This year we're delighted to unveil a rich selection of Scottish films, filmmakers and acting talent as part of the 2017 Festival programme. Showcasing features, shorts, documentaries, animations and exclusive events, this year’s programme features some of the very best filmmaking and talent from across the country.
While the opening and closing films at this year’s festival capture different portraits of life in Northern England, from romantic drama God's Own Country to Morrissey portrait, England Is Mine, a wealth of the Festival’s programme remains devoted to Scottish-linked material.
EIFF Artistic Director Mark Adams said: “Scottish talent has always been at the heart of the festival, and I am thrilled to once again illuminate the great work that currently exists within the country. The quality, variety and breadth of this year’s programme is a true testament to the high-level of craftsmanship in past and present Scottish film”.
Natalie Usher, Director, Screen at Creative Scotland said: “It’s great to see EIFF giving a high-profile platform to Scotland’s home grown filmmaking talent across features, short films, documentaries and animation. As one of the key cultural events in Scotland, EIFF’s recognition and celebration of Scottish talent in its 2017 programme is very welcome, helping to showcase the strength and depth of Scottish film.”
EIFF audiences can look forward to Teenage Superstars, a vibrant music documentary that looks at the story of the hugely successful pre-Britpop Scottish music scene. The film is a follow-up to 2015 EIFF Audience Award winner Big Gold Dream and is directed by Scottish filmmaker Grant McPhee. Another music documentary, The Groove Is Not Trivial, following world-renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser will also feature, along with Scottish-produced documentaries Donkeyote (the latest feature from the Scottish Documentary Institute) and Skyline Productions' latest film about artist Andy Goldsworthy, Leaning Into The Wind.
The Festival programme will showcase a host of features filmed and set in Scotland, such as Waterboys, which is largely set in Edinburgh, as well as Edie and The Dark Mile. Edie is set against the beautiful backdrop of Suilven Mountain and stars Scottish actor Kevin Guthrie (Sunshine on Leith, Dunkirk), while The Dark Mile is a psychological thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, which finds a couple’s trip on a canal boat descend into a hellish ordeal that plays out like Deliverance meets Rosemary’s Baby.
An 80th anniversary screening of The Edge of the World, Michael Powell’s first major feature, will be presented in the University of Edinburgh's remarkable FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility wave tank. During the event, the tank will mimic the cinematic seascapes depicted in this tale of the evacuation of a remote island community off the Scottish coast. Also screening is Oliver Pike’s short documentary St Kilda, its People and Birds from 1908, with a new score by Alex Menzies and lighting by Florence To. Presented by New Media Scotland, this event is part of the British Film Institute’s Britain on Film season.
Audiences can look forward to a preview of the hit Gaelic TV show Bannan, filmed on the beautiful island of Skye. The BBC Alba show follows a young woman returning to the island she had left when she was 18, and gently blends tones of soap opera, family drama and murder mystery. The Festival will allow audiences to catch the first three episodes of the fourth series, followed by a Q&A.
Scottish director Peter Mackie Burns makes his feature debut with Daphne, which stars Emily Beecham (Hail Caesar, Into the Badlands) and Geraldine James (Sherlock Holmes, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), while Scottish actress Freya Mavor (Sunshine On Leith, Skins) stars in the world premiere of comedy-drama Modern Life Is Rubbish.
Filmmaker Justin Edgar also returns to EIFF with The Marker, starring veteran Scottish actor John Hannah. Edgar’s previous film, We Are the Freaks, premiered at EIFF in 2014 and was later released by Metrodome. Edgar was also behind last year’s feature documentary Notes On Blindness, which won Best Documentary at the 2016 British Independent Film Awards and was nominated in several categories at this year’s BAFTAS. The festival will also present The Last Photograph, a powerful and moving drama revolving around the Lockerbie disaster, directed by and starring Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Aviator) and EIFF favourite Bong Joon Ho’s latest offering Okja, starring EIFF honorary patron Tilda Swinton, will also screen.
The dual Scottish talents of author Ian Rankin and director John McKay can also be seen at a showing of Reichenbach Falls, directed by McKay (whose short film 1745 will also screen), written by James Mavor and based on Rankin’s novel of the same name. Meanwhile, the work of Scottish acting legends Sean Connery and Robbie Coltrane will be showcased, with Connery appearing in Outland and Time Bandits and Coltrane in Mona Lisa, Scrubbers and Glasgow-set Death Watch.
There are also numerous Scottish shorts for audience members to enjoy, including Natalie, which stars Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones, Prometheus), and the Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) produced No Song to Sing. Furthermore, there are shorts from the Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN), which is supported by Creative Scotland, the BFI and Creative Skillset. SFTN forms the Scottish element of the BFI NET.WORK, designed to discover, nurture and advance new and emerging filmmaking talent from across the UK. The shorts this year include drama Creeling, period drama 1745, psychological drama Close to the Bone, animations Nothing to Declare and Spindrift, and fantasy The Inescapable Arrival Of Lazlo Petushki.
In memory of the late Jonathan Demme, EIFF will also present special screenings of his seminal music documentary Stop Making Sense. The first screening will take place in the courtyard at Summerhall on Friday 23 June, as part of a live music event featuring a host of local bands. The second screening will be at Filmhouse on Thursday 29 June, offering a rare chance to see this much loved film on the big screen.
Exciting live events featuring a host of Scottish talent including actors Kate Dickie and Tam Dean Burn, and world renowned jazz musician Tommy Smith with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra have previously been announced.
The 2017 Main Programme will be announced by EIFF Artistic Director, Mark Adams, at Filmhouse on Wednesday 31 May. Tickets go on sale to Filmhouse members on Wednesday 31 May at 12pm and on sale to the public on Friday 2 June at 10am.