Edinburgh hoping for double film premiere boost

Actor James McAvoy shooting Filth, the latest film adaptation of one of Irvine Welsh's books. Picture: Jane Barlow
Actor James McAvoy shooting Filth, the latest film adaptation of one of Irvine Welsh's books. Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE dust may just have settled after the red-carpet finale for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, but Scotland’s capital is already gearing up for another bout of cinematic glory as it emerged yesterday that two eagerly awaited films set and shot in the city will be released within a few days of each other.

Two vastly different sides of Edinburgh will be depicted in the star-studded features Filth and Sunshine on Leith, based on Irvine Welsh’s book and a musical created around the songs of The Proclaimers respectively.

Both films have the same UK release date – 4 October – although Filth will be released a week earlier in Scotland.

The move by the films’ distributors raises the prospect of two gala premieres being staged in Edinburgh within a few days this autumn.

Both films are also thought to be in the running for slots at major international film festivals, including Toronto in early September and Venice, which starts in late August.

Filth, which was shown out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, features James McAvoy playing a corrupt Edinburgh police officer “who will stop at nothing to get what he wants” as he finds his life spiralling out of control.

Raunchy trailers featuring McAvoy have already created a huge online buzz. His co-stars include Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Shirley Henderson, Martin Compston, Imogen Poots and Kate Dickie.

Sunshine on Leith revolves around two young soldiers struggling to adapt to life after returning from serving in Afghanistan.

Relative unknowns George Mackay and Kevin Guthrie play the two leads, alongside Paul Brannigan, the main star of Ken Loach’s whisky caper The Angels’ Share, as well as Peter Mullan and Jane Horrocks.

Although the main film shoot for Sunshine on Leith took place late last year, director Dexter Fletcher and the cast and crew returned to the city in May to film a spectacular new ending next to the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound.

The 1,900-capacity Festival Theatre on Nicolson Street would be the main contender to host gala premieres for either or both films.

It was equipped with projection and sound equipment several years ago to allow it to host high-profile premieres for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and was the venue for this year’s opening and closing galas.

Although Leith has its own cinema at the Ocean Terminal complex, its biggest screen can only hold about 400 people.

Brian Loudon, general manager of the Festival Theatre, said: “If the film distribution companies were interested in staging red-carpet premiere events in Edinburgh … the Festival Theatre would be delighted to host them.”

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland, which is using both movies to promote Scotland as a potential film location, said: “We’re delighted these two eagerly anticipated films will soon be seen on the big screen by audiences in Scotland and beyond.

“They are both resolutely Scottish stories that celebrate a wealth of on- and off-screen Scottish talent, not to mention our capital city, which plays a leading role in both films.”

Rose Ellison, film manager at Marketing Edinburgh, which promotes the city as a location for films, TV shows and adverts, said: “We always welcome filmmakers to the city, knowing that images on the screen are a key influence on visitors. It’s very exciting that two Edinburgh-set films are coming out at the same time: one dark, one light; one showing Old Town, the other New Town and Leith. Hopefully these will lead to many people being inspired to visit the area.”