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Roccos Faintheart to close a Best of British Edinburgh

faintheart2.jpgThose concerned that the movement of the Edinburgh Film Festival from its August spot would mean a shortage of quality titles may need to hold their breath as the festival unveiled it's 2008 lineup today. There are 15 World Premieres at the festival, including Vito Rocco's My Movies Mashup winner FaintHeart, Duane Hopkins’ Better Things, Terence Davies’ Cannes Entry, Of Time and City, 90s Nostalgia piece and Sundance hit, with Ben Kingsley as a stoned shrink, The Wackness, Martin Raddich's hotly awaited Crack Willow and The New Ten Commandments, a series of short films marking the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights directed by a lineup of new filmmakers including Irvine Welsh, Mark Cousins and Tilda Swinton.

Other treats include a screening of Pixar's latest Wall-E, on the same days as its US release, Shane Meadow's Somers Town, Errol Morris' Abu Ghraib expose Standard Operating Procedure, Werner Herzog's documentary Encounters at the End of the World, the new Under the Radar strand, and masterclasses from Errol Morris, Ray Harryhausen, Roger Deakin and Brian Cox. Full press release follows.

World premieres of British films to open and close Festival. The press release follows:
Edinburgh, Scotland – 7 May 2008 – At a press conference at Filmhouse in Edinburgh this morning, Artistic Director Hannah McGill announced the final programme details for the 62nd edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). This year the Festival, which runs from 18 – 29 June, will host fifteen World premieres including the previously announced Opening Night Gala, John Maybury’s THE EDGE OF LOVE starring Keira Knightley (ATONEMENT) and Sienna Miller (FACTORY GIRL).  The Closing Night Gala will be the World premiere of FAINTHEART, a comedy by Vito Rocco starring Eddie Marsan (HAPPY-GO-LUCKY) Jessica Hynes (formerly Stevenson, co-creator of SPACED) and Ewan Bremner (HALLAM FOE). Both Opening and Closing Night Galas are British films by British filmmakers with British casts, many of whom are expected to attend the Festival. The EIFF also looks forward to welcoming back its two Patrons, Sir Sean Connery and Tilda Swinton, who will both attend the Festival this year.
The Festival will showcase one hundred and forty two feature-length films from twenty nine countries, including one hundred and thirteen new features of which fifteen are World premieres, fourteen are International premieres, six are European premieres and seventy two are UK premieres. Highlights include: the new Pixar title WALL·E screening as the Family Gala; Shane Meadows’ SOMERS TOWN and Duane Hopkins’ BETTER THINGS both in the British Gala section; Brad Anderson’s TRANSSIBERIAN and Isabel Coixet’s ELEGY both screening in the Gala section; a special preview of Terence Davies’ OF TIME AND CITY and the previously announced documentaries ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Werner Herzog, James Marsh’s MAN ON WIRE and Errol Morris’ STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE.
Galas will include the World premiere of Mark Doherty’s A FILM WITH ME IN IT, José Padilha’s ELITE SQUAD (TROPA D’ELITE), Ira Sachs’ MARRIED LIFE, Bharat Nalluiri’s MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY and Jonathan Levine’s THE WACKNESS.
British Galas competing for the UK Film Council-sponsored Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature include Oliver Blackburn’s DONKEY PUNCH which will have its UK premiere,  and the World premieres of Charles Martin Smith’s STONE OF DESTINY, Kenny Glenaan’s SUMMER, Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor’s HELEN and Matthew Thompson’s DUMMY.  UK titles will also compete for Best Performance in a British Film, sponsored by Premier Property Group (PPG).  All films in the Gala and British Gala sections, as well as the Opening and Closing Galas, are eligible for the Standard Life Audience Award.
Commenting on this year’s Festival, Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said: “Scotland’s diverse and vibrant cultural life is one of our defining features. It is the energy, commitment and creativity of Edinburgh’s Festivals which together make Edinburgh the world’s pre-eminent festival city, attracting tourists and showcasing Scottish talent on the international stage.”
“As the world’s longest continuously running film festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) holds a very special place in the hearts of film enthusiasts and professionals.  The EIFF undoubtedly deserves its excellent reputation and I am sure they will build on this with the 2008 programme and their move to a new position in the calendar.”
Artistic Director Hannah McGill added: "We have a terrifically exciting programme this year, which is the happy result of a very enthusiastic response from distributors and filmmakers. From powerful artistic and political statements to works of pure, escapist entertainment, I think this is a Festival that reflects an active, vibrant world film culture - and suits the diverse and daring tastes of our audience. I want to thank all the programmers who worked with me on putting this programme together, and I look forward to sharing it with audiences in June."
This year the Festival’s programme will be putting the spotlight on cinematography and will include a number of films particularly outstanding in this field.  This is reflected by the In Person events, where guests taking part in onstage talks will include world renowned award-winning cinematographers Brian Tufano (TRAINSPOTTING) and Roger Deakins (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) who will be interviewed by Seamus McGarvey (ATONEMENT). Directors Shane Meadows (THIS IS ENGLAND) and Errol Morris (THE FOG OF WAR), legendary special effects master Ray Harryhausen (CLASH OF THE TITANS) and actor Brian Cox (THE BOURNE SUPREMACY) will also be participating in the In Person events. The Festival will also include a number of films where acclaimed cinematographers take the director’s chair: BEFORE THE RAINS by Santosh Sivan (THE TERRORIST) in the Gala section and the World premiere of WARSAW DARK by Christopher Doyle (HERO) in the Rosebud section.
FUJIAN BLUE by Robin Weng, GOD MAN DOG by Singing Chen and EDEN directed by Declan Rocks are some of the films which will also be presented in Rosebud, the showcase of films by first and second time directors which embody the spirit of the EIFF’s commitment to uncover new talent and maintain its reputation as a festival of discovery.
The previously announced new strand Under The Radar, which promises to awaken the spirit of cult cinema, has two World premieres: Martin Radich’s CRACK WILLOW and Robert Beaucage’s SPIKE. Other World premieres include Bernard Rose’s THE KREUTZER SONATA in Directors’ Showcase, Steven Sheil’s MUM & DAD screening in the late-night section Night Moves, and Gideon Koppel’s documentary sleep furiously. TROUBLE SLEEPING, a feature from Edinburgh’s Theatre Workshop, and THE NEW TEN COMMANDMENTS, a series of short films marking the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights directed by an impressive lineup of filmmakers including Irvine Welsh, Mark Cousins and Tilda Swinton, will both play as Special Events.
The world-renowned Mirrorball section will showcase the finest music films and promos from around the globe and has five feature documentaries including BANANAZ, shot over seven years following the real people - Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn - behind the band Gorillaz. The Black Box strand represents cutting edge experimental filmmaking, including SEVEN INTELLECTUALS IN BAMBOO FOREST, a beautiful five part film by celebrated artist Yang Fadong.
The Festival will also celebrate the life and work of Shirley Clarke and Jeanne Moreau, in the previously announced Retrospectives. Highlights include screenings of Clarke’s A COOL WORLD and a rare showing of Orson Welles’ IMMORTAL STORY (UNE HISTOIRE IMMORTELLE). Legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen’s presence at the EIFF will be celebrated by a special screening of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS.
2008 sees the return of FILM FESTIVAL UNDER THE STARS, the outdoor cinema experience set over two nights on the Mound, next to the National Gallery of Scotland. Open to the public as a free event, the EIFF is proud to welcome back a series of iconic films: Steven Spielberg’s ET: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL and Robert Zemeckis’ BACK TO THE FUTURE which had their UK Premieres at the EIFF in 1982 and 1985 respectively; and Baz Luhrmann’s STRICTLY BALLROOM, which was the Opening Night Gala in 1992. Also screening will be the inherently Scottish favourite LOCAL HERO by Bill Forsyth.
Animation is one of this year’s key themes and will feature heavily in the programme.  A diverse collection of animated features including Pixar’s much anticipated WALL·E, the sweetly creepy FEAR(S) OF THE DARK (PEUR(S) DU NOIR) by comic book legend Charles Burns, the cartoon-noir IDIOTS AND ANGELS by Bill Plympton and an eclectic line-up of animated shorts. EIFF recognises the importance of nurturing talent, and provides opportunities to those who wish to learn from professionals skilled in their craft by hosting a series of workshops designed to educate and inspire budding animators.
In addition to the documentary and animation shorts at the Festival, EIFF continues to showcase the best of Scottish, UK and international shorts in a series of programmes which include Daniel Mulloy’s SON featuring Natalie Press, and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut SLAPPER with Iain Glen. From Scotland, Matt Palmer’s THE ISLAND was shot on the titular island in the Firth of Forth, while the international section showcases, among others, films from Mexico, Oscar® nominated Icelander Runar Runarsson’s return to the EIFF with LITTLE BIRDS, and SICK SEX from Justin Nowell, wryly portraying a man trying to persuade his ill girlfriend to have sex.
In association with Skillset, EIFF will host its second set of Trailblazers: new film talent selected from the EIFF programme and the graduating students of the twelve UK Skillset Screen Academies. The Trailblazers initiative demonstrates EIFF’s intention to identify new talent, providing a platform on which to present their work to an international audience, whilst offering an environment for them to interact and network with established industry professionals. After their selection as names to watch, last year’s Trailblazers collectively went on to win numerous awards and nominations. The line up last year included BAFTA nominee and BIFA winner Sam Riley (CONTROL), BIFA winner Toby Kebbell (CONTROL) and BIFA nominee Matthew Beard (AND WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR FATHER?). Another of 2007’s Trailblazers, producer Rachel Connors, returns to the Festival this year with two films BANANAZ and FAINTHEART.