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New films from 15 countries – plus Armando Iannucci's new feature film – among highlights for 17th filmfest


By Margaret Chrystall


INVERNESS Film Festival director Paul Macdonald-Taylor had one extra surprise to spring when he revealed the full programme of 71 films for this year’s event on Monday – there were 72!

He had announced that his chosen films came from 15 countries at his filmfest preview, before revealing that The Personal History Of David Copperfield, a film he had hoped to include – was only confirmed late, after the film programme had gone to the printers.

Later, the head of film and visual art at Eden Court, said: “There are a lot of film festivals in the UK, so some films tend to be confirmed after a lot of discussion and this was one of those films.

“But it’s better getting a good late answer than an early bad one!

Dev Patel stars in The Personal History of David Copperfield directed by Armando Iannucci.Actor and director Taika Waititi behind Jojo Rabbit – with Hitler as an imaginary friend.
Dev Patel stars in The Personal History of David Copperfield directed by Armando Iannucci.Actor and director Taika Waititi behind Jojo Rabbit – with Hitler as an imaginary friend.

“The Personal History Of David Copperfield was a film that I wanted to screen at the festival from an early point in the programming.

“I love the director Armando Iannucci’s work, and this seemed to be a departure from his usual satire, so it intrigued me more than his other films have.”

Once he had actually seen the film, Paul MacDonald-Taylor had wanted it for the Inverness festival even more.

He said: “When I saw the film at the London Film Festival I really loved it.

“My face hurt from smiling throughout it.

“I think it’s the greatest adaptation of a Charles Dickens novel I’ve seen, and the way the film has been cast is so refreshing.

“Dev Patel is the best he’s ever been.

“Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and Peter Capaldi are truly heart-warming and hilarious.

“It might be a late addition to the festival, but it’s a fabulous addition and I’m delighted that we can show it.”

Tickets have now also gone on sale for this film which it was announced on Tuesday will be screened on Saturday, November 9 at 4pm.

Neil Brand preents a two-hour show of stills and clips with piano accompaniment celebrating Laurel And Hardy.
Neil Brand preents a two-hour show of stills and clips with piano accompaniment celebrating Laurel And Hardy.

The 17th Inverness Film Festival from November 8-14 will return to its regular location at Eden Court with 25 Scottish premieres among the 39 features and 32 short films that will be seen across eight days.

Ordinary Love with Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville.
Ordinary Love with Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville.

As ever, the aim is to showcase the best new cinema from across the world.

Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis in Jojo Rabbit. Picture: Kimberley French. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis in Jojo Rabbit. Picture: Kimberley French. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

But new this year is that 43 per cent of the festival’s new features and short films are directed by women.

The programme for the Inverness Film Festival next month, Portriat Of A Lady On Fire on the cover.
The programme for the Inverness Film Festival next month, Portriat Of A Lady On Fire on the cover.

The list includes new work from major international directors Céline Sciamma (French Cannes award-winner Portrait Of A Lady On Fire), Jennifer Kent (Australian feature The Nightingale) and Kim Longinotto (documentary Shooting The Mafia), as well as debuts from firebrand new talents Mirrah Foulkes (Judy & Punch) and documentary-makers Ellen Fisk with Ellinor Hallin (Scheme Birds).

Motherless Brooklyn directed by and starring Edward Norton is the festival's opening film.
Motherless Brooklyn directed by and starring Edward Norton is the festival's opening film.

The festival opens with Edward Norton’s 1950’s New York mystery Motherless Brooklyn with a cast including Bruce Willis and Willem Dafoe – and closes with Taika Waititi’s World War II satire Jojo Rabbit which portrays Hitler as a lonely boy’s imaginary friend.

Cynthia Evivo stars in Harriet as a former slave who returns to Maryland to save her family.
Cynthia Evivo stars in Harriet as a former slave who returns to Maryland to save her family.

Other highlights include new features from visionary directors Werner Herzog (Family Romance, LLC), Terence Malick (A Hidden Life) and Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse).

The Lighthouse stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
The Lighthouse stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.

The New World Cinema section selects both established and emerging talent from countries including Denmark, Georgia, Kazakhstan and China. Highlights in the documentary strand includes The Cave, focused on the Syrian war and Down The Rabbit Hole, from Inverness director Mike Webster.

Down The Rabbit Hole from Inverness film-makers Mike Webster and James Roddie.
Down The Rabbit Hole from Inverness film-makers Mike Webster and James Roddie.

Special guests appearing this year are composer and broadcaster Neil Brand, presenting his Laurel and Hardy show, and multi-instrumentalist David Allison, delivering a new live score for rarely-screened Rob Roy (1922). Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas will talk about Young Films Foundation with founder Chris Young, alongside screenwriter Olivia Treed (Wuthering Heights) and director Johnny Campbell (Doctor Who, Westworld).

A romcom retrospective features some of the genre’s big hitters and a host of short films cater for youngsters of all ages and adults.

Paul MacDonald-Taylor said: “As we put the Inverness Film Festival programme out, the UK is becoming more insular and inward-looking.

“It is the job of a film festival to look outwards and to celebrate all the diversity and differences that makes this world so wonderful.”

The festival director said: “In our 17th year we have some fantastic new films from around the world, from established directors to those making their first features.

“We are getting closer to gender parity, over 40 per cent of the films are directed or co-directed by women.

“We also celebrate Scottish film with over 30 short films. In this festival we honour our differences by joining together work from around the world – if only everyone were as welcoming.”

Full details available on www.invernessfilmfestival.com Buy tickets at Eden Court box office, online at www.eden-court.co.uk and on 01463 234 234. Keep in touch on Twitter: @InvFilmFest



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