Edinburgh Film Festival to host international premiere of Toy Story 3

CINEMA audiences in Scotland will be the first outside of the US to see one of the most eagerly anticipated sequels of all time.

For this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival will host the international premiere of Toy Story 3.

The CGI blockbuster will have a 3D gala screening in June, only a day after it opens to filmgoers in North America.

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The high-profile premiere is the result of a long-standing relationship between the EIFF and Pixar, the film's producers, which has brought celebrated features such as WALL-E and Ratatouille to Edinburgh.

The first in the Toy Story series, in 1995, was a phenomenal success, and set an industry precedent as the first full-length feature created entirely with CGI.

The latest sequel presents the continuing adventures of characters such as Woody the cowboy and Buzz Lightyear, ten years after Toy Story 2. Directed by Lee Unkrich, the voice cast reunites stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack, as well as introducing newcomers Timothy Dalton as Mr Pricklepants, Michael Keaton as Barbie's boyfriend Ken, and Whoopi Goldberg, who provides the voice for Stretch the octopus.

Hannah McGill, the EIFF's artistic director, said of the 19 June screening: "I'm excited about Toy Story 3 on so many levels. It's fantastic to continue our relationship with Pixar.

"It's a great thrill to have a key 3D film in the festival, and to be able to provide such a treat for our younger audience members.

"And to have the first screening after it's unveiled in the US is an incredible honour for us."

She added: "This is going to be one of the highlights of the festival, and I'm looking forward to working with our friends at Disney to make it truly spectacular."

• Stars of the show: Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Picture: Complimentary

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Film critic Brian Pendreigh told The Scotsman: "The Toy Story 3 screening is known in the trade as an international premiere. It will already have been screened in the US, and so I don't think it's going to raise the profile of the EIFF internationally. It's a chance for people in Edinburgh to see the film a month early."

Mr Pendreigh said that whereas the EIFF had in the past secured major films such as Blade Runner, in recent years it has been "in danger of being disconnected from the general public", particularly in contrast to the growing success of its rival event in Glasgow.

He added: "Toy Story 3 is festival proof. No one will think it's an arty movie, but it is good for people to see it early.

"But when films like Blade Runner and ET were shown at the festival in Edinburgh, it was at a time when films opened in the UK a year behind the US." Having now shown three of its films at the EIFF, Pixar is working on a feature with a distinctly Scottish flavour.

Brave, previously known as Bear and the Bow, is described by producers as an "action- adventure about a royal family in rugged and mythic Scotland".

The film, due for release in 2012, will star Reese Witherspoon as the lead character, Merida, a princess who dreams of becoming a great archer.

Other talent attached to the production includes Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson and Julie Walters.

The full line-up for this year's EIFF will not be unveiled until 1 June, but it is known that another animated film will open proceedings.

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The Illusionist, made by Sylvain Chomet, has been described as a "delightful fairytale depiction of Scotland" and a love letter to its capital. Mostly set in the 1950s, the film includes depictions of some of the city's most famed features, such as Waverley Station and Arthur's Seat.

It will be the first film to get the red-carpet treatment at the Festival Theatre, the event's flagship new venue for galas.

The EIFF will take place from 16-27 June. Tickets for the special gala screening of Toy Story 3will go on sale to the public on 3 June at the EIFF box office and online at www.edfilmfest.org.uk

Toy Story 3, which is distributed by Disney, goes on general release in UK cinemas on 23 July.