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Edinburgh under ‘Control’

Corbijn debut lands top prizes in festival

“Control,” the feature debut of Dutch-born photog Anton Corbijn, scooped both top awards at the Edinburgh Intl. Film Festival, which closed Sunday.

Main jury gave pic the Michael Powell Award for new British feature, plus best performance award (a new category this year) to lead actor Sam Riley for his portrayal of late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.

Five-member jury, which included Sundance topper Geoff Gilmore, noted that the movie was “fully and brilliantly realized in every department.”

Eight of the 11 pics competing for the Michael Powell Award were debuts, including Tom Shankland’s crime thriller “WAZ,” Roger Goldby’s romantic dramedy “The Waiting Room” and Jim Threapleton’s low-budget CIA-kidnap drama “Extreme Rendition.”

Also attracting attention were Justin Edgar’s sophomore feature, “Special People,” an offbeat light comedy centered on wannabe filmers in wheelchairs, and Anand Tucker’s “And When Did You Last See My Father?,” from Blake Morrison’s bestselling memoir. Latter, starring Jim Broadbent, goes out Stateside via Sony Classics in February.

David Mackenzie’s Edinburgh-set “Hallam Foe,” with Jamie Bell and Sophia Myles, opened the fest strongly Aug. 15.

Audience Award also went to a British pic, first-timer Paul Taylor’s docu “We Are Together,” about an AIDS orphanage in South Africa. Shown at the end of the fest, docu grabbed the top spot from “Ratatouille,” which had led the audience poll until the final 48 hours.

First program by new artistic director Hannah McGill was generally judged successful, with a wide range of accessible fare and a solid (rather than A-listy) lineup of filmmakers attending.

Big question on everyone’s lips was whether McGill could deliver enough glitz and heavyweight titles/events to justify the fest’s move next year to earlier in the summer (June 18-29), away from the protective embrace of the city’s annual arts jamboree.

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