IT may be the last Edinburgh International Film Festival before a “transformational” new film studio is opened in Scotland.

As the capital’s film festival officially begins this week, after a gala screening of Pixar’s Toy Story 4 at the Festival Theatre, its 2019 programme is likely to be the last before a major international-scale facility opens in Leith, Edinburgh.

The festival rolls out its red carpet for film makers, actors, producers and screenwriters as reports suggest that a major deal between Amazon Studios and Screen Scotland, the new national film agency, over the filming of a major new dramatic series based on the writings of JRR Tolkien are at “an extremely advanced stage.”

While the foreground of this week will be the opening of the EIFF, with a strong European presence in the 121 features on show, the background detail is the potential for a large industrial complex in the Port of Leith, known as the Pelamis Building, to add a multi-stage movie and TV facility to the Scottish film industry’s landscape.

The EIFF officially opens on Wednesday with a film set in Scotland, Boyz in the Wood, which stars Rian Gordon, Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja and Lewis Gribben as well as Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo and Kevin Guthrie in an adventure set in the Highlands.

Mark Adams, the director of the festival, said thus far ticket sales for the festival were going “really well”.

The possibility of a major studio opening in Edinburgh, he said, was also potentially a significant moment for the screen industry.

The Amazon series, set in an age before The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies, would be a five year project, it has been reported with one source saying: “A deal is as good as done to confirm five years of filming in the new Leith soon as the venue is ready for purpose, filming will start.”

Last night Adams noted: “Anything like that that provides work and skills and experience and jobs will be beneficial long term.

“Anyone here who works on a long term production like that will learn a lot, not only actors but hair and make up, the crew, the production staff - they will all be given so much experience. The benefit are many, and we have seen what happened [in Northern Ireland] with Game of Thrones.”

He added: “The reaction to the programme for this year’s festival has been really positive: people react to different things in it - some like the big Hollywood films, as usual there’s been a lot of interest in the Scottish documentaries.

“It is a busy first week with the opening premiere and the In Person event with Danny Boyle on Thursday.”

Boyle, director of the Trainspotting films among others, will be appearing at an In Person event, as will the actor Jack Lowden, Nick Broomfield, the writer, actor and director Pollyanna McIntosh and award-winning film producer Rebecca O’Brien.

The festival, which runs from 19-30 June, will also feature a tribute to Agnes Varda, the lauded French film maker who died in March, and it closes with biopic Mrs Lowry & Son, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall.

When the programme for the 73rd edition of the festival was launched, the director noted how it would have been, if not for political turmoil at Westminster, the first film festival after Brexit.

He said: “We haven’t had the opportunity to do this before, we’ve linked our national focus, Spain, with our retrospective, both new films and older films, and we just wanted to pay tribute to the great cinema of Europe.

“This time, when we were planning on this, theoretically, we would have been out of Europe [on 29 March].

“And who knows what is going to happen now? It is a very interesting thing: the original vote for held in the middle of the Festival [on 23 June, 2016].

“It’s very important for us, we work with talent from all around the world, and anything that is going to make coming here, not just Europeans, but anyone coming into the UK, more complicated with visas and so on [is important].

“We really have to celebrate everybody’s culture and their ability to bring it here.”

Boyz In The Wood, a debut feature by writer and director Ninian Doff is set in the Scottish Highlands and is about four boys who try to escape a mysterious hunter.

Of Boyz in the Wood, he said: “This is a young Scottish talent, an Edinburgh talent [Doff], that is doing something different - it’s not linear, it’s not period.

“It’s a bit like Trainspotting meets Calibre, it has that mixture of energy and youth and craziness, with a bit of darkness around the edges.”

EIFF will screen 18 feature film world premieres, 12 International Premieres, eight European Premieres and 78 UK Premieres from 42 countries in its 73rd edition and run until 30 June.