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Top Ten Edinburgh Film Festival Films

Posted by: Matthew Turner 29/06/2009 @ 18:21
Subject: Film

Top Ten Edinburgh Film Festival Films
I was going to put the official EIFF awards as the first post on this blog, but let's face it, you probably know those by now. So without further ado, I present my own top ten Edinburgh Film Festival films, including films I saw in London that were part of the festival. The top three films all got five star reviews, the rest got four stars each.

1. Fish Tank
2. Mary and Max
3. The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
4. Easier With Practice
5. Moon 
6. Stella
7. Humpday
8. Pontypool
9. Modern Love Is Automatic
10. Unmade Beds

Special mentions go to: The Hurt Locker, Little Soldier, The September Issue, Sin Nombre, Adventureland, Crying With Laughter, The Girlfriend Experience, My Last Five Girlfriends, The Maid and For The Love Of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism.

Awards ceremony
Earlier this afternoon I attended the Award Ceremony for the 63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival, which was worth it just to see Sir Sean Connery going off on one about the BBC. The weirdest bit was checking my mail on my phone while waiting for the ceremony to start, only to discover that the press office had already sent out a list of the winners, which rather took the suspense out of things. Anyway, the main awards were dished out as follows: Duncan Jones' Moon won the Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film and Katie Jarvis took the PPG Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film for Fish Tank. I'd thought they might go the other way round, with Fish Tank winning the Michael Powell Award and Rockwell winning the performance award, but never mind. Glad I didn't place that bet now though. I was also delighted that Easier With Practice won the inaugural Best New International Feature Award – director Kyle Patrick Alvarez was a delighted bundle of joy afterwards and rightly so, as the film won CineVegas just two weeks ago. Hopefully this means it'll now get picked up for distribution.

The Rotten Tomatoes Critical Consensus Award went to Humpday, although the only film I ever heard any of them talking about was Stella. If it had been me, I'd have had a hard time choosing between Stella, Humpday and Greg Mottola's Adventureland. I still say Stella was robbed. As for the other awards, Cary Joji Fukunaga won the Skillset New Directors Award for Sin Nombre and the Best Documentary Award was won by Boris Ryzhy, which I didn't see. Finally, The Secret of Kells just beat Crying With Laughter to the Standard Life Audience Award and the McLaren Award for New British Animation was won by Laurie Hill's Photograph of Jesus, which we got to watch as part of the ceremony. A full list of awards can be found here but on a personal note, I'm delighted that three of ViewEdinburgh's featured films won awards. Can I pick them or what? (Seriousness rating of last sentence: low).

Highlights and Lowlights
Where to start with the highlights this year? Accosting Roger Corman as he came out of the Cineworld toilets? Getting to interview the delightful Gerald Peary (whose brother Danny wrote my personal Bible, Danny Peary's Guide For The Film Fanatic, without which, you wouldn't be reading this) for 50 minutes? Interviewing Nitin Ganatra (aka Mas Masood from EastEnders) and having my chair collapse halfway through? Interviewing Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna twice in a row, due to covering interview duties for a friend? Telling Jesse Eisenberg he should lobby Woody Allen to play his alter ego? Or getting to tell Joe Dante how much I love the line “Half Man, Half Ant, ALL Terror”?

Cerrtainly, the party of the festival was the Le Donk party. As for the lowlights, they were relatively few, but they'd include: sitting through a terrible film (which shall remain nameless) and then realising I could have spent a couple of hours with a good friend I don't see very often (and who was only around for two hours) instead; my favourite sandwich shop forgetting my order twice in 5 minutes, right before a screening, which caused me to a) get my money back and b) boycott them for my entire stay – that's a good £35 you missed out on there, La Baguette! The only other lowlights that come to mind are the still-unexplained absence of the surprise film and the fact that the closing night party unexpectedly ended at 1am. But I'll be back next year, oh yes.

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