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  • John Parker

EIFF 2016: the 15 films you must see

The line-up for the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival was recently announced, once again confirming its status as the festival for film fans. If you want celebs and parties then go to Cannes or Sundance. If you’re looking to make deals then go to Toronto or Berlin. But if you love films, and want to spend two weeks indulging in the most eclectic mix of independent, world, art-house, classic and contemporary Hollywood cinema, then EIFF 2016 is the place to be.

With strands ranging from the Best of British, Directors Showcase and American Dreams, to European Perspectives and the ever-popular journey into darkness that is Night Moves, EIFF has something for everyone.

As part of Entertainment Focus’ continued coverage of the 70th Edition of EIFF, we are taking a closer look at this year’s programme. Selecting films from each of the main strands, we have compiled the 15 must-see films at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. Tickets are on sale now, so don’t delay.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Director: Taika Waititi Cast: Sam Neill and Julian Dennison

From director Taika Waititi, this hilarious and heartfelt odd-couple story follows a troubled teen and a gruff loner who end up being chased by police deep into the wilds of New Zealand.

Maggie’s Plan

Director: Rebecca Miller Cast: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader

Indie darling Greta Gerwig leads an all-star cast in this witty and sophisticated New York set romantic comedy, written and directed by Rebecca Miller.


Director: Jon Cassar Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, Brian Cox, Demi Moore

A good old fashioned Western, about a retired gunslinger seeking redemption for his past, only to be dragged back into the violence of his former life. Director Jon Cassar was at the helm for more than 60 episodes of 24, so when the action starts in Forsaken, you know it’s going to be good.


Director: David Blair Cast: Timothy Spall and Juno Temple

This heart wrenching drama tells the story of two lost souls, who have gravitated towards the bright lights of Blackpool, looking for solace and an escape from their lives.

Moon Dogs

Director: Philip John Cast: Jack Parry-Jones, Christy O’Donnell, Tara Lee

An anarchic, funny, sexy coming-of-age movie, following two teenage step brothers on a road trip across Scotland, and the enigmatic girl who comes between them.

A Conspiracy of Faith

Director: Hans Petter Moland Cast: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Fares Fares, Johanne Louise Schmidt

Scandi-Noir thriller based on the novels of Danish mystery writer Jussi Adler. A box office smash in Denmark, A Conspiracy of Faith follows a team of cold case specialists investigating a case of religious fanaticism, child abduction, and murder.

The Rezort

Director: Steve Barker Cast: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann

The Zombie Apocalypse is over. The remaining living dead are kept in a controlled theme park where tourists can pay to kill them in a controlled environment. Until of course…they lose control. Jurassic Park meets The Walking Dead in this fast-paced horror from the director of Outpost.

The Love Witch

Director: Anna Biller Cast: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise

A wicked and whimsical slice of sexploitation, from auteur Anna Biller, filmed in glorious homage to 1960s Technicolor. Telling the story of a young witch trying to find love through spells and potions, but it never quite goes as planned.

The Commune

Director: Thomas Vinterberg Cast: Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Fares Fares

The Commune reunites Danish director Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) with scriptwriter Tobias Lindholm in a story that focuses on the clash between personal desires versus the solidarity and tolerance in a Copenhagen commune in the mid-1970s.

Mr. Right

Director: Paco Cabezas Cast: Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Tim Roth, James Ransone

A girl falls in love with the perfect guy, only to discover he has one quite considerable flaw – he’s a hitman on the run from the cartels that employ him. A romantic action comedy with a great cast.

The Lure

Director: Agnieszka Smoczyńska Cast: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszańska, Kinga Preis, Jakub Gierszat

A musical fairytale about bloodthirsty mermaids! This Polish fantasy looks insane, wonderful and horrifying in equal measure. We can’t wait to see it!

The Hollow Point

Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego Cast: Patrick Wilson, Lynn Collins, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo

The new Sheriff of a small town along the US/Mexico border investigates a drug cartel deal that went horribly wrong. A dark and violent thriller with a terrific cast.

Yoga Hosers / and Kevin Smith

Director: Kevin Smith Cast: Harley Quinn Smith, Lily-Rose Depp, Johnny Depp, Natasha Lyonne, Haley Joel Osment, Justin Long

The second instalment in Smith’s True North trilogy of madcap Canadian weirdness. There are no human walruses in this one however, just an army of Nazi bratwurst sausages (or Bratzis, if you will). We’ll have whatever he’s smoking please. As an added treat for festivalgoers this year, Kevin Smith is going to be here in person to talk about the film and his career. A guaranteed highlight of this year’s EIFF.


Directors: Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Kolsch, Nicholas McCarthy, Adam Egypt Mortimer, Gary Shore, Kevin Smith, Sarah Adina Smith, Scott Stewart, Dennis Widmyer Cast: Seth Green, Clare Grant, Ruth Bradley, Sophie Traub, Jocelin Donahue, Harley Morenstein, Lorenzo Izzo, Andrew Bowen

Holidays is a disturbing horror anthology film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time by challenging our folklore, traditions and assumptions.

Finding Dory

Director: Andrew Stanton Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Idris Elba, Diane Keaton, Ed O’Neill

This sequel to Pixar’s beloved Finding Nemo, picks up the action six months later, with everyone’s favourite little amnesiac fish suddenly recalling her childhood memories. Any new Pixar film is a cinematic event, and this UK premiere is one not to be missed.

The 70th Edition of EIFF runs form 15-26 June 2016.

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