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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 August 2005, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
Curtain up on city movie festival
Richard E Grant
Actor Richard E Grant was born in Swaziland
The premiere of a home-grown film by actor Richard E Grant has opened the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Wah-Wah, the directorial debut of Grant, kicked off the event which is playing host to 12 world premieres.

Julie Walters, Elijah Wood and Gabriel Byrne are among the stars attending the 12-day festival.

Other new British films to be screened over the next two weeks include Asylum, which stars Sir Ian McKellen and Natasha Richardson.

Grant's film - which is said to be semi-autobiographical - tells the story of a fragmenting family as British rule draws to a close in the southern African country of Swaziland, where the actor was born.

Film debuts

Another 50 films will be shown in the UK for the first time at the festival.

The event will also bestow awards on films in various categories, including the audience prize.

Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood will be in Edinburgh to promote Green Street

Previous winners of the award include Billy Elliot, Amelie and The Full Monty.

Last year's winner of the best British feature prize was My Summer Of Love.

Other awards which will be handed out in the Scottish capital include new director, best British short film and best animation.

But some film industry experts are calling for Edinburgh to start awarding a major prize along the lines of Cannes' Palme d'Or and Berlin's Golden Bear.

Horror prequel

A series of "reel life" events hosted by names from the film industry are also on the programme at Edinburgh.

Film-writer Paul Schrader will screen his prequel to horror classic The Exorcist at the festival.

Dominion has only been shown in public once before, a fact which has attracted a lot of interest.

The film festival's artistic director Shane Danielsen said the event has sent box office sales "through the roof", while tickets are being exchanged on internet auction site eBay for several hundred pounds.

Another British film, gangster tale The Business, is set to bring the 59th festival to a close on 28 August.

  • An Edinburgh Fringe show who put themselves on Ebay to help raise funds for the festival, has been auctioned.

    A bidder offered 215 to have Ubu perform for a new community project in Glasgow.

    A spokesman for Ubu, which is currently on at Baby Belly, said they will perform the entire show for a private audience on 27 August.

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