Opening on 18 June 2014 with the world premiere of Gerard Johnson’s Hyena, the 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival runs until 29 June, boasting a selection of 156 feature films from around the world. This year, there will be a special focus on German cinema and we are looking forward to the retrospective ‘Border Warfare: John McGrath’s Work in Television, Theatre and Film’, celebrating the work of the radical writer-director-producer, which includes three films he scripted: Ken Russell’s sprawling spy thriller Billion Dollar Brain, plus two films directed by Jack Gold, The Bofors Gun and The Reckoning.
But we are, of course, most excited about the long-awaited UK premiere of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, starring a terrific Tilda Swinton, on 22 June 2014. Taking place on the same day is a special event called EDIT, which sounds intriguing: a unique collaboration between musician Joe McAlinden, visual artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard and writer Martin McCardie, EDIT showcases a musical work performed live by McAlinden and set against a film by Forsyth and Pollard, scripted by McCardie. The performance will be followed by a Q&A with the four artists.
Snowpiercer screens as part of the Directors’ Showcase strand, which also includes Cathedrals of Culture, an expansive 3D project exploring the soul of buildings from six acclaimed filmmakers such as Wim Wenders and Robert Redford. In addition, the Directors’ Showcase will present Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs, which premiered in Venice last year and is said to be his farewell to cinema.
Other highlights of this year’s EIFF programme include Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final performances, and Abel Ferrara’s controversial Welcome to New York, inspired by the case of former IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Gérard Depardieu), which premiered in Cannes last month.
One of the promising contenders among the British films in competition for the Michael Powell Award is Guy Pitt’s compelling debut feature Greyhawk, along with opening film Hyena and We are Monster by Antony Petrou, which explores the real-life case of an Asian teenager murdered by a racist fellow inmate in a UK young offenders institution.
Previously called ‘Night Moves’, this year’s re-launched ‘Wicked & Weird’ strand includes the world premiere of Noel Clarke’s futuristic thriller The Anomaly, James Ward Byrkit’s low-key sci-fi chiller Coherence, Eli Roth’s take on cannibalism The Green Inferno, and Leigh Janiak’s intimate horror Honeymoon, starring Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway as newlyweds.
The very popular EIFF’s Audience Award is also back this year with nominations including Jim Mickle’s highly entertaining revenge thriller Cold in July, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s gripping photographer documentary Finding Vivian Maier, and Jeff Baena’s zombie romantic comedy Life after Beth. In addition to the numerous films on show, there will be a series of ‘Hero Hangouts’, which are essentially on-stage interviews with some of the personalities featured in the programme, such as Cold in July star Don Johnson.