HomeFilmEdinburgh International Film Festival 2021 programme announced

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2021 programme announced

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is back to celebrate its 74th edition, at the heart of festival season between 18th and 25th August, and presents a fantastic programme of features and short films celebrating the long-awaited return to cinema.

This special programme of in-person and digital screenings includes 31 new features and 73 shorts – with 18 marking their world and 3 international premieres at the Festival – and with 50% of the new features in the EIFF 2021 programme from a female director or co-director.

Reflecting the diversity of stories and storytellers from across the world, EIFF’s 2021 programme includes two hugely anticipated musicals: hot from Cannes where it won the Best Director award, the UK premiere of Leos Carax’s ‘Annette’ starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, co-written by pop legends Sparks. There’s also a Special Preview screening of ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ at the Festival Theatre.

The Festival opens with the European Premiere of Michael Sarnoski’s ‘Pig’ with Nicolas Cage as a reclusive truffle hunter, and closes with the UK Premiere of ‘Here Today’ from the comedy legend Billy Crystal, also featuring Tiffany Haddish. 

Nicolas Cage in ‘PIG” – credit: Altitude

Determination in the face of adversity and addressing the social issues permeating societies around the world are strongly represented in this year’s programme. The UK premiere of Haider Rashid’s ‘Europa’ starring British-Libyan Adam Ali as a young Iraqi refugee sees him fighting to survive in the wilderness, while Oscar-nominated Kaouther Ben Hania’s ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ focuses on a young Syrian refugee who agreed to having his back tattooed in exchange for a better life in Europe. 

Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha’s ‘Ballad of a White Cow’ sees a wife fighting against the broken justice system in Iran after her husband is executed for a crime he did not commit and New Zealand’s ‘The Justice of Bunny King’ tells the story of a troubled single mother trying to get the custody of her children back.

This year’s programme also showcases the best of horror from two EIFF-returners: Rebecca Hall in ‘The Night House’ from the genre innovator David Bruckner and ‘Martyrs Lane’ from Ruth Platt reinventing the classic ghost story. The quirky French feature comedy ‘Mandibles’ sees two friends trying to train a giant fly to make money off of it and Norway’s ‘Ninjababy’ beautifully blends animation and live action to tell the story of a young cartoonist and her unexpected pregnancy.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – credit: Amazon Studios


An inspiring range of in-person events and Q&As offer EIFF audiences a unique access to some of the UK and world’s leading film figures.

In Reel Talks, a series of panel discussions around a topic explored in the 2021 EIFF programme, The Power of Connection focuses on our fragile relationship with nature, inspired by the documentary ‘Fathom’ and featuring one of the film’s subject, Dr Ellen Garland. The Whole Picture draws on the themes highlighted in ‘Rebel Dykes’, a documentary about the relatively unknown London lesbian scene in the 80s and includes the film’s director, Harri Shanahan. 

Jennifer Ngo, a journalist and Human Rights Press Award recipient joins a panel discussing issues raised in her documentary ‘Faceless’ which focuses on the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Filmmakers Judy Kibinge, Wanjeri Gakuru and Marie-Clémentine Dusabejambo form the panel Daughters of East Africa to discuss how their filmmaking offers radically different images of themselves and their coming-of-age experiences. This panel discussion and accompanying shorts programme are part of Film Feels Hopeful, a UK-wide cinema season, supported by the BFI Film Audience Network using funds from the National Lottery.

A series of digital Q&As presented as part of this year’s programme includes a conversation with the animation legend Phil Tippett, and a more in-depth look at the career of Laurent Garnier with the director of the documentary ‘Lauren Garnier: Off the Record’ and the French DJ himself. Other special guests include the director of ‘Ninjababy’, Yngvild Sve Flikke, director of ‘Radiograph of a Family’, Firouzeh Khosrovani and director of ‘The Gig Is Up’, Shannon Walsh.

All screenings and events at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival will be delivered in line with Scottish Government Covid-19 mitigation measures in place at the time.

Tickets go on sale at 12noon on Wednesday 28th July for Filmhouse Members, and then on general sale at 12noon on Thursday 29th July.

Full programme information can be found here

John Parker
John Parker
John is a freelance writer and film reviewer for Entertainment Focus.

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