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Edinburgh Film festival attracts films from 53 nations

By Ian MacKenzie

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - A portrait of family life in a Palestinian refugee camp and the rites of an ethnic Russian group will show alongside 146 other movies at this year's edition of the world's longest continuously running film festival in the Scottish capital.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) on Wednesday promised to deliver a broad program of features from 53 countries during its 12-day run from June 19.

American film critic, author and lecturer Chris Fujiwara, who took over as artistic director last year after the festival's near collapse in 2011, told Reuters it remains a showcase for British cinema.

"It is also one of the key international film festivals where emerging filmmakers from around the world aspire to have their films shown," he said.

Films competing for the Michael Powell award for best British feature film include seven world premieres and the festival will open with a gala performance of U.S. family melodrama "Breathe In".

This year's international competition includes such diverse offerings as Mahdi Fleifel's "A World Not Ours", a portrait of family life in a Palestinian refugee camp; Mohammad Shirvani's dreamlike allegory "Fat Shaker" set in Tehran, and Aleksey Fedorchenko's "Celestial Wives Of The Meadow Mari" on the rites and customs of a Russian ethnic group.

Fujiwara said the festival's new "American Dreams" strand brought highlights from an exceptionally good year for independent U.S. cinema, while focuses on Korea and Sweden will recognize artistic vitality and social commitment.

The "New Realities" section of the festival will reaffirm support for documentary filmmaking, while a new section "And Not Another Teen Movie" is a program by 15-to-19-year-olds for their peers.

The EIFF is the world's longest continuously running film festival, now in its 67th year.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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