A FILM by a director who cut his teeth in a youth scheme run by the Filmhouse is to open the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

Boyz In The Wood, an anarchic comedy following the adventures of four teen boys lost in the wilderness of the Highlands, is one of eight European premieres to feature at the festival.

Featuring Scots stars Kate Dickie, Kevin Guthrie and James Cosmo, Boyz In The Wood is the feature-length debut of Ninian Doff, a filmmaker named best director at 2016’s UK Music Video Awards for his work with the likes of Miike Snow and Run The Jewels.

Doff began his film career at Scottish Kids Are Making Movies, a scheme set up in 1997 by the late Shiona Wood and Mark Cousins to help teenagers develop their skills by working with professional filmmakers.

“It’s full of energy,” says the festival’s artistic director Mark Adams of Boyz In The Wood. “I think of it as Trainspotting mixed with Calibre – a bit dark, a bit crude, and very funny.”

Doff has dedicated the film to Wood, who died in 2006. Cousins, now an honorary patron of EIFF, will be in attendance to present a special introduction to Varda By Agnes, the final film in a retrospective of work by pioneering French director Agnes Varda.

Other Scottish film figures in attendance this year include Shauna Macdonald, Angus Macfadyen, Peter Mullan in conversation with composer Craig Armstrong and Mary, Queen Of Scots star Jack Lowden, who will appear at an In Person event.

Known to millions across the world as Anna from The Walking Dead, Scottish writer, actor and director Pollyanna McIntosh will also be the subject of an In Person event, as well as presenting EIFF with her directorial debut Darlin’, a social horror in which she also stars.

Work by Scottish directors and actors and films shot in Scotland feature strongly this year, as does a focus on films from Spain and by women directors.

Adams says that, of all the feature films and shorts shown at EIFF, almost 43% are by women. All but one of the films in EIFF’s cultish Night Moves strand feature women directors.

And while this year’s EIFF may not feature huge Scottish films such as Mary, Queen Of Scots and Outlaw King, Adams says Scottish talent leads multiple smaller films, animations, shorts and documentaries.

“That’s the great thing about having a film industry, you have people working across all these different aspects,” Adams says. “And I’m noticing that people who don’t live in Edinburgh, who don’t live in Scotland any more, are coming back and really embracing the fact that their films are being shown here, and that’s really exciting.”

Trainspotting director Danny Boyle rejigged his schedule to attend an In Person event, Adams notes. As well as Boyle’s new film Yesterday, a musical comedy imagining a world without The Beatles, the programme also includes Macfadyen reprising his Braveheart role as the warrior king in a new telling of the story of Robert The Bruce.

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Elsewhere Brian Cox stars in atmospheric thriller Strange But True while Scheme Birds, a film set in former steel town Motherwell, follows the life of a teenage “scheme bird”.

“It’s a documentary but it feels like a drama-documentary, it’s so sensitively and beautifully made,” says Adams of Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin’s film.

A former industrial town is also the backdrop to David McLean’s semi-autobiographical Schemers. Filmed exclusively in Dundee, the 1970s-set film stars Conor Berry (pictured, above) as Davie, a young gig promoter determined to avoid “a real job” by booking increasingly bigger bands.

Another Scottish music figure is the subject of Best Before Death, where Irish filmmaker Paul Duane follows Bill Drummond of 1990s chart-beaters The KLF as he takes his art and ideas to local communities in the US and India.

Veteran Scottish actor Tam Dean Burn will join other guests in a special event before the screening of Best Before Death at EIFF, which this year features a film shot in Glasgow as its £5 People’s Gala.

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Balance, Not Symmetry (pictured, above), described by the EIFF as filmmaker Jamie Adams’s “beautiful cinematic tribute to art, music and Scotland”, was shot around the Glasgow School of Art and focuses on a student who has recently been bereaved.

Scots rockers Biffy Clyro composed new music for the soundtrack, as well as contributing to the storyline of the film, which features a cast of Scottish actors including Kate Dickie, Shauna Macdonald and Freya Mavor.

“We do the People’s Gala every year,” says Adams. “It’s really a chance for people to see a great film and to see it in the Festival Theatre, which is a different experience in this very big venue. It’s a really charming film and Glasgow looks amazing.”