Finding Dory premiere for Edinburgh International Film Festival
The follow-up to Finding Nemo is to get top billing at the Edinburgh International Film Festival when the 70th edition is staged this summer.
Finding Dory, which sees American actress Ellen DeGeneres return to play the forgetful fish, is expected to sell out the 1900-capacity Festival Theatre when it gets its UK premiere next month.
The festival is also bidding to reunite the cast of Trainspotting on the red carpet at this year’s event - but has admitted Sir Sean Connery is unlikely to attend its landmark edition.
Organisers hope Robert Carlyle, Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller and Ewen Bremner will be allowed time out of their filming schedule on the much-anticipated sequel to attend a 20th anniversary screening of the iconic movie.
However the EIFF has dampened speculation that Sir Sean, who has not visited Edinburgh since standing down as a festival patron in 2010, will return for the curtain-raiser, which his son Jason has directed.
The EIFF will be book-ended by world premieres of golfing drama Tommy’s Honour, filmed by Connery in St Andrews, and a remake of classic comedy Whisky Galore, which stars Gregor Fisher and Eddie Izzard.
One of Sir Sean’s films, the action-fantasy Highlander, which was famously filmed on the Isle of Skye, is also getting a gala screening at the event to mark its 30th anniversary, which co-star Clancy Brown is confirmed to attend.
Brian Cox, currently shooting a new movie about Winston Churchill in Edinburgh, will unveil two films - comedy The Carer, which sees him play a retired Shakespearean actor, and Western drama Forsaken, with Kiefer Sutherland.
Local Hero star Denis Lawson, Ewan McGregor’s uncle, will be in Scottish coming-of-age drama Moon Dogs, one of the most high-profile home-grown features in the line-up.
Downton Abbey favourite Joanne Froggatt, BAFTA-winning actor Timothy Spall, rising star Juno Temple and comic Steve Coogan are hoped to join the home-grown stars at the 70th event.
The EIFF programme. unveiled by artistic director Mark Adams, boasts “in person” events with filmmaker Kevin Smith, writer and director of Clerks and Dogma, and Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall.
New British films include Away, which sees Spall and Temple play two “troubled souls” who meet in Blackpool. Starfish sees Froggatt and Tom Riley play a couple whose lives are changed by life-threatening illness. Coogan will play a jaded South African lawyer sent to defend a hopeless murder case in courtroom drama Shepherds and Butchers.
Mr Adams said: “Sean was very involved in the 60th festival. It’s really lovely that his son is going to be here, I’d imagine he is a very proud father and golf is very close to Sean’s heart.
“Jason has been talking to him, as he’d obviously like his dad to be here, and we have dropped him a line, but as far as I know he’s not coming out of the Caribbean.
The 70th EIFF will coincide with the ongoing filming of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting sequel, which has reunited most of the original cast.
The screening of the 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s best-selling book has been given a Sunday afternoon slot in the hope that as many key figures as possible will be able to attend.
Mr Adams said: “We’ve no idea who is coming to Trainspotting at the moment. We’re putting the film on at the same time as they are filming and have been talking to them, but when a film like that shoots you’ve no idea what’s going to be going on.
“There’s nothing confirmed at all at the moment. You can only set it in motion and see what happens. Even if one person was free that would be lovely, but I don’t think we’ll know until the day.”
Mr Adams said he was determined to ensure that the festival boasted the strongest possible line-up of Scottish films during his tenure, including beginning negotiations over an EIFF premiere during the production process.
He added: “It’s lovely for us to be able to open and close with big Scottish films, as we did last year. It wasn’t through any great desire or plan, it just happened.
“We were in touch with the people behind Whisky Galore and Tommy’s Honour last year, but you just never know when a film is going to be finished and ready to screen. But it’s useful to have that conversation nice and early as it sets it in their minds.”
Other EIFF highlights include Meg Ryan’s directorial debut Ithaca, about a teenager delivering telegrams during the Second World War, and romantic comedy Maggie’s Plan, which stars Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore, are among the US “indie” films in the line-up, along with Kevin Smith’s latest, Yoga Hosers.
The festival will stage two music nights at new venue Summerhall - a special screening of About a Boy following performances by Badly Drawn Boy, Admiral Fallow, Randolph’s Leap and Teen Canteen, and the world premiere of Lost in France, a new documentary about the rise of the Scottish music scene in the 1990s, including bands like Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, The Delgados and Arab Strap.
The EIFF will also host the first major retrospective showcasing the city’s BAFTA-winning animation double act Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson.
The overall number of screenings and new film are both down in the festival’s landmark year. There are also a slight dip in the number of world premieres, down from 24 to 22, and international premieres, which have been cut from eight to five, although there will be 85 UK premieres, one more than last year and 17 European premieres, up three from last year.