Earlier this week, the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s new artistic advisors Mark Cousins and Lynda Myles delivered "EIFF65: Our Suggestions," the "first fruits" of their rethink of the Festival (which was initially announced late last year). Cousins and Myles outlined a "radical evoluton of form and content" at the festival, and named the first group of guest curators, who will be invited to "to dream what the Festival will and can be, to use film and the fabric of one of the world's most beautiful and potent cities as a canvas, or screen."
"In December, with snow in our hair, we agreed to suggest ideas for the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival," Cousins and Myles said. "What an honour. The EIFF changed film culture. We’re proud to pitch in. Our suggestions try to make Edinburgh the most distinctive film fest in the world, possibly the most spirited and brainiest. For the last month we’ve been working behind the scenes trying to get the film and culture world to join in this rethink... We feel - sincerely - that Edinburgh should lead the world in exploring what film curation is, how it creates mood, audience, loyalty, appetite, expectation, taste, knowledge and joy. It has, at times, including recently, done a lot of this, and Filmhouse does it all year round. So, in our 65th year, to get the juices going we have asked great people in the world of culture – film, music, art, design, etc. – to join our experiment and pitch in ideas for themes, days, moments and events. Some of them will come to the Festival, but what we want are their brains, their taste, their spirit - not their celebrity or any of that secondary mould."
So far, guest curators are an impressive array of international film names including Isabella Rossellini, Gus Van Sant, Jim Jarmusch, Clint Mansell, Apichatpong and Weerasethakul. The full list with descriptions provided by Cousins and Myles below.
ISABELLA FIORELLA ELLETRA GIOVANNA ROSSELLINI: Star of Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Fearless; director; surrealist; founder of Green Porno. Passionate advocate of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini.
GUS VAN SANT: Director of Elephant, My Own Private Idaho, Gerry, Good Will Hunting, Paranoid Park, Psycho, The Last Days, Milk.
SARA DRIVER AND JIM JARMUSCH: Sara is an independent filmmaker, whose You are Not I, based on a Paul Bolwes story, we’re hoping to show. She teaches and produces and writes the films of Jim Jarmusch, her partner. Jarmusch helped create the new American cinema with the film Stranger than Paradise. Down by Law was – well, you know how great it was, how attuned to inner life. Jarmusch helped bring the grace and pace of filmmakers like Hou Hsiao Hsien to world attention.
ALAN WARNER: Acclaimed Scottish author of The Sopranos, The Man Who Walks and Morvern Caller.
MIKE SKINNER: The most acclaimed British song-writer and musician of his generation; a poetic innovator, rapper, chronicler, storyteller and shape-shifter. His Original Pirate Material changed British music. His second single Dry Your Eyes Mate went to number one in the UK charts. He’s just written a film, which he’ll direct.
APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL: Mysterious object at Noon, Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady, Syndromes and a Century and Uncle Boonmee. He’s already as significant to the history of cinema as Jean Cocteau and King Hu. No filmmaker seems so good at making us feel part of the circle of life. It’s his reverie which moves us.
CLINT MANSELL: Brilliant composer of the scores of Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream and Pi, former lead singer of Pop Will Eat Itself.
GREIL MARCUS: Legendary musicologist and cultural critic. His 1975 book Mystery Train drew a mental map of American literature and mythology and placed music on that map. He’s a historian of post-punk, Bob Dylan and Situationism – his whole life is a derive – and is a central figure at the Telluride Film Festival.
Cousins and Myles said that more curators will be announced shortly (the next major announcement is set for "around March 1st"). Festival director James Mullighan exlained that now that the curator have agreed to participate, "they are in dialogue with Mark and Lynda about what it is they might bring. Films, music, art, writing, mood: nothing is off the table at this point."
Mullighan also said that the festival will still have premieres in the midst of all the guest curation.
"Edinburgh has a strong reputation for playing the best of new work, and this won't change," he said. "I don’t know how many at this stage – my team and I are modeling this."
The Edinburgh International Film Festival will run June 15-26, 2011.