AL Kennedy and Irvine Welsh to be Filmhouse House Guests

These two great Scottish authors will be the next House Guests to guest curate films at the Edinburgh arthouse cinema

Article by Jamie Dunn | 09 May 2018

We love Filmhouse’s House Guest initiative. It’s always fascinating to hear what movies have resonated with people, and the Edinburgh cinema’s House Guest series lets some of the most interesting artists working in Scotland curate their own mini festival, giving us a fascinating insight into the films that have moved and thrilled them.

“We’ve been inspired by the enthusiasm with which our House Guests have embraced the opportunity to put together their very own short film ‘seasons’, not to mention the brilliant array of thoughtful, interesting choices,” says Rod White, Filmhouse’s Head of Programming. “We all have films that mean a lot to us – and it’s a privilege to share our House Guests’ choices with our audiences.”

The upcoming House Guests, announced today, are two great Scottish novelists. August will see Dundee-born author AL Kennedy take over House Guest curatoral duty. Twice named on Granta's Best Young British Novelist list, Kennedy is celebrated for her beautiful but bruising books like So I Am Glad and Looking for the Possible Dance. Her writing may be bleak, but her taste in movies leans towards the comedic, with Howard Hawks’ screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Adam Sandler-starring black comedy Punch Drunk Love among her House Guest selections.

Kennedy is joined on the House Guest roster by Leith’s own Irvine Welsh. September sees the Trainspotting author curate a season that will include melancolic buddy movie Midnight Cowboy, cult teen mod pic Quadrophenia, and Billy Wilder’s quintessential film noir Double Indemnity. Welsh also makes room in his House Guest selection for a film from his old mucker Danny Boyle.

Rather than plump for the director’s pitch perfect adaptation of Trainspotting, Welsh has instead chosen to show Sunshine, Boyle’s gorgeous psychological sci-fi thriller from 2007. “I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face…” admits Welsh. “This is my favourite film of Danny's. It's one of the three he's done where I've bothered to drop him a line saying 'good work mate'. I put it up there with 2001 or the original Solaris in the pantheon of great sci-fi movies.”

There are some tantalising House Guests on the horizon, such as Janice Forsyth. If you’ve ever caught Forsyth's various culture shows on BBC Scotland over the years, you’ll know that when it comes to cinema, she knows her onions. Similarly movie-mad is another upcoming House Guest, Mark Cousins. The Edinburgh-based director has made a string of films about films, including his epic Story of Film and his latest work The Eyes of Orson Welles, which makes its world premiere in Cannes this week. Cousins also has plenty of experience in introducing movies to audiences, following his stints as EIFF artistic director and as the presenter of much-missed series Moviedrome, in which he introduced weird and wonderful cult movies to an unsuspecting BBC2 audience.

Forsyth and Cousins’ Guest House programmes are some way off, but you can get in the House Guest mood from 30 May, as renowned jazz musician and The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra founder Tommy Smith takes over curatorial duty. Smith’s eclectic picks kick off with Ang Lee’s extraordinary Eat Drink Man Woman, and include Luc Besson’s stylish La Femme Nikita and sci-fi frightener Alien.

For more details of the House Guest seasons, head to