Friday 13 June 2014

What to see at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

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...

Something Indie

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 destination.

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.

Aaron Paul

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 social services. 

EIFF runs from 18th - 29th June, and you can book tickets at or at the Filmhouse, Cineworld, or Festival Theatre. Enjoy!

1 comment :

  1. I went to the festival a good few years ago now and saw a great wee film called The Puffy Chair. I think it'll be a while before I can go again, but I'm glad to see the festival is still going strong.


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