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Vampires and Indian cinema legends at Edinburgh

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) announced today two unique programme highlights and two established strands, ahead of the Festival’s main programme launch on Wednesday 6 May.

CINEMATIC TELEVISION is the first time the EIFF has married cinema and television in their programme, offering audiences the UK premieres of high concept TV drama on the big screen. Ahead of its UK July transmission on FX, the EIFF will screen the first two episodes of much anticipated US vampire drama TRUE BLOOD, from creator Alan Ball (SIX FEET UNDER). The ‘first week’ of daily HBO drama IN TREATMENT, starring Gabriel Byrne, will have its exclusive UK premiere - screening 5 episodes of the critically acclaimed and award winning series. Examining the growing trend of CINEMATIC TELEVISION, a panel event will allow audiences the chance to interact with industry professionals who are directly involved in the phenomenal success of high quality 'event' TV shows boasting production values at least as high as those of the average cinema release.

Bringing West Bengal to Edinburgh at the Paradise Movie Hall, the EIFF presents a three day Bengali cinema extravaganza, curated by Mark Cousins, which will convert St Johns Church Hall in the heart of the city into a magical forest cinema. Screening seven classic Bengali films by Satyajit Ray (DEVI; DAYS AND NIGHTS IN THE FOREST), Ritwik Ghatak (THE CLOUD CAPPED STAR; A RIVER CALLED TITAS), Tapan Sinha (NIRJAN SAIKATE; WHEEL CHAIR) and Anup Singh (THE NAME OF A RIVER), the Paradise Movie Hall is in partnership with the British Council and Scottish Government, and is followed by a programme of West Bengali films touring Scotland in the autumn. Bengali muse of Ray and legendary Bollywood movie star, Sharmila Tagore, will also be attending the Festival for an In-Person onstage interview where she will be discussing her passion for West Bengali film culture; her work as Chair of India’s Board of Film Certification and UN Goodwill Ambassador, and her cinema career.

Paradise Movie Hall curator, Mark Cousins, said: "By turning a wee Scottish church hall into a magical space, we're trying to re-capture the wonder of movie-going when you are a kid. We're showing West Bengali films in that little forest cinema because the creative heart of Indian cinema is in West Bengal. We invited the first lady of Bengali cinema, Sharmila Tagore, because she's a legend and her career is unique. We hoped she'd come, but it was a long shot. It paid off. We're totally thrilled. She can tell us first hand about Indian cinema's Chekhov, Satyajit Ray, and the great Tapan Sinha. She can open a window of the world on the great Bengali films. In our wee makeshift Paradise Movie Hall. How great is that? This is what film festivals are for."

Cult late night sections NIGHT MOVES and UNDER THE RADAR boast an international array of kitsch, horror, raw and risk-taking work, as well as films from established filmmakers. Genre maestro Dario Argento’s world premiere of GIALLO screens as part of NIGHT MOVES, alongside the world premieres of Stuart Hazledine’s EXAM and Laurence Gough’s SALVAGE, both from the UK. Jamie Blanks directs Jim Caviezel in Australian film LONG WEEKEND, and classic Asian horror is resplendent in Kelvin Tong’s RULE #1. Rufus Sewell and Emmanuelle Béart are also in dangerous Thai/Burmese waters in Fabrice Du Welz’s VINYAN while PONTYPOOL from Bruce McDonald will satisfy all zombie fans and Scott Sanders’ BLACK DYNAMITE is a razor sharp parody of the 70’s Blaxploitation genre.

UNDER THE RADAR returns to the Festival for the second time, after last year’s successful unveiling of cutting edge new movie making to enthusiastic audiences. Featuring five films, including two world premieres, no subject matters are taboo across UNDER THE RADAR, including Zach Clark’s wild, deadpan sex satire MODERN LOVE IS AUTOMATIC. Zombies return in the world premiere of ROMEO & JULIET vs THE LIVING DEAD from Ryan Denmark while Appalachian mountain dancer Jesco White is portrayed as a gory legend in Dominic Murphy’s debut, WHITE LIGHTNIN’. Sinister secrets of a lonely London life are revealed in the world premiere of Gerard Johnson’s urban nightmare TONY and Robert Byington’s hilarious HARMONY AND ME is an anti-romcom that tackles heartbreak, bad sex and the social rights of coma victims.

EIFF Artistic Director Hannah McGill commented: “In many ways NIGHT MOVES and UNDER THE RADAR are the heart of EIFF: these after-dark screenings are where you find the real die-hards, the people hellbent on a really extreme film experience. This is a varied selection, though, with full-on horror like GIALLO rubbing shoulders with out-and-out comedy, low-budget British fare and US indie comedy. What brings it all together is the filmmakers' slightly deranged commitment to making exactly the films they want to make - regardless of taste, dignity, budgetary constraints or moral principles! We look forward to unleashing this wild and exciting work on our audiences.”

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