festival for all to see.

Back to the Future

EIFF presents a very special 30th anniversary screening of BACK TO THE FUTURE with live accompaniment from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on Saturday 27 June from Festival Theatre. 

Short films

This year EIFF’s Short Film strand will screen 43 new short films from 12 countries. In addition to the animated shorts which screen in the Animation strand, the Festival continues to showcase a thrilling selection of shorts from UK and International filmmakers including the annual presentation of the Scottish Documentary Institute’s newest BRIDGING THE GAP collection.

Opening and Closing films

As previously announced, the 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival opens with the World Premiere of Robert Carlyle’s Glasgow-set THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMSON starring Robert Carlyle, Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone.

The Closing Gala is the World Premiere of Scott Graham’s IONA starring Ruth Negga (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), Douglas Henshall (Shetland), Tom Brooke (The Boat That Rocked), Michelle Duncan (Atonement), Ben Gallagher and Sorcha Groundsell.

Further information can be found in the press release.


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