Edinburgh film Avaritia to be shown at Cannes

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It’s one of the world’s top film festivals – a glitzy carnival of movie stardom set against the pristine coastline of the French Riviera.

And now a university lecturer from Edinburgh is set to take his place among the stars after his short film was picked to premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Avaritia is to be shown at Cannes

Avaritia is to be shown at Cannes

Walid Salhab jets out to the south of France on Thursday to showcase his unique stop motion film Avaritia, which tells the story of a greedy businessman on the hunt for love and companionship.

It is the second time the 55-year-old, who will be joined by his producing and acting team in Cannes, has entered a film into the world-famous festival – after he scooped an Award of Merit for another short back in 2012.

And Avaritia – filmed using a unique blend of stop-motion and live action that stitched together more than 9000 photographs – has already bagged an Award of Excellence from the prestigious Best Shorts competition in California.

Mr Salhab, who teaches media practice at Queen Margaret University, said the reaction to the film so far had been “amazing”, with a host of big-name festivals around the globe now clamouring to showcase the movie – including some that act as stepping stones to the Oscars.

He said: “The actors are just unbelievable – the amount of effort they have put into this film.

“To just lift your hand up in the air takes ten minutes. The whole thing was done over hours and hours of filming.

“One shot would take three hours and we filmed in the winter, so it was below freezing. We took 27,000 different photographs and 9000 made it into the film.

“It took two years – and you don’t know if it’s going to work or not until you go back and watch it on your computer.

“I don’t think this style has been done before. I think it’s a unique film. The people who do stop motion do it in a studio in a controlled environment – this was out in the street.”

He added: “We always use Edinburgh as a background to our films as it’s a great city and has everything going for it.

“With Edinburgh, you can pretend you’re in a few different cities, but it’s all in the one place. You have the modern and the old sides to it. It’s beautiful.”

Mr Salhab has previously gained recognition with his stunning stop motion films of Edinburgh and the Kelpies in Falkirk.

Avaritia – which the director says was made using a budget of “just a few hundred pounds” – will screen in the Short Film Corner of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off tomorrow. The film’s lead actor and producer, ­Robert Welsh, told the Evening News: “Working on this project has been the hardest filmmaking experience I have been involved in. To recreate natural movement whilst filming in stop-motion, in temperatures that sometimes reached minus four for hours at a time in the Scottish winter, was extremely difficult.”