The 73rd instalment of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) arrives in the Scottish capital in June, bringing with it a wealth of new cinematic ideas and film premieres. Showcasing the very best in international cinema, the EIFF takes place on 19-30 June and is renowned around the world for discovering and championing British talent and for encouraging changes in global filmmaking.
With a dynamic programme of experimental cinema, documentaries, shorts and feature films, the festival is a celebration of the cinematic world and allows audiences to engage with film in new and exciting ways in venues across the city. British directors including Danny Boyle, Bill Forsyth and Stephen Frears have all premiered their work at the EIFF in the past.
The EIFF screenings and galas take place at five main locations in the centre of Edinburgh, with a distinct focus on inclusivity and accessibility.
Filmhouse: A three-screen independent cinema, serving as the festival’s official home and as the central box office, at 88 Lothian Road, EH3 9BZ.
The Festival Theatre: A performing arts venue with a contemporary glass-fronted foyer and large art-deco auditorium for the main galas at 13-29 Nicolson Street, EH8 9FT.
ODEON: With the capability of showing both 2D and 3D screenings, ODEON is a state-of-the-art cinema at 122 Lothian Road, EH3 9BG.
Traverse Theatre: Scotland’s foremost new writing theatre. Established in 1963, it features two custom-build and versatile theatre spaces at 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED.
VUE: A 12-screen venue with three digital 3D screens and more than 2,100 seats at the Omni Leisure Building, Greenside Place, EH1 3AU.
The EIFF main events
The EIFF programme includes a varied mix of screenings, as well as several high-profile events and galas, as detailed below.
Toy Story 4 – Pre-festival screening
The next instalment of Disney Pixar’s incredibly popular Toy Story franchise is set for a special pre-festival screening at the Festival Theatre. Tom Hanks will once again voice Woody in Josh Cooley’s animated tale Toy Story 4, with the screening scheduled five days before the film is released to UK cinemas on 21 June. The festival has a long standing partnership with Disney Pixar and has hosted gala screenings of the award-winning WALL-E, Toy Story 3 and Inside Out in past years.
When and where? Festival Theatre Main Hall, 16 June 2019 at 3pm
Film Fest in the City with Edinburgh Live
Free open-air cinema returns to St Andrew Square Garden for the eighth time in 2019, with three days of screenings of new and old releases just days before the festival gets underway. EIFF, in partnership with Essential Edinburgh, will screen the Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman and Mary Poppins Returns, as well as Mamma Mia! and sequel Mamma Mia 2 as part of Film Fest in the City with Edinburgh Live. In addition, there will be screenings of Groundhog Day, The Iron Giant, Xanadu, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse and When Harry Met Sally, while an array of pop-up bars will provide refreshments.
When and where? St Andrew Square Garden, 14-16 June
Opening Night Gala: Boyz in the Wood
The European premiere of the social satire Boyz in the Wood will kick-start EIFF 2019. Described as an “anarchic cocktail of generational politics, hip-hop loving farmers, and hallucinogenic rabbit droppings”, music video director Ninian Doff’s first foray into feature film follows four city boys as they try to escape a mysterious huntsman deep in the Scottish Highlands. Just don’t expect the Highlands’ police force to provide any meaningful assistance.
When and where? Festival Theatre, 19 June at 8.45pm
The Family Gala: UglyDolls
Animated musical adventure and global plush-toy phenomenon UglyDolls will premiere at the Family Gala of this year’s festival, giving festival goers a unique opportunity to walk the red carpet. Featuring the acting and singing voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, Janelle Monae and Pitbull, director Kelly Asbury’s animated tale confronts notions of beauty in a fun and unusual way.
When and where? Festival Theatre, 23 June at 2pm
The People’s Gala: Balance, Not Symmetry
The Jamie Adams drama Balance, Not Symmetry will provide a cinematic tribute to music, art and Scotland at the People’s Gala. Made in close conjunction with Scottish band Biffy Clyro, who assisted with both the storyline and the score, and starring Laura Harrier (of Spider-man: Homecoming fame), the inspirational and moving film is set for its debut during EIFF.
When and where? Festival Theatre, 23 June at 8.30pm
Closing Night Gala: Mrs Lowry and Son
The world premiere of Adrian Noble’s intimate biopic of renowned painter L.S. Lowry, Mrs Lowry and Son will bring the curtain down on EIFF 2019. Timothy Spall stars as the iconic British artist, who found fame for his depictions of industrial life in north-west England. Vanessa Redgrave provides support as Lowry’s mother Elizabeth, with whom the artist lived until her death. The film focuses on the relationship between the pair and on Lowry’s quest for recognition of his work, and Vertigo will release it to UK audiences this summer.
When and where? Festival Theatre, 30 June at 5.15pm
The full programme of events for the 73rd edition of EIFF is released on 29 May 2019, with tickets going on sale to EIFF Friends and Filmhouse Members at 12pm the same day.
Tickets go on public sale at 10am on 31 May 2019.