64th Edinburgh International Film Festival conjures up The Illusionist for opening gala

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) announced on Wednesday 7 April that Sylvain Chomet’s magical animated feature film THE ILLUSIONIST will be the Opening Gala at this year’s Festival, which runs from 16 – 27 June 2010.

Released in the UK by Warner Bros. Pictures UK on behalf of Pathe, THE ILLUSIONIST is directed, adapted and designed by Academy Award® nominee Sylvain Chomet (THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE / BELLEVILLE RENDEZVOUS), from the original script by comedy genius and French cinema legend Jacques Tati (MR HULOT’S HOLIDAY; PLAYTIME). A delightful fairy-tale depiction of Scotland, the film has been described as a “love-letter to Edinburgh” (Variety).

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. 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.  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 director Sylvain Chomet said: "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 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."

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