One of the most magical aspects of cinema is that it opens up a window onto the world. It shows you sights and people that you might otherwise never get the chance to experience and, unlike television, cinema does so on the big screen. This year’s Inverness Film Festival will show you eagles soaring over the Mongolian plains, an incredible 1,200 mile pilgrimage across Tibet and two small boys from different castes travelling across Nepal together. And that’s just in our Roof of the World programme. The rest of the festival takes us to Brazil, Australia, Iran, Canada, Japan and all round Europe.

We’re premiering films from some of the world’s great auteur directors – Terence Davies, Spike Lee, Xavier Dolan, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Asghar Farhadi, Jim Jarmusch and Park Chan-wook, to name a few. Given the hundreds of film festivals in the UK it is a great privilege to be able to bring you films by these directors before anyone else in the country.

We are also celebrating cinema of the past with a programme that replicates what it would have been like for the majority of Highland audiences in the early 20th Century with Remembering the Highland and Islands Film Guild. This is an evening of 16mm films, stories and poetry on Friday night, followed on Saturday by a writing workshop about your memories of cinema. On Sunday we celebrate early female directors – a subject that is sadly often overlooked – Real Illuminators: Scotland’s Pioneer of Documentary Filmmaking. Plus, for the bravest of cinema lovers we are screening Abel Gance’s 1927 masterpiece Napoleon in its newly restored 330 minute glory (yes there will be an interval, three of them).

Please do remember to vote for our film festival award, which was designed by the Hebrides based artist Steve Dilworth. You, our audience, are the jury for our award and it’s a great honour that it has so far ended up on three continents.

I hope that you enjoy the festival.

Paul MacDonald-Taylor, Festival Director

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