British filmmakers vie for Powell award

Andrea Arnold's 'Fish Tank' is an early favorite

The festival’s most important prize is the Michael Powell award for the best new British feature film. Shane Meadows won last year with “Somers Town,” but this year he’s premiering his latest micro-budget movie, “Le Donk,” out of competition.

Among filmmakers vying for the prize, Andrea Arnold, fresh from a positive Cannes response to her sophomore effort “Fish Tank,” starts as favorite among the 11 contenders for the Powell award.

But a strong challenge could come from “Moon,” the directorial debut of Duncan Jones, which has already proved its drawing power by becoming the first film in this year’s program to sell out. Clearly, Scottish sci-fi fans are intrigued by the Internet buzz from the pic’s Sundance premiere.

Julian Kemp is riding warm reactions from the Tribeca audience for his second movie, the quirky romantic comedy “My Last Five Girlfriends.”

The other British movies getting their world premieres at Edinburgh are mostly micro-budget affairs still seeking U.K. distribution. One hot tip is Lindy Heymann’s “Kicks,” about two girls unhealthily obsessed with marrying a soccer player, which comes from Liverpool’s Digital Departures program.

Brian Percival’s “A Boy Called Dad” tackles teen fatherhood, while Jan Dunn’s third movie, “The Calling,” is about a young woman who defies social convention by becoming a nun.

Rather more glitzy is Duncan Ward’s debut “Boogie Woogie,” a flashy satire on the contemporary art world, with a glossy international cast. “Mad, Sad & Bad” is the first film by practicing psychiatrist Avie Luthrie, a comedy about the three grown-up siblings of a dysfunctional Anglo-Indian family.

Edinburgh always finds room for Scottish films. There’s an unusually strong Tartan presence at this year’s festival to coincide with Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, with Justin Molotnikov’s “Crying With Laughter” and Dale Corlett’s “Running in Traffic” both vying for the Powell award.

Outside the competition, Scottish helmer David McKenzie presents his American thriller “Spread,” and Glasgow’s Raindog Theater Company unveils “Wasted,” a gritty drama about two addicted runaway kids.