The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has cameras rolling and chins wagging with its 69th event.
Opening the festival VIPs – including Robert Carlyle and Ashley Jensen – graced the red carpet for Carlyle’s directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson.
EIFF Recruitment Coordinator Katri Vanhatalo said: “This year’s festival has had a great UK presence, and it has welcomed so many icons of the screen that I feel star-struck!”
Yet the 2015 hype wasn’t all about celebrities, as Vanhatalo explained, it emanated from audience participation.
She said: “This year’s festival is different because it is headquartered at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema; allowing pass-holders and the public a place to share the excitement.”
This interactive spirit started with Film in the City, an EIFF programme of outdoor screenings, which overlap the main festival.
Vanhatalo said: “The screenings take place over two weekends, both of which show family films in a friendly atmosphere.
“On the first weekend there was a dance-a-long show that kept the crowd warm, even in high winds. The outdoor setting brought together film-lovers who wouldn’t otherwise meet.”
This interactivity continues in the festival’s new strand: Doc of the Day; a changing daily feature that explores EIFF non- fiction films, through activities.
Vanhatalo explained: “Doc of the Day will host events like sherry tastings and a rock gig, as well as traditional Q&A discussions.”
This non -fiction focus takes the EIFF back to its 1947 roots; when it was a documentary showcase, held by the Edinburgh Film Guild.
Now the EIFF enjoys the support of Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland, Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and the British Film Institute.
EIFF prides itself in presenting both factual and fictional films from home and abroad.
Vanhatalo said: “Our programme is filled with films from 44 different countries. Some highlights from this year’s programme are the Mexican movie: 600 Miles from Mexico/USA, German film: Who Am I – No System Is Safe, Canadian/Kiwi horror: Turbo Kid, and the Chinese/American film: The Iron Ministry.”
She added: “We have 34 films in our programme with a Scottish connection.
“The Best of British strand shows new films from Scotland, England and Wales, including: Iona, The Pyramid Texts, The Violators, 45 Years and The Marriage of Reason & Squalor.”
These and many more films will compete in the EIFF Awards Ceremony; in Filmhouse 1, on June 26 (1pm). This event is open to the public and free.
Vanhatalo said: “EIFF has a mixture of free events, special events and events attached to film tickets. We also have special discounts, on multi- film purchases, via the EIFF brochure.”
She concluded: “EIFF has something for all ages. It has the Film Fest Junior strand and Inside Out UK premiere for families; The Young and The Wild strand for 15-19 year- olds; and films of an adult nature for others.”
For information on EIFF 2015 or on joining next year’s – 70th anniversary – celebrations visit the festival website.