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The 63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival opens later with the world premiere of Away We Go, the new film by Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes.

Several of the film’s stars including Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Krasinski, from the US version of The Office, are due to join Mendes at the opening gala.

Sir Sean Connery, Alan Cumming and Frost/Nixon star Frank Langella are also expected to attend.

The 11-day festival will show 135 films, including 23 world premieres.

Cinematic setting

The festival’s artistic director Hannah McGill told the BBC Scotland news website: “Edinburgh has an intimacy that is very special: geographically it’s really manageable, and we try very hard to break down barriers between the audiences and the filmmakers.

“Of course there’s a glamour element and respect for the visiting talent, but we want the audience to really feel part of it.

“Also we have the advantage of being in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Edinburgh is really a very special and particularly cinematic setting.”

Highlights include the world premiere of Le Donk, the new Shane Meadows movie, which features the Arctic Monkeys, and the European premiere of Steven Soderberg’s The Girlfriend Experience.

Director of The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky, will be hosting an In Person session during the festival, as will legendary B-movie maker Roger Corman and elusive Scottish filmmaker Bill Forsyth.

BBC Radio Five Live’s Simon Mayo and film critic Mark Kermode will present their own brand of Wittertainment during a live audience event on Friday.

Ms McGill said it was difficult to choose the highlights from such a packed programme, however, she admitted The Crimson Wing, a portrait of the life cycles of flamingos in Tanzania, was a personal favourite.

She added: “I’m thrilled to be bringing two of my favourite actors, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, to Edinburgh for the UK premiere of Carlos Cuaron’s Rudo & Cursi.

“I’m yet more thrilled that the great Joe Dante, director of Gremlins and Innerspace and Matinee, and now 3D pioneer, is going to be on hand – that’s my 80s childhood coming out.

“Then there’s Sharmila Tagore, one of the legends of both arms of Indian cinema: Bengali art film and commercial Bollywood cinema.

“She was the glamour girl of Indian cinema in the 60s.”

“And I’m overwhelmed that Mary Sweeney, the genius who edited the vast bulk of David Lynch’s films, has given us the world premiere of her directorial debut, Baraboo.”

Controversial film Antichrist, by Danish director Lars von Trier, has been added to the festival programme at the last minute.

The dark thriller featuring graphic scenes of sex and mutilation received a mixed reaction at the Cannes festival.

Posted by Connie on June 17, 2009 under Away We Go,Headlines & Rumours and commented by 0 people

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