A beautiful city steeped in culture and renowned for its numerous festivals, Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh also does more than its share for the film industry – it plays host to one of the world’s first international film festivals, and the oldest continually running event celebrating cinema and filmmaking in various forms.
Established in 1947, the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) is the Grand Old Dame of the global film festival calendar and has been described by noted film critic Mark Kermode as ‘like Cannes… only civilized’. From its beginnings, where it ran alongside the performing arts event of the Edinburgh International Festival during August each year and aimed to bring documentaries to a wider audience, the EIFF has morphed into a huge occasion on the city’s cultural schedule. The EIFF now has a much broader, more ambitious scope, and focuses on uncovering new, ground breaking and exciting films and talent from the UK and around the world.
Now preparing for its 69th edition in its – since 2008 – new June slot, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has screened countless notable films in recent years, including premieres of Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning Hurt Locker, Moon, the Al Gore-starring An Inconvenient Truth and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s acclaimed Amores Perros. Such is its cachet within the industry it draws numerous high profile actors, celebrities and industry heavyweights such as Sam Mendes, Sean Connery, Tilda Swinton and Keira Knightly to its red carpet events or to act as patrons, yet has managed to retain an intimate, fan-friendly vibe.
2014 saw nearly 1,400 delegates, filmmakers and members of the press descend on Edinburgh for the fortnight of film, with its programme packed with awards, debut screenings, actor Q&As, workshops and initiatives to further stimulate production of new work. The EIFF is now an immersive and instructive festival with multiple strands such as school events, a ‘Youth Hub’ and Student Critics jury, and its list of events stretches across the calendar year, including partnerships with the UK’s famed Empire magazine and ‘Talent Labs’ for up and coming filmmakers.
Heading into 2015 for its 69th festival, the EIFF continues to show incredible passion for films and filmmakers. Running from the 17th to 28th June, the Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place at its cultural home at the Filmhouse as well as several other sites across the city.