Karen Gillan film to close Edinburgh Film Festival

A ROMANTIC comedy set in Glasgow and starring Karen Gillan will close the Edinburgh International Film Festival, it was announced yesterday.

Just what the Doctor ordered: Karen Gillan stars in Not Another Happy Ending. Picture: Complimentary

Not Another Happy Ending tells the story of a lovestruck best-selling novelist, played by the former Doctor Who actress, suffering from writer’s block because she only feels creative when miserable.

Gillan, making her feature film debut, stars as Jane Lockhart who has secretly fallen in love with her Glasgow-based publisher, Thomas Duval, played by French actor Stanley Weber.

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Chris Fujiwara, the artistic director of the 67th EIFF, which runs from 19-30 June, said the film captured both the grit and romance that tended to polarise Scottish films and said it would add “just the right note of celebration” to close the festival.

“Speaking as somebody who, before coming to Scotland, knew Scotland partly through its portrayal in films, I’m really excited to find in Not Another Happy Ending a fresh, interesting and almost idyllic take on the cultural vibrancy of Scottish city life,” he said.

“The film also shows how well the time-honoured genre of romantic comedy can work in the contemporary Scottish context.

“My idea of Scottish films had tended to be those which were both gritty and romantic.

“Gritty would be films like Trainspotting, which is known all over the world, and the romantic would be smaller films like Whisky Galore and Brigadoon set in the Highlands.”

Producer Claire Mundell, of the Glasgow-based Synchronicity Films, said the film was made for just £1 million after a fund-raising campaign.

She described the plot as “Woody Allen meets Bill Forsyth in Glasgow” and said it was a great opportunity to showcase the city as “culturally diverse, sexy and good-looking”.

Written by David Solomons and directed by John McKay, the film, which was shot mainly in and around Glasgow’s West End and Merchant City, sees the characters of the novel Lockhart is writing intrude on her life as they fear they will not get the happy ending they deserve.

“When I read the script, in 2005, I think, I knew it was so reminiscent of films dear to my heart,” said Ms Mundell. “But to be an independent film producer you need a certain amount of psychopathic belief in the project.

“You have to engage so many strategies to finance the film. We raised £20,000, a relatively small amount, but the campaign gave momentum, showing our financiers it had legs and that people wanted to see it.”

She said making the film had given her the chance to portray the city itself as a character.

“It was a great opportunity to show Glasgow as a bustling, vibrant centre of creativity. It is a funny, upbeat film, made in Scotland, and gives another side to contemporary films about the city.”

Creative Scotland gave £300,000 Lottery funding to the film. Other partners include British Film Company, BBC Scotland, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, Glasgow Film Office and Southwest Scotland Screen.

Mark Cousins, film director and critic, said any film chosen for such a high-profile premiere would be judged on its quality not its budget.

“Chris Fujiwara’s job is to ignore the budget question, ignore how feel-good or feel-bad it may be, and instead to judge how good it is as a piece of art.”

The full EIFF 2013 programme launch is on 29 May 2013.

Filmfest takes a look back at the career of a screen great

A RETROSPECTIVE of director Richard Fleischer – famous for such films such as The Boston Strangler and The Fantastic Voyage, will be staged at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

The programme will showcase Fleischer’s career which spanned six decades, ranging from film noir to science fiction.

American director Fleischer, who lived from 1916 to 2006, was responsible for some of the most distinctive and enduring Hollywood classics. His versatility led to his work being consistently underrated by some critics and historians.

His films, starring the likes of Tony Curtis and Raquel Welch, are regarded as being in the best tradition of mainstream cinema with their deft interweaving of thrilling action and psychological complexity.

The retrospective, in partnership with the British Film Institute, will reveal the full range of Fleischer’s work.

Chris Fujiwara, artistic director of the EIFF, said: “I’m delighted to bring Richard Fleischer’s best films to our audiences and let them discover and trace out the distinctive style and vision that marked his work.

“Some of Fleischer’s films, such as The Vikings and Fantastic Voyage, are fantasies that can be appreciated on one level by children and on other levels by adults. Others, such as The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing, The Boston Strangler and 10 Rillington Place, are sophisticated thrillers that work in unpredictable ways to engage and challenge the viewer.”

The EIFF screenings feature as part of a full Filmhouse programme, which will run from 13 June to 7 July, encompassing Fleischer’s films across four decades,

• Further details from www.filmhousecinema.com