Edinburgh fest hails the written word


LONDON -- Organizers of this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival have lined up Christopher Hampton, William Nicholson, Paul Laverty and Irvine Welsh to talk about Cinema and the Written Word, the subject of the first themed year in the festival's history.

As part of that theme, the festival also will feature a retrospective dedicated to legendary Hollywood screenwriter Anita Loos, who penned a variety of movies including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," based on her novel.

First-year EIFF artistic director Hannah McGill said that the festival's 61st edition will showcase 120 movies from 31 countries, with 25 billed as world or international premieres.

Gala events will be held for Stefan Ruzowitzky's "The Counterfeiters," Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up," Ethan Hawke's "The Hottest State," Mike White's "Year of the Dog," Billy Ray's "Breach" and Matthew Vaughn's "Stardust."

This year's lineup also includes Anton Corbijn's "Control," Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park," Michael Winterbottom's "A Mighty Heart," Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" and new Pixar entry "Ratatouille."

The festival will close with Julie Delpy's romantic comedy "Two Days in Paris."

Other guests on the talk roster include directors John Waters, Apatow, Stephen Frears and Mike Leigh, and actors Samantha Morton, Chris Cooper, Delpy, Bob Hoskins, Stellan Skarsgard and Tilda Swinton.

Twenty-four documentary titles also will be screened, with David Sington's "In the Shadow of the Moon" and Paul Taylor's "We Are Together" getting the red carpet gala treatment.

The festival, which opens with David Mackenzie's "Hallam Foe," runs Aug. 15-26.