This year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (August 14 - 28), was bustling with A list film celebrities including directors Brian De Palma and Steven Soderbergh, who came hot from the set of Oceans 13; actresses Charlize Theron and Sigourney Weaver, and topping the lot, Scotland's best known film star and fully signed up member of the Hollywood clan, Sir Sean Connery.
The festival was celebrating its 60th continuous year, its programme and stellar visitors confirming its status, alongside the London Film Festival, as one of the UK's key events for the celebration of the art and craft of international movie making.
For those interested in UK cinema, the Edinburgh Film Festival is a fantastic showcase of discovery, uncovering and premiering new movies by the next generation of film makers.
One such film maker is Wolverhampton's Matthew Cope, whose short film, The Visit, funded by regional screen agency, Screen West Midlands, was shown in celebration of new UK film making talent.
Sean Connery was on hand to support the festival's opening film, The Flying Scotsman, the true story of Graeme Obree, the Scottish amateur cyclist who in 1993 broke the world hour record on a bike made from parts rescued from a BMX bike and a washing machine. Jonny Lee Miller plays the obsessed and depression-tortured cyclist in this tale of sports inspiration and the overcoming of personal demons. Three laps of Chariots of Fire to one of Beautiful Mind.
One of the most striking films receiving a world premiere at Edinburgh was The Killing of John Lennon.
This film, written and directed by Andrew Piddington, examines the life of Mark Chapman, whose obsessions with both The Beatles and Catcher in the Rye took him to New York in 1980 to gun down the ex Beatle outside the Dakota building.
Producer Rakha Singh said the film was a "psychological examination of a celebrity stalker's descent into madness and is based on real interviews with Chapman".
Both director and producer are film makers who cut their teeth in Birmingham at Central Television's documentary film department.
The Killing of John Lennon has a mesmerising performance by Jonas Ball in his debut role, reminiscent of a young Jon Voigt, while the film itself resonates with cinematic references to classic New York movies like Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy.
Sigourney Weaver was in town to promote her role in the UK film Snow Cake directed by Marc Evans. She plays a Canadian autistic obsessive-compulsive woman whose daughter has been killed in a car accident. Her seemingly erratic behaviour compels the driver of the car, Alan Rickman, to stay with her until after the funeral. Actor Steve Coogan's company, Baby
Cow Productions, produced this touching and delicate film which is illuminated by Sigourney Weaver's extraordinarily audacious performance and also by the finely tuned rapport between her and Alan Rickman as the detached and crumpled Englishman.
Birmingham's finest actress, Julie Walters, stars in Driving Lessons, a rites of passage comedy, that re unites her with her youthful Harry Potter co star, Rupert Grint. This debut feature by Jeremy Brock (whose television work includes devising the hospital long runner, Casualty) takes its inspiration from his own life when, as a teenager, he worked for Dame Peggy Ashcroft. Here, Julie, playing an eccentric retired actress, takes as an assistant a 17-year-old schoolboy and propels him into a series of unconventional adventures.
The UK film with the biggest buzz was London to Brighton, a gritty demi monde thriller by debutant director, Paul Andrew Williams, about two girls fleeing from pimps, gangsters and a dead man in a hotel. The two female leads are stunning in this tale of runaways, replica mothers and twisted filial duty. Made mostly with a cast of new faces, and for £100,000, the film burns with the intensity of a flare, and heralds the arrival of a significant new talent.