Jonathan Melville: The top Festival film’s an Imposter

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AFTER 12 days of premieres, retrospectives, special events and a little film called Brave, the 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) is over for another year.

The Festival found its feet again in 2012, with critics and the public excited about the best line-up we’ve had for many years under the leadership of new artistic director, Chris Fujiwara.

Admittedly, few of the films were well known, meaning they were a tricky sell at the box office, but there were great titles in there if you looked hard enough.

Up until last week I was sure William Friedkin’s Killer Joe would be my favourite, with surprise movie, Lawless, another top contender.

I then made it along to some documentaries and the leader board started to look a bit different. While some shorts from Edinburgh-based Scottish Documentary Institute made an impression, Bart Layton’s The Imposter became my top film of the fortnight.

The Imposter takes us into the lives of a Texas family whose youngest son, Nicholas, went missing at the age of 13. A few years later, a young man claiming to be Nicholas found himself in the custody of Spanish police and from here things go from strange to downright chilling in this near-perfect film.

It’s too early to say whether ticket sales have beaten last year’s, but this year was about Fujiwara and his team winning back the trust of audiences and the film distributors who provide the films we watch.

I’m hopeful that 2012’s buzz will ensure we see bigger films in 2013. Not that everything should be as big as Brave, but the more films people are excited about the more word spreads about other titles.

Assuming Fujiwara stays on for another year, I think things are about to get very interesting.