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The 2019 film festival will officially launch its programme at 10.00am today although there have been snippets drip-fed to us in recent months.

Artistic Director Mark Adams now in post since 2015, posed for photos on the steps of the Filmhouse which already has its 2019 livery outside.

Artisitic Director Mark Adams may already know what’s in the programme….

These will be some of the highlights :

The riotous social satire Boyz in the Wood will open the 73rd edition of Edinburgh International Film Festival. The European Premiere will take place at Festival Theatre on Wednesday 19thJune. Tickets will go on sale at 10:00am on Wednesday 1st May. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/2019/boyz-wood

Set deep in the Scottish Highlands, Boyz in the Wood is an anarchic cocktail of generational politics, hip-hop loving farmers, and hallucinogenic rabbit droppings. As four city boys try to escape a mysterious huntsman, played brilliantly by a menacing Eddie Izzard, the Highlands’ police force trails behind, failing spectacularly and hilariously to provide assistance. Rising stars Rian Gordon, Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja and Lewis Gribben lead a star-studded cast including Scottish greats Kate Dickie, EIFF Honorary Patron James Cosmo and Kevin Guthrie. 

Boyz in the Wood is the debut feature of music video director Ninian Doff, who also penned the script, a long-time friend and supporter of EIFF, who was one of the first graduates of film group SKAMM (Scottish Kids Are Making Movies), held at Edinburgh Filmhouse and run by Shiona Wood, to whom Doff dedicates the film to in the closing credits.

There will be a special preview screening of producer James Gunn’s horror film Brightburn starring Elizabeth Banks, will take place in advance of the start of this year’s Festival on Sunday 16th June at Festival Theatre. Tickets are now on sale: https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/2019/brightburn Brightburn opens across the UK on Wednesday 19 June.

A rich selection of Scottish films, filmmakers, acting talent and films shot in Scotland is included in the 2019 Festival programme. Opening with the European Premiere of Ninian Doff’s Boyz in the Wood, featuring a star-studded Scottish cast, this year’s programme will showcase some of the very best films and exclusive events from across the country. Scottish talent in attendance this year include Shauna Macdonald, Jack Lowden, Angus Macfadyen, Peter Mullan, Mark Cousins and many more!

Balance, Not Symmetry

This year’s People’s Gala is the Jamie Adams drama Balance, Not Symmetry and the fun-packed new animated musical adventure UglyDolls starring Kelly Clarkson, will be this year’s Family Gala.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “EventScotland is delighted to be supporting this year’s Family Gala and the screening of UglyDolls. Alongside the Opening and Closing Galas, the Family Gala is wonderful way to engage festival goers by offering them the chance to see the latest cinematic offering and the chance to walk the red carpet. As the world’s longest continuously running film festival and one of Scotland’s signature events, introducing the next generation to the Edinburgh International Film Festival will ensure its success for years to come.”

Balance, Not Symmetry is a beautiful cinematic tribute to art, music and Scotland (and Glasgow in particular).  A moving, funny and inspirational new film from the talented and prolific filmmaker Jamie Adams, it was made in close conjunction with the great Scottish band Biffy Clyro, who worked on both the storyline and the score.

EIFF Artistic Director Mark Adams said: “Edinburgh International Film Festival has a long history of supporting and showcasing the very best Scotland has to offer and 2019 will be no exception. I am thrilled to be able to give this year’s audiences the chance to enjoy a huge range of films, talks, events and talent that highlight the very best of Scottish craftsmanship and skill.”

Toy Story 4

Excitingly there will be a special pre-festival screening of Toy Story 4, the next instalment of the much-loved Disney•Pixar series of animated films will take place in advance of the Festival on Sunday 16th June. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased here: https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/2019/toy-story-4

Woody (voiced as always by Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the gang take an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realise they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.   

Directed by Josh Cooley (Riley’s First Date?), and produced by Jonas Rivera (Inside OutUp) and Mark Nielsen (associate producer of Inside Out), Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 4 is released in UK cinemas on 21st June 2019.

Youth Programme

There will be a full EIFF Youth programme, which will host an array of cutting-edge film screenings, special events, talks and masterclasses for young audiences at this year’s Festival.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Edinburgh International Film Festival provides a platform for young people to engage with the screen industry – as filmmakers, curators and audiences – and this diverse Youth Programme exists to inspire the next generation of filmmakers, creating pathways to develop their passion. With a variety of workshops, masterclasses and seminars, it is encouraging to see PLACE funding being used to offer a unique chance for young people to learn from world-renowned industry experts.”

EIFF Honorary Patron, actor, director and screenwriter, Karen Gillan (Avengers: Endgame, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jumanji) said: “I’m delighted to see this year’s exciting programme of events and screenings for young people with today’s launch of EIFF Youth – congratulations to the team at the Festival.”

Taking over the Cornerstone Centre at St John’s Church on Princes St, the EIFF Youth HQ will offer a programme of filmmaking masterclasses, hands-on workshops, careers advice sessions and industry panels for 15-25 year-olds. This programme is co-designed by EIFF’s Young Programmers and Youth Advisory Group, who curate screenings of interest to young audiences, and host many of EIFF Youth’s events and Q&As.

Closing night film

The intimate and moving biopic of painter L. S. Lowry,Mrs Lowry & Son will close this year’s Festival. The World Premiere will take place at Festival Theatre on Sunday 30th June. Tickets are now on sale here: https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/2019/mrs-lowry-son

Mrs Lowry & Son depicts the relationship between L.S. Lowry, played by Timothy Spall, one of Britain’s most iconic artists, and his mother Elizabeth, played by Vanessa Redgrave, with whom he lived until her death.


The film follows Lowry in the beginnings of his career, as he yearns for his work to be appreciated in London. However, his disdainful mother, Elizabeth actively tries to dissuade her bachelor son from pursuing his artistic ambitions. Elizabeth never fails to voice her opinion at what a disappointment he is to her. This powerful, yet humorous story imagines the impact this obsessive mother and son relationship had on the great artist.


L.S. Lowry became internationally famous for his depictions of 20th century industrial life in the North West of England, and the legacy of his work remains a huge presence in the region, not least at The Lowry, a purpose-built art gallery in Salford Quays.

Film Fest in the City

EIFF and Essential Edinburgh hold a free open-air cinema event, Film Fest in the City with Edinburgh Live, in St Andrew Square Garden, with the Festival announcing a fantastic line-up of free screenings running from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 June 2019

This year’s special outdoor cinema experience will give audiences the chance to catch some of the best releases both new and old, including the Oscar-winning Bohemian RhapsodyMary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt as the iconic magical nanny and the unforgettable cinematic extravaganza The Greatest Showman, back by popular demand. Audiences will also be treated to a double bill of Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia 2.

The three-day spectacular will offer something for all audiences from much-loved classics including When Harry met Sally, cult titles Xanadu and Groundhog Day alongside family favourites The Iron GiantBrave and Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. Audiences will be able to enjoy a range of premium refreshments from a host of special pop-up bars over the weekend, including Edinburgh Gin, Innis & Gunn and Poco Prosecco. Once again, all of this year’s screenings will be free with no ticket required, just turn up and join in the fun!

Films made by school pupils at Clovenstone, Sighthill and Canal View Primary Schools

There will be a special screening of six short films and live musical performance of Soundmoves: Music Movies with pupils from Sighthill, Clovenstone and Canal View Primary Schools at 11am on Friday 21s June at The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh.

Running since 2017, the Soundmoves project has this year enabled pupils and teachers from Sighthill, Clovenstone and Canal View Primary Schools to take part in a series of creative workshops exploring music and movement.  Composer Matilda Brown, movement specialist Ana Almeida and SCO musicians were joined by videographer Sandy Butler to enable two classes from each school to film their work in the theatre at Wester Hailes Secondary School. The resulting six short movies are based on original ideas developed during those workshops.

Jazz with Tommy Smith and the SNJO

In a collaboration with world-renowned jazz musician Tommy Smith OBE and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) as part of the Festival’s Spanish theme in 2019, Miles Davis’ hugely popular album SKETCHES OF SPAIN will be performed by the SNJO at the Queen’s Hall on Friday 28t June. 

This highlight of EIFF’s Spanish programme will see award-winning trumpet player, composer and improviser Laura Jurd take centre stage in the Miles Davis role. A recipient of multiple awards and a BBC New Generation Artist from 2015-2017, Laura has developed a formidable reputation as one of the most distinctive and creative composer-performers to emerge from the UK in recent years. 

Stemming from their interest in the Spanish folk tradition, Davis and arranger/composer Gil Evans recorded the album between November 1959 and March 1960. It was the recipient of the 1961 Grammy Award for Best New Jazz Composition and has since gone on to become one of the most celebrated albums of all time.

Founded by Tommy Smith in 1995, the SNJO is dedicated to promoting jazz as a pre-eminent art form through performances, original compositions, recordings and educational outreach programmes.  

Tommy Smith said: “It’s always an honour to present the arrangements of Gil Evans and Miles Davis with the SNJO and our featured guest Laura Jurd, and especially within this invitational concert from the Edinburgh International Film Festival. One of the seminal works in the jazz canon, Sketches of Spain transcends classification from the norm and presents a modern European vista through the window of classical composition and the language of jazz. Within the sounds and textures of the 5 movements of Sketches, you will be able to imagine the azure glow, fragrances of Spain, and all the emotions that stir the heart. All I can say is thank you for this golden opportunity.”

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