The Edinburgh International Film Festival welcomes filmmakers from all over the world for an 11 day celebration of world cinema.
Established in 1947 in the same year as the Edinburgh International Festival, the Film Festival took place in August until 2008 when it was moved to June. It is officially the longest-running film festival in the world.
In the early years of the Film Festival the sole focus was on documentary film making. As the years went on however, the scope of the Film Festival was expanded to include fictional films and more abstract work.
Nowadays, film fans and critics can enjoy (or not) a wide variety of cinematic work from short films to full-length feature films to animated work to documentaries to music videos and even films with no moving pictures at all, as we witnessed this year!
British cinema can be relied upon to provide the weird and wonderful from comedy to horror (and black comedies) to biopics. Yet the range of international films you can expect to see at the festival is about as diverse as it comes.
This year, the Edinburgh International Film Festival welcomed film makers from almost every continent on Earth. Iraq, Taiwan, Colombia and New Zealand were all represented by some of their highly talented citizens.
Our city has a long-standing cinematic and theatrical tradition and boasts an impressive number of cinemas and theatres. The Edinburgh International Film Festival is based at the Edinburgh Filmhouse on Lothian Road, the city’s leading art house cinema.
However, the festival organisers make a point of spreading movie screenings throughout the city, using 12 locations including Cineworld at Fountainpark, the Festival Theatre on Nicholson Street, the Cameo movie theatre on Home Street and the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
The idea behind this is to showcase the diversity of our cinemas and theatres and to enable the audiences, which are always made up of both locals and visitors from elsewhere, to appreciate cinema in its traditional and modern form.
Screenings are not simply about sitting down and enjoying a two-hour film in a full cinema. The directors, producers and occasionally actors are often in attendance to talk to the audience from the front of the cinema or participate in a question and answer session. As a result, the vast majority of guests have a genuine interest in cinema as an art form rather than an interest in popcorn and several explosions.
Every year dozens of films have their UK or worldwide premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival adding that extra little bit of spice to proceedings.In 2009, The Hurt Locker had its UK premiere in Edinburgh and went on to perform quite well indeed at the Oscars a few months later.
Edinburgh has in fact hosted a significant number of key premieres over the years including Amelie, L.A Confidential and Pulp Fiction.
In keeping with the Festival’s aim of drawing attention to and rewarding cinematic achievement and also nurturing new talent, a number of awards are up for grabs every year. There are awards for particularly impressive achievements in acting, documentary film making, direction and short film production. The audiences also get to have their say when they are asked to vote for their favourite film from the mainstream cinema section.
The Honorary Patrons of the Edinburgh International Film Festival are four very familiar faces for television and film fans. Local legend and former secret agent Sir Sean Connery, actress and former student of Fettes College Tilda Swinton, Scottish actor Robert Carlyle and photography and direction guru Seamus McGarvey are all involved behind the scenes and up on stage each year.
With almost 12 months until next year’s 2011 Edinburgh International Film Festival there is still plenty of time for you to get your own entry in….suggestions?? A documentary about your rubber ducky? A comedy involving your inebriated neighbours? Or perhaps a short film about your time in Edinburgh…
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