Next week the Edinburgh International Film Festival rolls into town for their 68th year (bloody hell), showing 122 new features from 47 countries, and 34 features over their retrospective and country focus strands. They've got 10 premieres each day, awards, fancy parties, hero hangouts, outdoor screenings, workshops AND special events, so there's quite a fair bit to pack into your day.
To make it easier for you, I've picked out some films that have caught my eye. I don't think you can beat the opportunity to watch a film with the cast and crew, and support independent filmmakers, so if you're anywhere near Edinburgh, get out there and visit the Film Fest!
Koo! Kin-dza-dza: Superb traditional animation merges The Wizard of Oz with Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Two unlikely bedfellows, a classical cellist and an aspiring DJ, find
themselves transported from Moscow to the alien world of Pluke, where
they navigate a dystopian alien culture in a quest to return home.
McLaren Award for Best British Animation: 2014 not only marks the centenary of legendary UK born animator Norman
McLaren, but the year in which the Edinburgh International Film Festival
recognises the 25th recipient of the McLaren Award for Best
British Animation; the oldest established award of its kind. 11 short films compete in this screening.
Wolfy, the Incredible Secret (Loulou, l'incroyable secret): Young wolf Loulou and his rabbit best friend Tom set off on an adventure
to find out what happened to Loulou’s mother. But in Wolfenberg, the
old wolf prince is hosting the Carnivore Games and doesn't want a
kind-hearted young wolf or (heaven forbid) a rabbit upsetting
proceedings. Can Loulou find his mother, remain true to his friend and
work out the big secret about his identity?
A Dangerous Game: This follow-up to the award-winning You've Been Trumped takes
up where the previous film left off with the saga of American
billionaire property developer Donald Trump's incursion into Scotland.
Filmmaker Anthony Baxter journeys to Croatia and the United States to
probe the disastrous environmental effects of the development of luxury
golf courses. Then he returns to Scotland to confront Trump (oooh).
#ChicagoGirl – The Social Network Takes On a Dictator: The story of a 19-year-old student who leads the marches in Syria from her bedroom, #chicagoGirl
documents a new kind of revolution not just taking place in the
streets. Through testimonial footage and homemade YouTube videos, we
learn what it's really like for rebels on the ground and the people
trying to help them. A raw and often inspiring look at how the Facebook
generation is making a political impact on a global scale.
Doc of the Dead: A sprightly zombie walk through the world of the undead. Alexandre O Philippe, director of The People vs. George Lucas and The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus,
explores the history of the zombie in popular culture with clips galore
and an impressive line-up of interviewees (including Simon Pegg, Bruce
Campbell and, of course, George A Romero), and asks for tips from the
experts on how to survive a zombie outbreak.
Sci-fi & thriller
Coherence: A dinner party is disrupted by a power failure. Initially attributing it
to unusual occurrences caused by a comet passing close to Earth, the
guests eventually realise that something is terribly wrong. As the real
problem becomes apparent, the psychological horror of their situation
reaches terrifying heights.
The Anomaly: A traumatised ex-soldier wakes up in the back of a moving
van with a young boy held captive beside him. So begins a stylish game
of cat-and-mouse played out against a futuristic backdrop where mind
control is employed alongside cutting edge bio-technology in the fight
between good and evil.
Snowpiercer: In the near future, attempts to find a technological fix for global
warming have backfired disastrously. Life is extinct, except for the
people and the ecosystem aboard a train that endlessly circles the
ice-shrouded globe. Onboard, the lower class are relegated to the
crowded back cars whilst the ruling class enjoy lives of luxury in the
front - until two brave workers lead a revolution and discover the
terrible secrets of Snowpiercer...
Achtung! Maybe! Neu! Reekie! is a fusion of spoken word, music, animation and film
that has taken Scotland by storm. Curators Michael Pedersen and Kevin
Williamson present a special German-themed Neu! Reekie! of Weimar
Republic animation and movies, accompanied by live music (expect
Krautrock inspired anthems and swirling synths), plus live performance.
I Believe in Unicorns: Davina is an imaginative teenage girl who escapes from the realities of
caring for her disabled mother into a fairy-tale-inspired fantasy life.
She looks for another kind of escape in a new relationship with the
charming denizen of a grungy rock-club underworld. Aware he has a
volatile side from which even unicorns may fail to save her, Davina
still chooses to take off with him on a journey of no certain
Life After Beth: Broken-hearted after the death of his girlfriend Beth, Zach is initially
delighted to be given another chance when she returns from the dead.
However, as we all know, relationships with zombies are never
straightforward, and very soon Zach and the rest of the townsfolk are
fighting for their lives.
And er, I'm sorry to be one of those people, but I just finished
Breaking Bad (yes, yes, I know I am pretty late to the party), and I'm a
bit obsessed with Aaron Paul. So let's just gaze upon his lovely face,
and hope he makes an appearance at Hellion's international premiere.
Hellion: A family is brought to the brink of separation when single father Hollis
loses control of his increasingly delinquent son Jacob.
Struggling to cope with the untimely loss of his wife and unwilling to
face the fact that his family could fall apart forever, Hollis is forced
to face reality when Jacob's unruly behaviour attracts the attention of
EIFF runs from 18th - 29th June, and you can book tickets at www.edfilmfest.org.uk or at the Filmhouse, Cineworld, or Festival Theatre. Enjoy!