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Edinburgh International Film Festival

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  • The Edinburgh International Festival was one of the world's first international film festivals.
  • June 2011 will mark the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival.
  • Hundreds of filmmakers and film industry professionals attend Edinburgh International Film Festival each year.

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Born alongside Edinburgh’s International Festival in 1947, this event was one of the world’s first international film festivals. Set amidst one of Europe's most gorgeous cities (which can serve as a major distraction for visitors attempting to focus on the festival), its initial focus was on bringing documentaries to a wider audience. Today, the festival serves as a business hub for the UK and international film industry, world premiering numerous films (predominately, but certainly not exclusively, from the UK) while also bringing highlights from fests like Cannes and Berlin to Edinburgh audiences. A largely public festival, Edinburgh screens a wide range of feature-length narratives and documentaries as well as shorts, animation, and music videos.

The festival left the shadow of the large performing arts festival and its traditional August dates by moving to June in 2008. Though a common misconception, the film festival was never formally part of the broader Edinburgh festival, whose organization and administration are entirely separate.

The festival's major award, "The Michael Powell Award," is handed to the best new British feature film. Screenings largely take place at the festive Filmhouse (where you can drink alcohol while watching the film), which is formally the EIFF's partner organization; Cameo, Fountainpark Cineworld, and The Dominion are other notable venues. There are talks for a new Filmhouse to be built, designed by architect Richard Murphy and named the Sean Connery Filmhouse. It would be located close to the existing one and, with greater audience capacity, would become the future home of the festival.

Ginnie Atkinson is the long-serving managing director. The artistic director since September 2006 until recently departing has been Hannah McGill, previously a film critic and cinema columnist for The Herald newspaper. Her predecessor, Shane Danielsen, served from 2002-2006. Sir Sean Connery, Tilda Swinton and Robert Carlyle are the festival's honorary patrons, regularly attending. [Peter Knegt]

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