EDINBURGH, Scotland — It’s 10 days into the Edinburgh Film Festival and everyone is still sniffing around for another “Full Monty.” The U.K. sleeper hit got its first European screening here last year and won the audience award. This year, a handful of pics have industryites buzzing, but there’s no obvious standout yet.
Among the new Brit hopefuls are David Yates’ period pic “The Tichborne Claimant,” Simon Shore’s teen dramedy “Get Real” and Peter Mullan’s “Orphans,” a black comedy about a family coming to terms with a death. None has a distribution deal in place.
“I’m sure phone lines have been buzzing after these screenings,” said fest director Lizzie Francke, who sifted through some 700 submissions to come up with this year’s lineup. “It’s important for the industry to see films with audiences. That’s when films come alive.”
British doc “Divorce Iranian Style” was so well received, Francke said, that its distributor Channel 4 is thinking about postponing the broadcast premiere to slip in a few theatrical dates first.
The fest’s New British Expo (NBX) component kicked off Tuesday and is likely to draw more acquisitions execs to Edinburgh this week. NBX has registered 92 new British films, available for perusal at the NBX videotheque and special screenings until Aug. 30, when the fest closes.
Among the non-U.K. pics to unspool to enthusiastic response were Sundance winners — “Slam” by Marc Levin and “Pi” by Darren Aronofsky — and Rainer Kaufman’s German-lingo thriller “The Pharmacist.” “Pi” was recently snapped up by Pathe for U.K. distribution.
Fest jockeying aside, a lineup of filmmaker events and gala pics have seen a gaggle of celebs pass through the wet and chilly Scottish capital over the past few days.
Emma Thompson stopped in Monday to attend the preem of “Primary Colors.” Given the film’s parallels to the current presidential sex scandal, Thompson said seeing the film with a U.K. audience was “less neurotic — it just cuts too close to the bone in the U.S.” She was joined by fellow Brit cast member Adrian Lester as well as actor Robbie Coltrane (TV’s “Cracker”), among other local luminaries.
Another fest highlight was a live satellite video link with Robert Redford for a masterclass Q&A session in which the actor-director spoke candidly about his career and the genesis of the Sundance Film Festival.
Canadian helmer Atom Egoyan took auds through a scene by scene of his 1994 “Exotica.” And Terry Gilliam, whose “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” screened Monday night, will do a similar behind-the-scenes sesh.
The fest got off to a rockin’ start last week with the Brit preem of Todd Haynes’ glamrock pic “The Velvet Goldmine.” Native Scotsman Ewan McGregor and Haynes were among the guests at the pic’s preem and glam themed party that set the tone for the festival.
Fest topper Francke was literally dazzled that evening — by a flying piece of glitter that forced her to go through the first few days of the fest donning an eyepatch.