Edinburgh Film Festival will open with Saoirse Ronan in The Outrun

The much-anticipated adaptation of Amy Liptrot’s The Outrun will open EIFF, and the festival also announced that its short film prize will be named in honour of Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker

Article by Jamie Dunn | 09 May 2024
  • Saoirse Ronan in The Outrun

This year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival has found the perfect film to open its relaunched event: The Outrun, the much-anticipated new film based on Amy Liptrot’s best-selling memoir of the same name.

Many had already guessed that The Outrun might be the film to open EIFF this year – it is, after all, one of the biggest Scottish films of 2024. It stars the über-talented Irish actor Saoirse Ronan, sure to add a bit of star power to the occasion. And it’ll dovetail nicely with the Edinburgh International Festival, which in a nice bit of synergy is premiering a stage adaptation of Liptrot’s book written by Stef Smith.

The Outrun is directed by German filmmaker Nora Fingscheidt – best known for 2019’s System Crasher – and follows Ronan as a young woman who finds herself washed up back home on the Scottish islands of Orkney as she battles to rebuild her life after a decade of addiction. The Outrun premiered at Sundance and Berlin earlier in the year, with many critics quick to praise Ronan's performance. This isn't the first time the Lady Bird star has played a Scot – she displayed a pretty convincing Scottish brogue as Mary Stuart in 2019's Mary Queen of Scots.

We’re told Ronan, Fingscheidt and Amy Liptrot will all attend the opening. Expect Scottish actor Jack Lowden to be at this opening gala too: Lowden developed and produced the project with Ronan, together with producers Sarah Brocklehurst and Dominic Norris.

"The Outrun is a truly special film," says Paul Ridd, EIFF’s new director. “Powered by an electric and fearless central performance by Saoirse Ronan, this is lyrical, momentous cinema of real rigour and intelligence, and exactly the kind of bold work we want to champion with our relaunched festival.”

Edinburgh International Film Festival also announced today that its new short film prize will be named in honour of legendary film editor Thelma Schoonmaker – it'll be titled The Thelma Schoonmaker Prize for Short Filmmaking Excellence. Schoonmaker has long been a supporter of EIFF and has attended the festival several times over the years. She’s also connected to Edinburgh through her late husband Michael Powell, after whom the previous Best British Film award at EIFF used to be named. “We are honoured to be working with such phenomenal women of cinema,” says Ridd.

The full Edinburgh International Film Festival programme will be launched on 4 Jul – watch this space for more news