The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has announced that Sylvain Chomet's acclaimed animated feature film "The Illusionist" will be the Opening Gala at this year's Festival, which runs from June 16 - 27, 2010.
Directed, adapted and designed by Chomet ("The Triplets of Belleville"), from the original script by French cinema legend Jacques Tati, the film has been described as a "love-letter to Edinburgh" by Variety.
"The landscapes of Scotland and Edinburgh have never looked more beautiful than they do in The Illusionist," EIFF Artistic Director Hannah McGill said in a statement. "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 honor the film, the UK premiere will take place at the Festival Theatre on Wednesday 16 June, the inaugural premiere at this recently announced new venue - Scotland's largest cinema. Sylvain Chomet will attend, heralding his return to the EIFF: his visit to the Festival in 2003 inspired both his relocation to Edinburgh and the setting for "The Illusionist."
"Things have come full circle for me," Chomet said in a statement. "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 make 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."