Edinburgh International Film Festival has announced it will open with an Orkney set drama starring Saoirse Ronan.

The Outrun, based on Orcadian writer and journalist Amy Liptrot’s acclaimed memoir, will premiere in the UK for the festival’s 77th outing set to begin on August 15.

The Ladybird, Little Women and Atonement star will play a young woman who finds herself washed up back home on the Scottish islands of Orkney as she battles to rebuild her life after a decade of addiction.

The Irish-American actress, who co-produced the film, will attend the premiere alongside director Nora Fingscheidt, writer Liptrot, and producers Sarah Brocklehurst and Dominic Norris.

 The film had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and will be released by STUDIOCANAL in the UK and Ireland on September 27, 2024.

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) will have a revitalised look under new director Paul Ridd.

Organisers also announced the name of their short film competition named after legendary film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who worked on a host of Martin Scorsese films including Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York, and the recently released Killers of the Flower Moon.

She is also expected to attend the festival launch, and the prize named after her comes with £15,000.


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He said: “The Outrun is a truly special film. Powered by an electric and fearless central performance by Saoirse Ronan, this is lyrical, momentous cinema of real rigour and intelligence, and exactly the kind of bold work we want to champion with our relaunched festival.

“I have been a fan of Nora Fingscheidt’s uncompromising, emotional filmmaking ever since her debut System Crasher and I can think of no more fitting combination of announcements than this wonderful film as our opening with the confirmation of the legendary Thelma Schoonmaker’s gracious support for our Shorts Prize.

“We are honoured to be working with such phenomenal women of cinema.”

The Outrun will also star Stephen Dillane, Nabil Elouahbi, Paapa Essidu, and Danyal Ismail. It was largely shot on location in Orkney and had £500,000 of Screen Scotland funding.  

Isabel Davis, Executive Director of Screen Scotland added: “It’s great to see Paul set out his ambition for the relaunched EIFF with such a significant title for Scotland. Orkney’s primal beauty and unique natural landscape is at the heart of things, not only as the setting but as the source of redemption, courage, and healing.   

“Nora’s exceptional talent, combined with Amy Liptrot’s raw, imaginative writing and Saoirse Ronan’s breathtaking performance make for a compelling and emotional ride. And it seems fitting, for a festival that intends to work with its creative partners across the Fringe, Book, TV and International Festivals that this hugely successful creative collaboration should take centre stage.”

The Thelma Schoonmaker competition is to run alongside 10- world-premiere feature films competing for The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence and programming.

The full programme for the festival is set to be released on July 4, with tickets going on sale the same day.

It will take place across a wide range of unique venues including Summerhall and the historic Cameo Cinema in Tollcross.