Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller help open event
EDINBURGH — Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller posed on the battlements of Edinburgh Castle and then walked up the red carpet to give the 62nd Edinburgh Film Festival its splashiest opening night in many years.
The world premiere of John Maybury’s “Edge of Love” provided the fest with exactly the kind of high-profile bow it needed as it looks to make the move from August to June pay off.
The organizers hope the new date will push the fest into the media spotlight, and the scrum of national and international press and photographers outside the Cineworld multiplex was evidence they had succeeded. The challenge will be to sustain that initial buzz until the fest closes June 29.
It was, however, just a fluke of timing that allowed the fest to land such a glamorous world premiere after Cannes rejected “Edge of Love.”
“We’re all chuffed to be here,” said Maybury at a press conference in Edinburgh Castle, adding with a laugh, “I’m really glad the French didn’t take it for Cannes.” Edinburgh, he added, is “about filmmaking and not about commerce.”
Another, bigger Knightley costumer, “The Duchess,” is due for release in September, and a probable Venice/Toronto slot for that pic made Edinburgh virtually the only option to get “Edge of Love” out sooner.
Also present at opening night was fest patron Sean Connery, who traveled from California to attend despite having his arm in a sling.
Artistic director Hannah McGill is hoping to capitalize on her ritzy opening with a program of edgy fare, including a dozen world premieres of British movies.
The festival has been given extra funding by the U.K. Film Council and Scottish Screen to expand on its traditional strengths as an event focused on independent cinema and the discovery of new talent.
This year’s edition will include an enhanced program of industry activities, panels and receptions. The fest has used its extra coin to invite more press and industry execs than ever before from London and further abroad to the Scottish capital.