The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of the finest theatrical showcases around the globe, may steal the city’s spotlight, but Edinburgh is no slouch when it comes to celluloid either. Throughout the year, the screens in the Scottish capital come alive with films that challenge, scare and entertain, followed by insider talks and celebrations in gregarious Auld Reekie style. Treat your eyes to our pick of the city’s finest…
Edinburgh International Film Festival (15–26 June 2016, various venues)
Occult sexploitation, Nordic noir, Cuban drag dramas: Scotland’s biggest film festival has a motley crew of challenging films on its programme. However, it’s not all coming-of-age psychodrama – Pixar’s Finding Dory will premiere here in 2016, and cult favourites and playful animations add a lighter touch. There are fascinating insights from industry insiders, too.
See Leftfield choice Mr Pig, in which Danny Glover goes on a Mexican road trip with a porcine companion – we love to root for an underhog (sorry).
The scary one
Dead by Dawn (21–24 April, The Filmhouse)
Do you like scary movies? Do you love scary movies? Yes? This is the festival for you. For three days, festival director and horror addict Adele scares the living haggis out of an audience of up-for-anything fans. The programme covers schlocky classics, world premieres, spooky docs, shorts, and the occasional sci-fi film; and screenings carry on till the dead of night, which adds to the eerie ambience.
See The favourite from this year’s festival, Patrick Stewart-starring gore-bonanza Green Room. It’s set a high bar for next year’s splatter-level – watch with a strong stomach in 2017.
The subtitled ones
Italian Film Festival (4–17 March), Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (various dates in October) and the French Film Festival UK (4 November–1 December 2016)
Pack your beret and light up a Gauloise – artsy moodiness is afoot. Well, it’s not all existential meanderings and sexily accented introspection; there’s the odd Jacques Tati-inspired screwball comedy, a glam-rock Italian superhero, and a whole lotta amor at the Spanish fest to lighten the mood.
See While upcoming programmes are devised, watch last year’s lauded picks: They Call Me Jeeg (aforementioned superhero shenanigans), tense outdoorsy French drama Wild Life and poignant Spanish flick Magical Girl.
The dinky one
Edinburgh Short Film Festival (26 October–6 November)
Greatness is not measured in minutes; condensing screenings to a less bum-numbing running time doesn’t diminish their emotive punch. In the run-up to the main event, the festival has held Hidden Door screenings of A Wee Night In (a charming look at a tale of old age), 90 Grad Nord (a dark comedy about a businessman held hostage by evil traffic lights), and quirky teen-angst tale Sinkhole. Expect similarly inventive fare.
See Hunt down Paul Bruce’s hilarious Nuns of Evil – a spoof of OTT Hammer Horror films. It was well received last year. Submissions are currently being accepted for 2016
The reality show
Edindocs (12–14 September)
This one’s for you, fact fans! Swap fiction for bizarre and beautiful stories that lay bare life’s minutiae. Former entries have zoomed in on HIV-positive poets, Scottish triathlons and peasant farmers, while outside-the-box picks have included an animated envisioning of phone messages from strangers. Screenings are held in the historic Lyceum Theatre, and Oscar contenders are often sourced here, so the films are for your edification and consideration…
See Last year’s strangest, yet most endearing, pick: Mr & Mrs Panda – an imagined animated conversation between two pandas en route to a new life in a Chinese zoo.
Featured image via Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival