Inverness Film Festival director Paul MacDonald-Taylor introduces this year's festival.
I’ve always thought of IFF as a Scottish festival first and I try to highlight as many new Scottish films as we possibly can. This year we have a great selection – 35 Scottish shorts, five features (two narratives and three documentaries – which are Scottish or have Scottish directors) and an evening of Gaelic work.
Opening the festival will be Loch-Ness: They Created a Monster, from three-time Scottish BAFTA-winning director John MacLaverty. The perfect film to open the festival, it’s a fun look at all the Nessie hunters in the 1970s. A look back at the recent history that many of us remember but possibly not always too clearly.
I’m delighted with this year’s festival, with films by some of my favourite directors; Hirokazu Koreeda, Aki Kaurismäki, Trần Anh Hùng, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew Haig, Alexander Payne, Jeff Nichols and Wim Wenders. There are also several films from exciting first or second time directors, which show the contrast of a great film festival - seeing films by great directors and discovering wonderful new talents.
We have our first Surprise Film at the festival this year. It’s a little different from the weird and wonderful Mystery Movies we have done in the past – this won’t be an arthouse discovery, but something a little bigger and is sure to end up being one of the feel good-hits of the year.
We will also be doing our Audience Award again this year, which was won by Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom last year, with our highest ever audience score of 4.9/5 (second place was The Blue Caftan with our second highest score ever). So we have a lot to live up to this year but I think we have pulled it off.