Edinburgh Film Festival announces star-studded line-up for 2018

Comedy star Rob Brydon, Oscar-winning actress Anna Paquin, BAFTA-winning writer David Hare and rising British actor George Mackay will be taking centre stage at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Mark Adams, artistic director of the festival, is at the helm of the event for the fourth time. Picture: Contributed
Mark Adams, artistic director of the festival, is at the helm of the event for the fourth time. Picture: Contributed

It is hoped Steve Coogan, Samantha Morton, Billie Piper, Natalie Dormer and Ben Elton will be among the other stars gracing the red carpet.

Organisers have confirmed that 72nd annual event will feature new films starring Steve Coogan, Sadie Frost, Margot Robbie, Johnny Vegas and Kylie Minogue, who last appeared on the EIFF red carpet 18 years ago.

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Expected highlights of the event, which will be opened by Scottish Kelly Macdonald with the unveiling of her new mystery drama Puzzle, will include a sneak preview of the new Disney-Pixar film Incredibles, the return to the festival of legendary Scottish film-make Bill Forsyth and a new biopic of tragic pop star Whitney Houston by Oscar-winning Scottish director Kevin Macdonald.

Morton and Piper will be starring together in new British coming-of-age drama Two For Joy, while other-home grown films include Mary Shelley, a new biopic on the author behind the classic horror creation Frankenstein, and new comedy Eaten By Lions, which will see Johnny Vegas star alongside Jack Carroll and Asim Chaudry.

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Kylie Minogue and her former Neighbours co-star Guy Pearce are reunited on screen in new Australian comedy Flammable Children (Swinging Safari).

New Scottish films in the EIFF line-up include Dirt Road to Lafayette, the first film penned by award-winning author James Kelman and new zombie horror musical Anna and the Apocalypse, which was filmed in Port Glasgow.

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Rising Scottish star Sophie Kennedy Clark has two films in the line-up - alongside Sadie Frost and Titanic star Billy Zane in Lucid, in which a shy young man is taught to secure through dream therapy and Obey, about a young boxer trying to adjust to life after leaving foster care.

Travis frontman Fran Healy will be launching a fly-on-the-wall documentary on the pop-rock group while visual artist Rachel Maclean will be unveiling her new “part-comedy, part-horror,” about a group of women trapped in a cruel reality TV-style competition.

However artistic director Mark Adams admitted he was disappointed the festival had missed out on major new Scottish films like Mary Queen of Scots and Robert the Bruce biopic Outlaw King due to their release dates being held back until well after the festival.

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Welsh comic Brydon will be taking centre stage in an in-conversation event about his career to date, including his roles in Gavin and Stacey and The Trip, ahead of heading down the red carpet to close the festival with his new drama Swimming With Men, a hotly-tipped British comedy about a group of middle-aged men who form a synchronised swimming team.

Award-winning playwright and screenwriter David Hare, whose previous films and TV series include Collateral, The Hours and The Reader, and rising British star George MacKay, whose credits include Sunshine on Leith, For Those In Peril and Captain Fantastic, will be appearing at other special “in person events.”

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True Blood stars Anna Paquin and her actor-director husband Stephen Moyer who will be discussing their careers as well as unveiling new film The Parting Glass, the latest film from New York governor contender and Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon.

Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer will play a blind musician stalked by killers in new psychological revenge thriller In Darkness, which set in London’s criminal underworld.

Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald is expected to unveil his new film charting the life and career of tragic pop star Whitney Houston, which recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

The music documentary strand of the festival will also include an extended version of Freedom, the acclaimed George Michael documentary, and Almost Fashionable, which follows the events which unfold after the Scottish pop-rock band Travis invite a music journalist who has repeatedly criticised the group to accompany them on tour to Mexico.

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Other documentaries will include Life After Flash, which examines the career of Sam Jones after he shot to fame playing the lead role in the cult 1980s science fiction fantasy Flash Gordon.

The festival will include a major retrospective of American movies, Time of the Signs, which is partly inspired by the rise of Donald Trump to the White House.

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A strand on the media in the movies includes Absence of Malice, Broadcast News and Network, while horror classics getting the big-screen treatment include A Nightmare on Elm Street, Day of the Day, The Howling and Poltergeist.

The first festival events are actually being held this weekend as part of the Hidden Door festival in Leith, including a “multi-sensory cinematic experience” screening of the Walt Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the former State Cinema and an event built around a screening of the vampire hit Blade.

Other special events in the festival line-up include a screening of the Steven Spielberg classic jaws accompanied by a live soundtrack performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Mark Adams, artistic director of the festival, who is at the helm of the event for the fourth time, said: We remain one of the world’s most venerable and acclaimed film festivals and we’re delighted to be able to offer audiences the chance to see some of the most exciting and innovative new film talent, in a setting steeped in history

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“I’ve always tried to strike the right balance with the various elements of the programme and the types of films we show.

“I firmly believe audiences are not one person. There are also kinds of different ones. Different audiences like different sorts of films.

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It’s taken a bit of time to get to know the people who come here and love the festival. Certain sorts of films will work really well with them.

“It was frustrating this year that some films doesn’t work out for us, like Mary Queen of Scots, which we’ve been told is being held back for the Oscars, and Outlaw King, which we’ve known for sometime wouldn’t be launched by Netflix until November.”

This year’s EIFF runs from 20 June till 1 July.