Edinburgh Film Festival stars at Hyena premiere

America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams. Picture: Ian Georgeson
America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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The stars of cinema and TV turned out as the London-set crime thriller Hyena premiered last night at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The second feature by British director Gerard Johnson follows the downward spiral of a corrupt detective played by Peter Ferdinando.

The cousins attended the red carpet event at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, where they said Hyena audiences would see a different side to west London.

Joining them were Ugly Betty star America Ferrera and husband Ryan Piers Williams as stars of both movies and TV turned out for the red-carpet treatment.

Ferrera shone as she attended the world premiere, a gritty British gangster film.

The actress stars in the film X/Y, which is part of the festival programme and directed by her husband.

Other actors and celebrities attending the opening of the 68th festival included Line of Duty star Martin Compston, Filth’s Gary Lewis, comedian Greg Hemphill, Dr Who star Noel Clarke and Local Hero and Gregory’s Girl director Bill Forsyth.

Ferdinando said: “Even though it’s about quite a horrid world of crime and corruption, the film is quite beautiful to look at. London is utilised beautifully, especially west London, where the film is set.”

He described the film, due for UK release in October, as “brutal but truthful _ it will make people think”.

Johnson said: “I think London is such a vibrant city that’s underused in most films. Whereas my first film [Tony, released in 2009] focused on east London, this focuses on west London, which is predominantly used for romantic comedies. I wanted to show there is a different side to west London.”

Hyena revolves around Michael Logan (Ferdinando), a corrupt drug squad detective whose world begins collapsing as he struggles with an influx of brutal Albanian gangsters on to the London crime scene.

It also stars Stephen Graham, who has previously had roles in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and This Is England directed by Shane Meadows.

More recently he has played Al Capone in the acclaimed HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Graham said he signed up to Hyena after seeing Johnson’s debut film Tony, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival five years ago. “I think it’s a fabulous film that affirms the value of cinema that we try to stand for.”

Hyena will join eight other British films in competing for the £20,000 Michael Powell Award at the festival which runs to June 29.

More than 44,000 attended screenings at last year’s event. Meanwhile Scotland’s leading film producers are poised to join forces to establish their own multi-million pound agency to help the industry.

The new independent body – involving around 40 different companies – will cost in the region of £5 million to set up.