When is the Edinburgh International Film Festival? These are 14 highlights in the 2023 comeback programme

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is a cinematic celebration dating back to 1947 – and it has been resurrected
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The return of the Edinburgh International Film Festival next month is more of a cause for celebration for its audiences than ever next month given the event was forced to cease trading in October when its operator went into administration.

The 76-year-old event will be bouncing back with a one-off edition staged as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, which also dates back to 1947. Here are just a few of the stand-out screenings and events being staged across the festival, which is running from August 18-23.

What are the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival?

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Silent Roar, August 18-19: Skye-based director Johnny Barrington’s debut feature, which was shot entirely on the Isle of Lewis, will herald the return of the film festival after landing its coveted opening night slot. Rising stars Louis McCartney and Ella Lily Hyland star as school pals Dondo and Sas as the teenage surfer struggles to cope with the grief over his father’s disappearance at sea.

Fremont, August 23: Iranian-born director Babak Jalali closes the festival with his refugee comedy focusing on an insomniac Afghan woman working in a Californian fortune cookie factory. Described as “an ode to the curious beauty of trying to build a new life in a strange land”, Fremont sees Anaita Wali Zada play Donya, who decides to send a message of her own out to the world.

Choose Irvine Welsh, August 23: Director Ian Jefferies has assembled a starry cast to pay tribute to the writer, including Iggy Pop, Martin Compston, Bobby Gillespie and Gail Porter. Choose Irvine Welsh traces his career from Leith to London, San Francisco and Miami, examines the impact made by his novels and screen adaptations of his work, and hears from the man himself.

Kill, August 22-23: The sins of a father and the relationship between his three damaged sons are the focus of a new Scottish thriller. Rodger Griffiths’ debut feature sees Line of Duty and The Thick of It star Paul Higgins play a domineering dad who takes brothers Henry, John and Vincent – played by Brian Vernel, Daniel Portman and Calum Ross – on a hunting trip to a remote forest, then discovers he is their prey.

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Is There Anybody Out There?, August 19-20: Born with a disability so rare that no reliable statistics for it exist, filmmaker Ella Glendining's documentary explores whether there is anyone who can share the experience of living in a body like hers. Intimate personal diaries, conversations with similarly-bodied people and doctors treating her condition, and her unique perspective, guides the audience through debates on the stigmas surrounding disability.

The Linda Myles Project, August 19: A work-in-progress documentary by Susan Kemp launches a new “project of cinephine activism” inspired by former EIFF director Linda Myles, who became the first female director of a film festival anywhere in the world when she took the helm of the festival in 1973. Myles will join Kemp, filmmaker Mark Cousins and archive activist film collective Invisible Women for a discussion to explore how Edinburgh’s film culture could be rebuilt and reimagined.

Safety Last!, August 20: Edinburgh University’s Old College quad is revived as an outdoor cinema venue for this year’s festival, with the “Cinema Under The Stars” line-up including a 100th anniversary screening of the classic silent comedy. Scottish silent film pianist Mike Nolan will provide a live musical accompaniment as legendary Hollywood actor, comic and death-defying stuntman Harold Lloyd’s character scales a towering department store in an attempt to impress his girlfriend.

Passages, August 19-20: Ira Sachs’ French romantic drama explores the impact on a gay couple’s marriage when one of them embarks on an affair with a young woman. James Bond star Ben Wishaw stars alongside Franz Rogowski and Adèle Exarchopoulos in this made-in-Paris Sundance hit.

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The First Slam Dunk, August 22-23: This acclaimed Japanese animated sports film combines basketball action with teenage guts as it follows Ryota Miyagi, the point guard of Shohoku High’s team of underdogs. Writer and director Takehiko Inoue has adapted his own manga series for a film, which has already taken $262 million [£206m] at the box office.

Your Fat Friend, August 21-22: Director Jeanie Finlay charts the rise of activist Aubrey Gordon from anonymous blogger to best-selling author and hugely popular podcaster, as she writes about what it means to be a very fat woman in the world. Your Fat Friend is billed as a film “about fatness, family, the complexities of change and the deep, messy feeling we hold about our bodies”.

Chuck Chuck Baby, August 20-21: A Welsh chicken factory provides the setting for writer-director Janis Pugh’s musical drama, which sees old school friends Helen (Louise Brealey) and Joanne (Annabel Scholey) rediscover the joys of living and falling in love in the face of small-town prejudice. Music from Neil Diamond, Janis Ian and Minnie Riperton features in Pugh’s directorial debut.

Femme, August 20-21: Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George Mackay star in a tense neo-noir thriller that unfolds after a homophobic gang attack. When the victim, Jules, later encounters ringleader Preston in a gay sauna, he begins to plot revenge. As their relationship develops, so do the complications in this exploration of desire and self-loathing from directors Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping.

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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, August 21-22: Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic classic was relocated to Edinburgh and reinvented on a set at Leith Theatre for Hope Dickson Leach’s hybrid theatre-film project with the National Theatre of Scotland. Lorn MacDonald, Henry Pettigrew and David Hayman star in a black-and-white retelling of Stevenson’s 1886 story of good and evil.

Superposition, August 19-20: A couple and their young son leave urban life in Copenhagen behind in favour of an isolated forest in Sweden, where they hope to reignite their relationship. But things begin to unravel when they encounter another almost identical family and their surroundings become increasingly hostile.

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