Edinburgh Film Fest Unveils Star-Studded Lineup, U.K. Premiere of 'Welcome to New York'

Wild Bunch
Abel Ferrara's "Welcome to New York" will get its U.K. premiere during the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

"A Most Wanted Man," starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final roles, Bong Joon-ho’s "Snowpiercer" and films with Aaron Paul, Kristen Wiig and Nicolas Cage are among the 156 features to screen at the 68th edition.

LONDON – The Edinburgh International Film Festival on Wednesday unveiled a star-studded lineup for its 68th edition, including Anton Corbijn’s thriller A Most Wanted Man, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final roles, and the U.K. premiere of Abel Ferrara’s controversial Welcome to New York, starring Gerard Depardieu as former International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strass-Kahn.

The festival's Directors’ Showcase will include the U.K. premiere of Bong Joon-ho’s futuristic thriller Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans, John Hurt and Tilda Swinton.

This year's American Dreams section of the fest has been expanded after last year's debut "to highlight the resurgence of American independent cinema," organizers said. It will include the European premiere of Craig Johnson’s drama The Skeleton Twins with Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrrell and Kristen Wiig, David Gordon Green's   Joe, starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan, and family drama Hellion, directed by Kat Candler and featuring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis. Also screening is Gia Coppola’s drama Palo Alto, starring James Franco and Emma Roberts,

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Overall, the festival, which runs June 18-June 29, will screen 156 features, up from 146 last year. The films are from 47 countries and include 11 world premieres, eight international premieres, seven European premieres and 95 U.K. premieres.

Artistic director Chris Fujiwara unveiled the full lineup on Wednesday. Previously announced were the opening film, Gerard Johnson’s Hyena, and the closing gala screening of We'll Never Have Paris, co-directed by Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) and Jocelyn Towne (I Am I), which stars Helberg, Zachary Quinto and Alfred Molina.

Among other highlights, the Edinburgh festival will host the international premiere of America Ferrera relationship drama X/Y from Ryan Piers Williams, screen Jim Mickle’s revenge thriller Cold in July with Michael C. Hall and Don Johnson, and the world premiere of Castles in the Sky from Gillies MacKinnon, the story of the Scottish developer of radar devices Robert Watson-Watt, portrayed by Eddie Izzard.

The latter is among the contenders for the Michael Powell Award, which British filmmakers compete for at the festival. The other contenders include Andy Goddard's Set Fire to the Stars, a semi-biographical drama depicting the life of poet Dylan Thomas that stars Elijah Wood.

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After a three-year hiatus, this year’s festival will also see the return of the award for best documentary feature, supported by Al Jazeera. And two country focuses will showcase films from Germany and Iran.

The Edinburgh fest will also feature a rare theatrical screening of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. And a series of "Hero Hangouts" will see stars interviewed on stage, including Johnson, Wood and Helberg and Towne.

Said Fujiwara: "A film festival must keep trying to remain challenging, provocative and responsive, and I believe the program we’re unveiling today shows our success at doing that this year. It’s a diverse and artistically strong program that will delight and surprise our audiences, both old and new, and that will reward those who share our passion for exploring cinema in all its forms."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai