Boyz in the Wood to open Edinburgh Film Festival 2019

The 73rd edition of the long-running festival will kick off with Scottish comedy Boyz in the Wood, the debut film from Ninian Doff, with a cast featuring Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo and Alice Lowe

Article by Jamie Dunn | 01 May 2019
  • Boyz in the Wood

The curtain-raiser for the upcoming edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival will be a home-grown action comedy set deep in the Scottish Highlands. The debut film from Scottish writer-director Ninian Doff, Boyz in the Wood follows four city boys traipsing across the Highlands on a Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, when they attract the unwanted attention of a mysterious huntsman, a menacing Eddie Izzard. Kate Dickie and Kevin Guthrie play the hapless police officers who are failing spectacularly to provide assistance to the boys, as demonstrated in the "first look" clip below.

The logline describes the film, quite tantalisingly, as “an anarchic cocktail of generational politics, hip-hop loving farmers, and hallucinogenic rabbit shites.” It’s pleasing to see EIFF opt for such a wild-sounding opener, particularly after Puzzle last year, which proved a pretty sedate gambit. EIFF’s artistic director Mark Adams calls the film “a blast from start to finish” and says it’ll “start EIFF perfectly".

In addition to familiar faces like Izzard, Dickie and Alice Lowe in the cast, the four lads at the centre of the film are played by upcoming actors Rian Gordon, Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja and Lewis Gribben. Writer-director Doff, meanwhile, is best known for his stylish and playful music videos for the likes of The Chemical Brothers, Miike Snow and Run the Jewels. Doff’s gala screening at EIFF will be something of a homecoming. The Edinburgh-raised director was one of the first graduates of film group SKAMM (Scottish Kids Are Making Movies), which was held at Edinburgh Filmhouse and run by Shiona Wood, to whom Doff dedicates the film in the closing credits.

“It's hard to put into words what a huge honour it is for me to have Boyz in the Wood open the Edinburgh International Film Festival,” said Doff. “It’s been an incredible journey for me and a real tribute to the amazing start I got all those years ago at this very festival.

“I’m from Edinburgh and for my debut film I really wanted to make a film that captured a very particular Scottish joy, madness and humour; and that was also modern, political and forward looking.

“Everybody, both cast and crew, brought so much passion and energy to make this film and it’s going to be very special for it to have its European Premiere, not only in my hometown, but also at such an important festival.”

The 73rd edition of EIFF runs from 19-30 Jun. The full programme will be announced on 29 May. More info at