Opening Night Gala For The Edinburgh International Film Festival

Tonight marks the opening of the 64th annual Edinburgh International Film Festival. Beginning in 1947 it is the longest continually running film festival showcasing a selection of both international and national productions and seeing premieres of some of the best loved films.

The opening Gala is the much anticipated The Illusionist from French director Sylvain Chomet based on an original script by Jacques Tati and starring an animated version of himself. Chomet was first introduced to the EIFF in 2003 with Belleville Rendez-vous which was nominated for two Oscars (Best Animated Feature and Best Song) and in 2004 Chomet founded the animation studio Django Films in Edinburgh, the setting for this most recent work.

The film follows a failing illusionist whose performances are being increasingly replaced by the emergence of rock and roll bands. This leads him to journey from France to Edinburgh in search of shows which he only manages to obtain in the most obscure of places but along the way he meets a young companion who is convinced of his magical abilities thus paving the way for an endearing friendship.

The film has been described on the EIFF website to be “Rich with visual jokes, seductive 1950s period detail and breathtaking views of the city and wilderness alike, this is the work of a master in his field – and one of the most gorgeous evocations of Scotland in history”.

The President of the Michael Powell award Jury has been named as Sir Patrick Stewart and he will be joined by Bond girl and star of The Wickerman, Britt Ekland, director of Get Carter and Croupier, Mike Hodges, award winning Iranian director, Rafi Pitts and senior film curator of the New York Museum of Art, Laurence Kardish.

Other notable personalities involved in the Juries include Jason Isaacs who plays Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films and actor and comedian Ben Miller on the jury for Best International Feature award and Man on Wire producer, Simon Chinn on the Documentary Jury.

Further celebrities expected to be attending this evening include Sir Sean Connery, screenwriter Nick Hornby and Ugly Betty star America Ferrera.

Unfortunately I am only around for the first few days of the film festival and so am only going to a handful of productions but already judging from the lineup it is looking to be an entertaining festival and I am extremely excited about this evening.