The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has announced that Sylvain Chomet’s (Belleville Rendezvous) magical animated feature film The Illusionist will be the Opening Gala at this year’s Festival on the 16th of June.
The Illusionist is a story about two paths that cross. The first belongs to an outdated, ageing magician, who travels to Edinburgh from Paris via Glasgow and the Western Isles in search of a venue to perform his act. The second belongs to Alice, a young Scottish girl whose capacity for childish wonder remains intact. Their destinies will collide and send them on a voyage of discovery against the vast Scottish landscape.
EIFF Artistic Director, Hannah McGill, said: “The landscapes of Scotland and Edinburgh have never looked more beautiful than they do in The Illusionist. This is a truly spellbinding work of art by a unique talent who we are delighted to welcome back to the Festival. We are looking forward to a terrific opening night that will draw the eyes of the world and showcase Scotland as the perfect stage for international cultural events.”
To honour the film, the UK premiere will take place at the spectacular Festival Theatre on Wednesday 16 June, the inaugural premiere at this recently announced new venue – Scotland’s largest cinema. Chomet will be attending, heralding his return to the EIFF and says: “Things have come full circle for me. I first discovered Edinburgh during a visit in 2003 when my film The Triplets of Belleville had its UK premiere at the Film Festival. I moved here shortly afterwards to set up my studio with my wife Sally and made another movie. During my time living in Scotland I travelled widely around the country by boat and by train and drew inspiration from the breathtaking landscape. Over the past five years this inspiration has been painstakingly poured back into the picture and the soundtrack of The Illusionist and I am delighted today that the fruits of our labour will be the opening film of this year’s EIFF.”
The evening’s events will include a red carpet extravaganza dedicated to the art of illusion and entertainment, against the magnificent façade of this historic theatrical and cinematic building.
The Illusionist will be released in the UK later in 2010.