Rod White introduces the August 2015 brochure

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Tue 28 Jul 2015

Rod White introduces the August 2015 brochure

"If you're blue and you don't know where to go to..."

As I write this, that's EIFF over for another year. And what a splendid edition it was! As per, I lent a hand hosting intros and Q&As, and once again had the very real pleasure of meeting a whole bunch of filmmakers who were, as is nearly always the case, lovely folks. None more so than that Ewan McGregor I'd have to say, once I'd gotten over the shock of him not remembering me from the last time we met. I mean, it was only 15 years ago!

We now have the long and (presently) hot summer stretching out in front of us, and the triple challenge of competing for your attention against the weather, the world's biggest arts festival, and the film industry's habit of clogging the summer schedules mostly with blockbusters... of varying quality. Having said that, there is more interesting stuff around this July/August than usual, and I'm told that is set to continue year on year as the industry shifts its usual practice once again. Customarily, some of those films (Mistress America and 45 Years) are available to our local competition in August and not to us until September for the usual bunch of hokey reasons, but that's fine because we know you'll wait to see them here...

Despite such challenges, I can confidently assert we've delivered an interesting and varied programme despite the seasonal and enforced exiguity (thanks to University of Edinburgh alumnus Roget for that one) of our preferred kind of films. One of the films that the local competition I mentioned earlier doesn't, thankfully, seem so keen on is Theeb, but it's actually the best of the lot. I watched it many months ago and had no particular expectation of it as just one of hundreds of films needing to be assessed for screening here, but fell for it in a big way. It's set during the First World War, around the same time and place as Lawrence of Arabia, and tells the tale of the young Bedouin boy of the title, drawn by his devotion to his elder brother into the dangerous world of men – soldiers and bandits – and the desert. Many of the screenings are in our biggest screen to make the most of the stunning Fordian/Monument Valley-evoking Jordanian locations. If you see only one film this month, I would make it this one. Trust me, you won't regret it - and if you do, then I'll try my best not to despair of you! Use the Filmhouse Explorer deal and enjoy what might be the best cultural experience you can have for £4.50...

The Diary of a Teenage Girl gets a release following its triumphant EIFF bow (sorry ladies and gents, we can't promise Mr Skarsgård in attendance this time); and, playing like a Spanish True Detective, the 10 Goya-winning Marshland (La isla mínima) tells the dark tale of two homicide cops on the hunt for a serial killer in the astonishing landscape of the country's deep south Doñana region. Beyond Diary, there's also a whole host of other films coming around that played at EIFF, such as the brilliant, very singular take on the biopic (of Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson); Love & Mercy; and Oliver Hirschbiegel's stirring and harrowing film, 13 Minutes, about the man who nearly blew up Hitler in 1939. And there's a few classic restorations too, including Dziga Vertov's seminal doc; Man with a Movie Camera; Hoskins and Mirren in The Long Good Friday and Jirí Menzel's Oscar-winning Closely Observed Trains.

We're partnering up again with our friends at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival Powered by YouTube (26 & 27 Aug) for some great events; and comedian Greg Proops drops in for a couple of editions of his Film Club, where he'll be hosting rare screenings of Bullitt and Young Frankenstein.

Rod White, Head of Filmhouse

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