×

Gerard Johnson’s Thriller ‘Hyena’ to Open Edinburgh Film Festival

Nine British pix selected by Edinburgh chief Chris Fujiwara compete for the Michael Powell Award

LONDON — Gerard Johnson’s thriller “Hyena” will open the Edinburgh Film Festival on June 18.

The film stars Peter Ferdinando (“Starred Up”) and Stephen Graham (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), MyAnna Buring (“Downton Abbey”), Neil Maskell (“Wild Bill”), Elisa Lasowski (“Somers Town”) and Richard Dormer (“Good Vibrations”).

Pic revolves around anti-hero Michael Logan (Ferdinando), a natural predator, and a complex mix of high-functioning addict and corrupt police officer, whose dark world is evolving. A recent influx of ruthless Albanian gangsters is threatening to change London’s criminal landscape. Logan’s razor sharp instincts have always kept him one step ahead, but now his increasingly self-destructive behavior and the sheer brutality of the new gang lords find him in a spiraling descent of fear and self-doubt.

Chris Fujiwara, Edinburgh’s artistic director, said: “It’s a powerful and beautifully directed thriller that clearly establishes director Gerard Johnson as a major talent in British filmmaking. It’s also an exceptional example of the kind of film that our festival has traditionally supported: a work in which a director of artistic integrity takes a vigorous and imaginative approach to the renewal of a film genre.”

The film is produced by Stephen Woolley, Elizabeth Karlsen and Joanna Laurie. Sam Lavender and Katherine Butler exec produced for Film4, which developed the pic. It was co-financed by Film4, BFI, Ingenious and Lipsync.

Popular on Variety

The pic will join eight other British films in competition for the festival’s Michael Powell Award. The films, which were selected by Fujiwara, will be judged by an international jury. The award rewards imagination and creativity in British filmmaking.

The other films competing are:

– Gillies Mackinnon with the world premiere of “Castles in the Sky,” the story of Scottish engineer and developer of radar, Robert Watson-Watt, played by Eddie Izzard.

– Guy Pitt with debut feature “Greyhawk,” which stars Alec Newman as a withdrawn, blind ex-soldier who loses his beloved guide dog on an infamous housing estate.

– Joanna Coates’ “Hide and Seek,” a study of a modern attempt at living a utopian ideal. It makes its world premiere.

– Charlie Weaver Rolfe’s directorial debut “My Accomplice,” a romantic comedy set in English seaside town Brighton. It receives its world premiere.

– Andy Goddard with the world premiere of “Set Fire to the Stars,” a drama about Dylan Thomas battling his demons in 1950s New York. Celyn Jones plays Thomas and Elijah Wood is John Malcolm Brinnin.

– Graham Hughes’ “A Practical Guide to a Spectacular Suicide,” a comedy about a young man who wants to kill himself and starts a blog charting his plans for the ultimate “spectacular suicide.”

– Uberto Pasolini’s “Still Life,” with Eddie Marsan as a city hall worker charged with finding the next of kin of those who have died alone.

– Antony Petrou’s “We Are Monster,” based on the real-life case of an Asian teenager brutally murdered in his cell in a U.K. young offenders institution by a racist fellow inmate. It receives its world premiere.

The festival runs June 18-29.

More Film

  • Parasite Movie

    'Parasite' Enjoys Record Box Office Boost After Oscar Wins

    Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” is reaping box office riches after its groundbreaking Oscar best picture win. The twisted South Korean thriller collected $5.5 million over the weekend, an exceptional 234% increase in ticket sales and the biggest post-Oscar boost for a best picture winner in the past decade. In the seven days since the Academy [...]

  • Nikita Pearl Waligwa

    Nikita Pearl Waligwa, Actor in Disney's 'Queen of Katwe,' Dies at 15

    Nikita Pearl Waligwa, an actor who appeared in Disney’s biographical drama “Queen of Katwe,” has died, according to BBC and the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor. She was 15. Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016 and seemed to recover a year later. However, in 2019, another tumor was found. “Queen of Katwe” [...]

  • James Marsden and Sonic (Ben Schwartz)

    'Sonic the Hedgehog' Dominates Box Office With Mighty $57 Million Debut

    Paramount’s family film “Sonic the Hedgehog” ignited over Presidents’ Day weekend with $57 million in North America and $100 million globally, the biggest showing ever for a video game adaptation. “Sonic” is expected to earn $68-70 million through Monday, one of the best results for the holiday weekend. The better-than-expected start is even more notable [...]

  • Shaun the sheep

    How '80s Sci-Fi Films Inspired 'Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon'

    Shaun, everyone’s favorite sheep, is back, and this time he’s facing aliens and robots in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.” Directors Will Becher and Richard Phelan teamed together on this film for their first full-length collaboration. While the two have been working at Aardman Studios, Phelan’s background was as a story artist and Becher’s [...]

  • Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE

    Box Office: 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Speeding to $65 Million Opening Weekend

    “Sonic the Hedgehog” is speeding to a $65 million opening at the North American box office this President’s Day weekend, according to estimates. Paramount’s action-adventure, based on the Sega video game character, had been pegged to generate $40-45 million prior to its launch. Should estimates hold, it could break the $54 million record set last [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content