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World Premieres and Prestigious Awards at EIFF 2024

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37 new feature films, 18 World Premieres including 10 World Premieres competing for the new Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence, 4 special retrospective screenings,short film programmes including the new Thelma Schoonmaker Prize for Short Filmmaking Excellence competition, an In Conversation event with iconic filmmaker Gaspar Noé and a strand of thrilling Midnight Madness screenings make up a seven-day celebration of world-class new cinema which also allows audiences, press and industry to easily engage with the best of Edinburgh’s other arts and cultural Festivals.

This year’s Festival programme features musical odysseys, dystopian worlds, laughter in the face of darkness, vivid portraits of characters from the fringes of society and reimagined inner and outer spaces. It showcases new work from filmmakers from the UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Norway, China, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Iran and beyond.

EIFF is pleased to be working with venue partners. The previously announced Cameo Cinema and Summerhall joins new EIFF spaces embedding the Festival in the heart of the Fringe landscape with screenings taking place at 50 George Square, which will be run in partnership with Assembly Festival; Inspace on Crichton Street which will be run in partnership with Monkey Barrel Comedy Club; and Tollcross Central Hall, in a programme which champions a new generation of UK and international talent, including a strong selection of first and second features.

Complementing the previously announced Opening Night film, Nora Fingscheidt’s THE OUTRUN starring Saoirse Ronan, the Festival presents a selection of compelling new and established voices in cinema including 18 World Premieres with an Out of Competition strand offering additional World and UK premieres.

The Closing Night film is the World Premiere of Carla J. Easton and Blair Young’s powerful new documentary SINCE YESTERDAY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF SCOTLAND’S GIRL BANDS, which sits within a strong presence for Scottish filmmakers and Scottish talent also elsewhere in the programme.

Competing for The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence, ten feature-length World Premieres will be presented, with the winning filmmaker being awarded £50,000 to support their future projects. Decided on by an audience vote, the winner will be announced at the end of the Festival and the award is fully funded by The Sean Connery Foundation.

The competition films are Arash Rakhsha’s urgent documentary ALL THE MOUNTAINS GIVE; Jack King’s powerful Yorkshire-set drama THE CEREMONY; Mary Jiménez and Bénédicte Liénard’s richly poetic FUGA; Will Seefried’s haunting queer drama LILIES NOT FOR ME; Daisy-May Hudson’s stirring film LOLLIPOP; Abdolreza Kahani’s subversive comedy drama A SHRINE; Bryan Carberry’s clear-eyed take on artificial intelligence SMILES AND KISSES YOU; Nina Conti’s absurdist road movie SUNLIGHT; Kelsey Taylor’s dark psychological thriller TO KILL A WOLF; and Manuela Irene’s delicately moving XIBALBA MONSTER.

Tales of healing, justice and revolution fuel this year’s Out of Competition feature-length films, which showcase a selection of World and UK Premieres.

The Out of Competition films are Sophie Fiennes’s immersive documentary about theatre-makers Cheek by Jowl and The Scottish Play in ACTING; Daniel Reisinger’s bittersweet comedy AND MRS starring Aisling Bea and Colin Hanks; Halfdan Ullmann Tønde’s Camera D’Or Winner ARMAND featuring Renate Reinsve; Nathan Silver’s elegantly observed comedy BETWEEN THE TEMPLES; Guan Hu’s Un Certain Regard Main Prize Winner BLACK DOG; Constance Tsang’s BLUE SUN PALACE about loneliness and human connection; Ben Rivers’ BOGANCLOCH about a hermit living in the Scottish wilderness; Suzanne Smith and Sylvia Solf’s dance-filled South African documentary JOY DANCER; Wei Liang Chiang and You Qiao Yin’s compassionate drama MONGREL; Maryam Moghadam and Behtash Sanaeeha’s profoundly moving meditation on loneliness MY FAVOURITE CAKE; Silje Evensmo Jacobsen’s Sundance Grand Jury prize winning documentary A NEW KIND OF WILDERNESS; Ishan Shukla’s unique and timely animated nightmare SCHIRKOA: IN LIES WE TRUST; Greg Kwedar’s transcendent prison drama SING SING; Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s brutal take on classic Western and Samurai films STEPPENWOLF; Mark Cousins’s new documentary on Scottish artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham A SUDDEN GLIMPSE TO DEEPER THINGS; Polly Steele’s starkly honest documentary THE MOUNTAIN WITHIN ME; Euros Lyn’s fresh reimagining of the vampire genre THE RADLEYS starring Damian Lewis and Kelly Macdonald; and Alice Lowe’s uniquely entertaining TIMESTALKER.

Alongside the presentation of the inaugural Thelma Schoonmaker Prize for Short Filmmaking Excellence Competition Shorts, the legendary Thelma Schoonmaker will attend the Festival and introduce a retrospective screening of Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell’s much loved film I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING! (1945) set on the Isle of Mull.

Retrospective screenings of the work of cult auteur Brian De Palma include a special presentation of THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987), presented by The Connery Foundation, and a 50th anniversary screening of his no-holds-barred rock horror musical PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (1974).

Master provocateur Gaspar Noé (Irreversible, Climax, Enter The Void) will attend the Festival for a special In Conversation event discussing his career and filmmaking, ahead of presenting a screening of Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece SUSPIRIA (1977).

Lynda Myles Celebrates is a new special screening showcase for a visionary new work of cinema in the pioneering spirit of writer, academic and former EIFF director Lynda Myles. This year’s film is the World Premiere of Argentinian filmmaker Axel Cheb Terrab’s film GALA & KIWI which will be presented to audiences by Lynda.

Bookending the new Midnight Madness strand and unleashing the best in genre cinema from around the world is the UK Premiere of Fede Álvarez’s ALIEN: ROMULUS and the UK Premiere of Coralie Fargeat’s celebrated new body horror THE SUBSTANCE. Ahead of select Midnight Madness feature film presentations will be a screening of a new short film, further celebrating new genre filmmaking talent. Feature-length titles in the strand are Jack Clark and Jim Weir’s Australian psychological horror BIRDEATER; Kit Redstone and Arran Shearing’s enigmatic and unexpected KING BABY; Damian Mc Carthy’s dread-inducing haunted house story ODDITY, co-presented by The Evolution of Horror Podcast; and James Clarke and Daniel Shephard’s adrenaline fuelled thriller SUNRAY: FALLEN SOLDIER which stars a cast of former Royal Marine Commandos.

The Thelma Schoonmaker Prize for Short Filmmaking Excellence Competition presents the World Premieres of new exciting work from Scotland, the UK and International filmmakers. The shorts in competition are Lisa Clarkson’s starkly realist PATERNAL ADVICE; Jamie Di Spirito’s powerful HOMEWORK; Gavin Reid’s quirky and poignant documentary MY DAD AND THE VOLCANO; Liberty Smith’s experimental documentary MY EXPLODING HOUSE; Max Olson’s bold and haunting NICO; Trevor Neuhoff’s moving spin on classic noir MANNY WOLFE; Inés Villanueva’s beautiful Argentine comedy SHOAL; and Wilma Smith’s JUBILEE which blends live-action with napkin-based stop-motion animation.

These shorts run alongside freshly commissioned documentaries in the Bridging The Gap Documentary Short Films programme. The Experimental Shorts strand presents UK premieres of new shorts from around the world and a new Animation Shorts programme will be screened alongside a programme of Out Of Competition Shorts In Association with Screen Academy Scotland.

This year’s industry programme runs across the first weekend of the Festival with industry delegates experiencing the wealth of the film programme and access to all that is on show in the wider festivals month via new collaborations with partners including Screen Fringe. More details on the EIFF Industry programme will follow in the next few weeks.

This year’s 77th edition of the Festival honours the film festival’s history, showcasing the very best talent in filmmaking in a format rooted in a local Scottish context whilst embracing the international diversity of creative expression. EIFF encourages audiences, film fans and industry professionals to make the trip this summer to Edinburgh.

“I am thrilled by what the team, our collaborators and our supporters have put together these past months for all sections of the programme and across our exciting new festival footprint. Through a spirit of collaboration, passion and above all teamwork, we have worked to fashion something special out of a shared vision for what we want this historic festival to be going forward, and to offer a platform to an enormous range of film work. Since day one, the audience has always been front and centre in our thinking. And I cannot wait to see these formally exciting, thematically rich and unforgettable films to find their audience with us. Bring it on.”

EIFF Director, Paul Ridd 

 “It’s quite some feat to have landed such an outstanding programme of world premieres, and globally and locally significant work in Year 1 of the rebooted festival. It’s a thrill to see Scottish films taking opening and closing night slots:  the Orkney set The Outrun and documentary Since Yesterday: The Untold Story of Scotland’s Girl Bands respectively.  Scottish work punctuates the programme, and with major new competition strands in the name of Sean Connery and Thelma Schoonmaker, not to mention some stellar special guests, Edinburgh is back on the map in a major way. Congratulations to Paul, his chair Andrew Macdonald, fellow board members and exec team.”

Isabel Davis, Executive Director of Screen Scotland

 “It is wonderful Edinburgh is returning this summer with a great programme and seeing it redefine its footprint in the city. We are really pleased our support will help the Festival improve accessibility and engage new audiences.”

Ben Luxford, Director of UK Audiences at the BFI

“Edinburgh is one of the best places in the world to experience events and EventScotland is proud to be supporting the 77th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Events play an important role in our communities by giving us the chance to connect and share memorable experiences. The exciting and diverse range of films in this year’s programme will provide the perfect stage to entice audiences to come together and explore a variety of cinematic ideas at one of the world’s longest running film festivals.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events

Listings will go live on the EIFF website from 5pm on Wednesday 10 July with tickets going on sale midday on Thursday 11 July via edfilmfest.orgedfringe.com and via the EdFringe official app. Press and Industry accreditation for EIFF is now open and closes on 2 August.

EIFF 2024 is supported by Screen Scotland and the BFI Audience Projects Fund, awarding National Lottery funding, the Industry Programme is backed by EXPO funding from the Scottish Government through Creative Scotland, and EventScotland part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from Thursday 15 to Wednesday 21 August 2024.  

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