This year is quite a milestone for SDI and our relationship with the 73 year old EIFF, the world’s longest continually-running film festival. For 15 years, ever since the inception of the initiative, our Bridging the Gap short films have had their World Premieres at the esteemed festival. This year we’ll again be releasing more of them out into the world! To celebrate, we have curated a special programme entitled Phenomenal Women, with a retrospective of Bridging the Gaps shorts from our archive, a programme of shorts by female Syrian filmmakers and four documentary features from female directors we admire, including Maja Borg’s Future My Love. We’re very proud to have screened so many of our own features at Edinburgh over the years, and 2019 is no exception. On top of this, our annual Edinburgh Pitch is back, and bigger and better than ever!
We are delighted about the World Premiere of Paul Duane’s latest feature Best Before Death, executive produced by SDI’s Finlay Pretsell. It follows the always-intriguing artist Bill Drummond over a two-year period during his ambitious 12-year world tour. He works in Lexington, North Carolina, and in Kolkata, India, engaging with local communities through his art/work project. He builds beds, bakes cakes, makes soup and shines shoes. Drummond’s clear-sighted vision of what he’s doing is inspirational, practical and from the heart, and, though he receives a variety of reactions from amused to perplexed, he interacts with observers with charm and easy grace.
Then we’re on to another World Premiere with our 2019 Bridging the Gap shorts! This eclectic mix from new Scottish and Northern Irish documentary talent is guaranteed to get your blood pumping. Making the internal external, capturing humanity in intimate moments of passion, frustration and love; the heat of a pasodoble, a cathartic festival of fire for a Basque mother, a violent past leads to new tenderness, an aneurysm makes life no joke, a grandmother imparts the language of her heart.
We highly recommended you follow up that screening with Phenomenal Shorts: Celebrating 15 Years of Bridging the Gap, which will take the form of a hand-picked selection of eight films from the archive. These stories reflect the collective experience of Scottish-based female filmmakers, their wild island home erupts with dainty ballerinas and curious breadmakers, delving into the myths and complexities of this beautiful land and its thriving communities.
Also part of the programme is Phenomenal Shorts: Syrian Stories – Female Voices. Women in Syria have not only borne the brunt of the country’s lengthy civil war, they have been marginalised, abused and rendered invisible. In this collection of short films made during SDI workshops in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan in collaboration with British Council, female Syrian filmmakers share their experiences and perspectives of being a refugee.
With the curated features selection we’ve decided to celebrate the art of documentary filmmaking through the lens of international female directors. The women included in this programme focus their gaze on stories that quietly shift our understanding and experience of the world and pique our curiosity, regardless of our age or with whom we hold hands. These films are Maja Borg’s Future My Love, Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei’s Laila at the Bridge, Sara Ishaq’s The Mulberry House and Camille Budin’s Children of The Universe.
And we have the Edinburgh Pitch, the only international documentary pitching forum in Scotland, now in its 13th year! Independent filmmakers and companies developing and raising finance for creative feature documentaries will pitch their project in front of an international panel on Tuesday 18th of June. Join us as an Observer to find inspiration, learn how to present your project on an international platform and be amongst the first to discover some exciting new projects from the four corners of the documentary world! You can purchase your Observer Pass here.
Want to join the Bridging the Gap clan? Some of our alumni directors will host a youth panel called Introduction to Bridging the Gap for anyone aged between 15-25 interested in the scheme.
If you’re interested in questions of ethical documentary filmmaking such as what is the everyday impact on protagonists, makers and crew? What methods of support exist and what is best practice when embarking on a non-fiction narrative? Then join us at the Minding Non-Fiction Industry event.
Speakers will include our very own Noe Mendelle and Directors and EIFF programme guests Alexandre Chartrand (And With A Smile, The Revolution!) and Catherine Hébert (Ziva Postec. The Editor Behind the Film Shoah).
You can check out the full programme of the 73rd Edinburgh International Film Festival here. Tickets are now on sale.