1. Amélie 

Our top pick from EIFF 2001 is the delicious, whimsical classic, Amélie.  We love its stylish cinematography, lush soundtrack and quirky performances.  Catch it if you can!

Amélie will be screening outdoors on the 22nd of August, 8PM at St Andrew Square, Edinburgh. 

Check out our weekender schedule here for more info



Watch the Amélie (2001)  trailer here...

2. Morvern Callar  

Lynne Ramsay + Samantha Morton = must see movie and our fave festival film from 2002. Ramsay already asserting her strong visual style in a sometimes bewildering strange and serene tale of love and loss. 

  Morvern callar

Watch the Morvern Callar (2002) trailer here...



3. Les Diaboliques   

“One of the most terrifying films ever made.”  This French psychological horror played in the EIFF Retrospective in 2003.  It filled us with dread and thrilled us with jump scares. Are you brave enough to join us? 

Watch Les Diaboliques along with the Youth Team on our Instagram watch party on the 22nd of August, 6PM at @eiffyouth Instagram. 

Check out our weekender schedule here for more info.


les diaboliques

Watch the les diaboliques (1955) trailer here...



4. Dear Frankie  

Gerard Butler displays his acting chops in this warm-hearted tale from first time director Shona Auerbach.  The Scottish setting was rightly celebrated at EIFF 2004 and we think you’ll love to see it now in 2021. 


Dear Frankie  
Watch the Dear Frankie (2004) trailer here...



5. Grizzly Man 

No great film list is complete without a film by Werner  Herzog.  This documentary from 2005 is one of his best – and centres on the unforgettable character of naturalist Timothy Treadwell, who was killed by one of the bears he lived with in the remote Alaskan wilderness. 


grizzly man

Watch the Grizzly Man (2005) trailer here...



6. An Inconvenient Truth  

This Oscar winning film is one of the most successful documentaries ever made.  Audiences at EIFF in 2006 were inspired by Al Gore as he presented the simple facts about global warming.  Watching it now, 15 years later, is a sobering prospect. Have we squandered these years? Essential viewing in the lead up to COP26. 


  inconvenient truth

Watch An Inconvenient Truth (2006) trailer here...



7. Once  

The famous film critic Roger Ebert said this about our pick from 2007 – “Once” was shot for next to nothing in 17 days, doesn't even give names to its characters, is mostly music with not a lot of dialogue, and is magical from beginning to end”.  We absolutely agree.  Do yourself a favour and make sure you watch this under- rated gem. 


Watch the Once (2007) trailer here...



8. The Wave  

We think this is an important film that shines a light on the rise of the Right across Europe. Based on a real life high school experiment, where students were taught fascist principles, and their repercussions, this German film is politically and historically poignant and our recommendation from 2008. 


the wave

Watch the Wave (2008) trailer here...



9. The Hurt Locker 

Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director for this visceral story of an army bomb disposal team in Iraq.  Jeremy Renner excels as the gung-ho commanding officer with a death wish. Utterly unmissable. 


  hurt locker

Watch the Hurt Locker (2009) trailer here...



10. Winters Bone 

Jennifer Lawrence’s star making performance is our top pick from EIFF 2010. Directed by Debra Granik, this bleak, beautiful coming of age tale seeps inside you and doesn’t leave.   


winters bone

Watch the Winters Bone  (2010) trailer here...



11. Bob Marley - The Making of a Legend  

Based on footage that was lost for more than thirty years, Esther Anderson takes us on a journey to Jamaica to meet Marley before he was famous.  We loved the intimate access she gained to the supergroup – from the Wailers’ first rehearsal, to early performances of their classic tracks. 



Watch the Bob Marley - The Making of a Legend (2011) trailer here...



12. Brave  

The rolling Scottish Highlands.  That emotional mother-daughter plot. Merida’s flaming, curly hair. Brave blew everyone away at EIFF in 2012. It’s still a banger today and, along with Up, our favourite Pixar film. 


brave  Watch Disney Pixar's Brave (2012) trailer here...



13. Frances Ha  

Noah Baumbach directs Greta Gerwig in this well-loved indie. Part homage to the French New Wave, it follows aspiring, 27-year-old dancer Frances Handley as she tries to build a “grown-up” life in New York. Beautiful and beguiling - it’s our pick for the best of the fest from 2013.  


Frances Ha

Watch the Frances Ha (2013) trailer here...  



14. Snowpiercer  

We absolutely loved this action thriller from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho.  It’s got the supreme hat trick of a strong eco message, metaphorical comment on class struggle, and an absolutely maniacal star turn from Tilda Swinton as one of the baddies. Cinematic bliss. 


snow piercer

Watch the Snowpiercer (2014) trailer here...



15. Amy  

Ten years on from her untimely death, this is the perfect chance to watch Asif Kapadia’s remarkable doc about Amy Winehouse.  Stitched together expertly from archive, and eschewing narration, Kapadia reveals the deeply sad but tender story of this troubled star.  



Watch the Amy (2015) trailer here...



 16. Hunt for the Wilderpeople  

This won EIFF’s Audience Award back in 2016 – and we can see why. This charming adventure comedy combines all the best elements of a Taika Waititi film. The film is quirky, entertaining and full of heart. 

Come along to Film Fest in the City to watch this crowd pleaser! Screening outdoors on Sat 21st of August, 5PM at St Andrew Square, Edinburgh. 

Check out our weekender schedule here for more info.


hunt for the wilder-people

Watch the Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) trailer here...  



17. Gods Own Country  

Opening the festival in 2017 to critical acclaim, this Yorkshire-set story about a relationship between a farmer and an immigrant worker is one of the best British films of recent years.  First time director Francis Lee gets authentic, earthy lead performances from Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu and signals his arrival as a major new talent. 


gods own country  Watch the Gods Own Country (2017) trailer here...



18. Hearts Beat Loud  

Record lovers – this one is for you! A feel-good movie featuring a sweet father-daughter relationship and great soundtrack, we can’t recommend this film enough. Hearts Beat Loud will leave you with a smile on your face and a desire to run to your favourite record shop! We’ll be sharing our thoughts on the film on Instagram for our watch-along party.

Join us in watching Hearts Beat Loud [12A] live on the @eiffyouth Instagram on Sat 21st August at 8PM. 

Check out our weekender schedule here for more info.


hearts beat loud

Watch the Hearts Beat Loud (2018) trailer here...



19. The Biggest Little Farm 

 Billed as “The Good Life – LA style”, this gorgeous documentary follows a couple who leave LA behind to farm a large plot of dusty soil and bring it back to life, using traditional, environmentally friendly methods. Follow them for 10 years and witness the inevitable highs and lows, and marvel at their ambition and resilience. 


the biggest little farm  Watch The Biggest Little Farm (2019) trailer here...



20. Little Girl  

We loved this film so much, admiring the skill of celebrated documentary maker Sebastien Lifshitz, as he brings into gentle focus the life of seven-year-old Sasha and her family. Sasha was born male, but she’s known at least since she was four that she’s really a girl. Revealing and emotional, the film challenges prejudice by bearing simple witness. Powerful stuff and without question our pick from 2020. 


little girl

Watch the Little Girl (2020) trailer here...



21. Stop-Zemlia 

Our top pick from this year’s programme, this 2021 release is an authentic and engaging insight into the lives of a group of young Ukrainians as they navigate the final days of school. Deserved winner of the Crystal Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. Not to be missed now it’s in Edinburgh! 

Stop-Zemlia [12A] will be screening on Sunday 22nd Aug at 15:45 (Filmhouse 2) & on Tuesday 24th Aug at 18:30 (Filmhouse 3). Tickets £10.00 (£8.00 concs) / £5.00 under-25s. 

Stop-Zemlia will also be available on Filmhouse at Home for 72hrs after the first public screening.


stop Zemlia

Watch the Stop-Zemlia (2021) trailer here...


21 21 21 Playlist

 To mark the 21st year of the 21st century, the EIFF Youth team have picked their favourite 21 soundtrack songs of the century. This ultimate playlist is part of our EIFF Youth Weekender project. Tune in with us here... 🍿 👀