Edinburgh Film Festival launches online ‘home cinema’

The annual film festival will host an online event after being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A White, White Day directed by Hlynur Palmason.
A White, White Day directed by Hlynur Palmason.

Edinburgh Film Festival has announced an online event which movie buffs can enjoy from their own home.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the annual festival held in the capital has been postponed, but organisers said they were determined to give fans the next best thing. 

Edifilmfest At Home has teamed up with Curzon Home Cinema (CHC) to pick a selection of upcoming films to stream.

Maxine Peake in Fanny Lye Deliver’d.

A new film will be presented each day of the 12-day festival, with each priced at £9.99. Alongside the movies there will be live Q&A sessions with special guests.

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The programme features award-winning names such as as Jennifer Baichwal, Marco Bellocchio, Ron Howard, the Dardenne brothers, Tilda Swinton, Alicia Vikander and Maxine Peake.

Ramona Edith-Williams and Kelly O’Sullivan in Saint Frances.

A schedule for the online festival is due to be released on June 17 and will run between June 24 and July 5.

Rod White, director of programming said: “We can’t bring you the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year quite as and when you know it, but we are finding ways to adapt and to share our passion for films through new initiatives.”

The Traitor directed by Marco Bellocchio.

The films lined up so far for Edifilmfest At Home include:

  • Rebuilding Paradise directed by Ron Howard. The UK premiere of a documentary by Hollywood director Ron Howard that chronicles the post-fire lives of the residents of Paradise, California, which was 95% razed to the ground by the so-called ‘Camp Fire’ of November 2018.
  • Saudi Runaway written and directed by Susanne Regina Meures. The UK premiere of a documentary in which Muna, a 26-year-old arranged-bride-to-be, makes the courageous decision to escape the country whilst on her honeymoon in Abu Dhabi, which she films on her two mobile phones.     
  • Fanny Lye Deliver’d directed by Thomas Clay and starring Maxine Peake, Charles Dance, Freddie Fox and Tanya Reynolds. Set in Shropshire in 1657, this folk horror/thriller concerns a young woman living a remote, rural, puritan existence with her older husband and young son, until the arrival of a young couple on the run who introduce Fanny Lye to a world of possibilities.
  • Perfumes (Les Parfums) directed by Grégory Magne, starring Emmanuelle Devos, Gustave Kervern, Sergi Lopez, Grégory Montel. The UK premiere of this French comedy drama set in the ‘nose’ (nez) business. A once-famous ‘nez’ (in the perfume world) sells her extraordinary olfactory facility to any company that’s prepared to pay for it. She’s a selfish diva, but one that might just have a shot at redemption through her relationship with her new chauffeur, a man with many troubles of his own.
  • Saint Frances directed by Alex Thompson and written by and starring Kelly O’Sullivan. The UK premiere of this US comedy drama which sees Bridget, 34, aimless and accidentally pregnant, decide to have an abortion. Needing a job, she gets one (by luck rather than design) she’s not really very well suited to – that of nanny, to the precocious Frances.
  • The Traitor directed by Marco Bellocchio and starring Pierfrancesco Favino. A telling of the real-life story of Tommaso Buscetta, the main informant in the ‘Maxi’ (Sicilian Mafia) Trial in Palermo in the late 80s and early 90s.
  • A White, White Day directed by Hlynur Palmason and starring Ingvar Sigurdsson. Icelandic drama about a recently retired policeman who becomes obsessed that his recently deceased wife was having an affair. His growing obsession starts to threaten the well-being of the rest of his family.
  • Last and First Men directed by Jóhann Jóhannsson and narrated by Tilda Swinton. The UK premiere of the composer’s directorial debut, a science-fiction essay on human mortality and the end of all things. Loosely based on the 1930 Olaf Stapledon novel of the same name, Swinton voices a human from its 18th distinct evolution from some two billion years in the future (the Last Men), reaching back to the First Men (us) for help, as the end of time approaches.
  • Young Ahmed directed and written by Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. After taking to heart an extremist interpretation of the Qu’ran, a Belgian teenager hatches a plan to kill his teacher.
  • Anthropocene: The Human Epoch directed by Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky and Nicolas de Pencier, narrated by Alicia Vikander. This documentary, filmed in 20 countries across six continents, documents the impact the human race has had on Planet Earth to illuminate the question: have we entered a new geological epoch?
  • Volcano directed by Roman Bondarchuk. Lukas, a translator working for the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) gets stranded in the middle of nowhere in southern Ukraine. Life, and the people, are nothing like Lukas has ever imagined before, and getting out of there is his only priority. But warming to his strange new hosts, perhaps there’s more going on here than first meets the eye.
  • Little Girl directed by Sebastian Lifshitz, UK premiere. This documentary tells the story of eight-year-old Sasha, who was born a biological boy but lives as a girl. The film details Sasha and her very supportive family’s seemingly endless quest for her to be recognised as a girl by the school she loves.

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