Edinburgh Film Festival premiere for The Illusionist

The Illusionist
Image caption The Illusionist was inspired by the director's travels around Scotland

A film by an Oscar-nominated French animator is to open the 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival later.

The Illusionist is the latest film from Sylvain Chomet, who set up a studio in the Scottish capital after visiting the film festival seven years ago.

It has been described as a "fairytale depiction" of Scotland.

Other highlights include a gala screening of one of Sir Sean Connery's best-loved films, The Man Who Would Be King, to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Big screen debut

Mr Chomet will attend the red carpet UK premiere of The Illusionist at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Wednesday.

The animated feature, which is about a magician who travels to Edinburgh from Paris, was inspired by the director's travels around Scotland.

Blockbuster Toy Story 3 will get its first UK showing at the festival.

A special 3D gala on Saturday will celebrate the 15th anniversary of Woody and Buzz Lightyear's big screen debut, a full month before the new film goes on general release in the UK.

Edinburgh International Film Festival patron Sir Sean will attend a screening of his film the following day.

The festival will have a total of 22 world premieres, 12 international premieres and 133 features from 34 countries.

There will be a European premiere for The Runaways, a biopic of guitarist Joan Jett's first band, starring Twilight star Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning.

Star Trek legend Sir Patrick Stewart will talk about his varied career, ranging from theatre work to the X-Men films, during a 90-minute live event.

He will also lead the panel judging the £15,000 Michael Powell Award, which also includes actress Britt Ekland and Mike Hodges, director of Get Carter.

A retrospective of "lost and forgotten" British cinema of 1967 to 1979 will be shown.

It will showcase films which organisers say have rarely been seen on the big screen by modern audiences.

The festival will also feature a screening of what is being billed the world's first "audio horror movie".

HP Lovecrafts's The Dulwich Horror, narrated by Scottish actor Greg Hemphill, is a full length feature which does not have any images.

The festival will close on 26 June with the world premiere of Third Star, a "tragicomic buddy movie" starring four young British actors.

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