Re-writing History: Writer-Director Francis Lee on unsung queer romance
23 February 2021
A few years have passed since Francis Lee came to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, but he...
As a life-long geek, film enthusiast and recent amateur physicist (I’m taking night classes at the University of Edinburgh), this documentary about the Voyager called to me as soon as I heard whispers of it in the office. You learn to not get too attached to films before they are confirmed as so many drop out for various reasons, but I had my heart set on this film long ago. Much like the Voyager itself, I’m delighted it made it this far!
As always, I am very excited about the Black Box section, and will catch as many screenings as my schedule allows! Together, these programmes form a journey through the outer-limits of contemporary experimental practice- this is work drawn from across the globe, films that are by turns contemplative, thrilling, challenging, and oftentimes very beautiful. The programmes sparkle with creativity and innovation, and one can always expect to see works that push the boundaries of both photochemical film, and video. Plus, as a large proportion of work is shot and projected from 16mm or 35mm film prints, the presentation is stunning!
Short Film Programmer
Some of the best short documentaries of the year come through this talent initiative and it's normally a sell-out, so act quick if you want to see some incredible short films. I'm possibly a little biased as I've been through the initiative myself as a filmmaker in 2013/14, but I can guarantee you won't be disappointed. I see hundreds of short docs each year, only a handful come close in terms of the quality and originality of those that come from Scottish Documentary Institute's Bridging the Gap programme. Can't recommend enough. If you can't make it, then definitely try to catch a screening of feature documentary Donkeyote. Again, you won't be disappointed.
EIFF Feature Documentary Submission Viewer
Print Traffic Coordinator
I’m really looking forward to our Focus on Poland this year, and in particular Kuba Czekaj’s The Erlprince. It looks like the kind of bold and imaginative filmmaking that makes the Festival tick. Goethe meets Donnie Darko – count me in!
At EIFF we have long championed British Animation through the McLaren Award, and welcoming 'Masters of Animation' to the filmhouse in celebration of their work. Behind the scenes we've long discussed screening the work of the late Bob Godfrey, of Rhubarb (& Custard) fame, due to a recent restoration of his Academy Award winning Great which cheekily celebrates the work of Victorian civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The context was handed to us on a plate when Britain voted to leave the European Union during our previous edition. Compiling this collection of satirical and cynical short films has been a cathartic experience, and stands as testament to the power of animation to stir the passion in the soul.
I’m super-excited to see Tom of Finland. Dome Karukoski is a talented director and I’m intrigued to see his portrayal of the life of seminal gay icon, Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland. It’s rare to see biopics of Finnish people in an international context so this film is definitely on my must-see list! Having moved from Helsinki to Edinburgh 10 years ago, I’m always eager to see Finnish films on the big screen, and EIFF continually supports the best new work coming out of Nordic countries.
Talent Development Coordinator
Obviously, I'm looking forward to seeing all the Black Box films beautifully projected in Filmhouse 3! Beyond that, though, I'm really excited about this year's 'The Future is History' retrospective. There are so many amazing classics in that strand that deserve revisiting – Born in Flames, The Connection, Withnail and I, Videodrome, Brazil, Time Bandits, The Terminator, Escape from New York. They all take fascinating and uncompromising approaches to key themes such as feminism, masculinity, marginality, the rise of technology, the force of mass media, and the dehumanizing effects of social control of different kinds. Entertainment meets intellectual engagement. I can’t wait!
As a huge Fatih Akin fan (definitely check out Head-On and The Edge of Heaven if you haven’t seen anything by him before) I am intrigued to see this film which ventures into new territory and will hopefully draw new, younger audiences to his work. Adapted from a best-selling Young Adult novel, Goodbye Berlin is a comedy featuring two teen protagonists who embark on a road trip across Germany. Despite the light-hearted tone, this looks like it will explore themes that have been brought up in Akin’s previous work, such as the immigrant experience in modern Germany and individuals who are finding their place in the world.
Education & Learning Coordinator
I’m looking forward to My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea: The strange and quirky storyline combined with fun animation makes me think it’ll be a fun film to watch. Plus it has Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, and Maya Rudolph!
Amongst others, one film I’m particularly looking forward to this year is Pecking Order, a ‘flighty and funny flockumentary’ about New Zealand chicken breeders competing for the top prize at the 2015 National Poultry Show. I’m from a farming background and grew up attending livestock competitions, and whilst the animals were always the focus, groomed and coiffed to within an inch of their lives, it was often their fiercely ambitious owners who made the most impact. Think Best in Show with beaks.
Marketing Coordinator EIFF
Other than the great events lined up in this year’s Youth Hub, there are a couple of things in the programme that I can’t wait for. Firstly, I’m looking forward to Dash Shaw’s hand drawn animation My Entire High School is Sinking Into the Sea – it looks original, weird and very funny with some top voice talent (Maya Rudolph! Susan Sarandon! Lena Dunham!). Secondly, I’m excited to see classic Sci-Fi on the big screen with our The Future Is History strand. In particular, I can’t wait to re-watch Terry Gilliam’s highly influential Brazil and to catch some socially switched on future visions with Born in Flames and The Brother from Another Planet.
EIFF Student Engagement Coordinator
Super humans! Mad scientists! Moscow under siege! Man-bears?! Yeah, the world’s full of superhero movies, but I’ve never seen a Russian sci-fi blockbuster before, and Guardians looks like an excellent, over-the-top foray into Eastern European entertainment. I think festivals are a great opportunity to go see films that might not quite be your usual style – and EIFF’s Night Moves is a super way to watch the weird and the wonderful. If USSR agents-turned-superheroes aren’t your thing (why not?), Night Moves has everything from killer teens to comic vampires, Highland horrors and Japanese romps. Bring it on!
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