Edinburgh Film Festival announce celebrity guests

Edinburgh International Film Festival announce who’ll be walking the red carpet this year, with guests ranging from Kelly Macdonald and Samantha Morton to Ben Elton and Rob Brydon

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 11 Jun 2018
  • Kelly Macdonald in Puzzle

Fan of celeb spotting? While Edinburgh International Film Festival might not attract the same volume of A-listers who would visit the festival in its heyday, this year offers up a smattering of interesting filmmakers and actors heading to Edinburgh with work.

It’s confirmed that Kelly Macdonald will join the festival for opening gala Puzzle while Rob Brydon will be here for the closer, Swimming with Men. In between you’ll find the wonderful Samantha Morton walking the red carpet for Two for Joy, and she’ll be joined by co-stars Billie Piper and Daniel Mays, as well as the film’s producer Sadie Frost (also in town with Lucid, in which she stars).

There’s a fair number of Antipodean-based actors and filmmaker going the long-haul to Edinburgh this year. Former Home and Away star Melissa George is here for The Butterfly Tree, in which she plays a woman who has both a 13-year old boy and his father vying for her affection. Also heading to Edinburgh from Down Under is Ben Elton. The former alternative comedy hero and writer of two of the great British sitcoms of the 80s (The Young Ones and Blackadder) hasn’t written anything of note in years, so perhaps living in a different hemisphere has given him a new lease of life. Find out when he walks the red carpet for Aussie folk music comedy Three Summers.

Also clocking up the airmiles is Stephan Elliott, with the writer-director of flamboyant gem The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in town for his new riotous comedy Swinging Safari (aka Flammable Children). Starring Guy Pearce and Kylie Minogue, this looks raunchy and hilarious, so snap up a ticket.

This year’s EIFF line-up is thin on great cinema auteurs, but we do have a rare appearance from Scotland’s greatest living filmmaker: Bill Forsyth. He’ll be here for a special screening of his lyrical comedy Local Hero, which will be followed by a chinwag with The Royal Lyceum’s Artistic Director David Greig, who’s currently working with Forsyth on the stage adaptation of this much-loved 1983 film.

Kevin Macdonald will also be at EIFF with his thoughtful Whitney Houston doc, Whitney, as will fellow documentarian Mark Cousins, who has two films in the programme: The Eyes of Orson Welles and curious split-screen experiment Storm in My Heart.

One of the absolute highlights of this year’s festival is the American Woman: Female Directors in American Cinema 1980-1990 retrospective, and a handful of the filmmakers featured in the programme are expected to attend, including Susan Seidelman (Smithereens), Lynne Littman (Testament), Donna Deitch (Desert Hearts) and Jennie Livingston (Paris is Burning). We’re told they’ll be delivering a range of exclusive Q&As as part of this lively and topical rep programme.

This year’s jurors have also been confirmed, although over which competitions they will preside is unclear. Jason Connery – son of Sean and director of 2016 opener Tommy’s Honour will sit on one of the juries, as will British actor Susan Wokoma (Chewing Gum), Burkinabé film director Gaston Kabore (Wend Kunni) and Romanian actor Ana Ularu (Inferno, and cult television series Emerald City), who also appears in EIFF short film Life Share.

Also on EIFF jury duty will be Dublin International Film Festival artistic director Grainne Humphreys, film critics Kate Muir and Miriam Bale, and legendary Iranian star Fatemeh (Simin) Motamed Arya.

And as previously announced, they’ll be an In-Person event with Stephen Moyer and his True Blood co-star and real life partner Anna Paquin – they’re in Edinburgh with Moyer's directorial debut The Parting Glass. Also appearing on stage is award-winning playwright, screenwriter, theatre and film director David Hare, who’ll be discussing his career in cinema and theatre. There’s also an in-depth talk planned with talented young actor George MacKay (Captain Fantastic, Sunshine on Leith), who’s attending EIFF with his new film The Secret of Marrowbone.

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018 runs from 20 Jun-1 Jul