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The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) is an annual fortnight of cinema screenings and related events taking place each June. Established in 1947, it is the world's oldest continually running film festival. The EIFF aims to present both UK and international movie premieres and to exhibit the work of film-makers.

Contents

Origin and scope

The first EIFF, a programme of documentaries, was presented by the Edinburgh Film Guild alongside the 1947 Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), which continues to take place in August each year. At the time, Cannes and Venice were the most significant annual film festivals. Over the subsequent years, the programme expanded to include fiction films and experimental work in addition to documentary. From 2008, the film festival moved from its traditional August slot to June.

The EIFF shows a range of feature-length films and documentaries as well as shorts, animations and music videos. A jury awards The Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film while the audience can vote for the Standard Life Audience Award and a panel of judges adjudicates the Skillset New Directors Award. There are also several awards given for short films. UK domestic films shown are usually limited to premieres. European and other international premieres are also offered.

The Artistic Director since September 2006 has been Hannah McGill, previously a film critic and cinema columnist for The Herald newspaper. Her predecessor, Shane Danielsen, served from 2002-2006. Sean Connery, Tilda Swinton, Robert Carlyle and Seamus McGarvey are honorary patrons. In December 2009 Hannah McGill collected the prestigious talkback Thames New Talent Award at the Women in Film and Television Awards.

The 2009 EIFF

2009 was another massive success with great audience figures and a superb programme of films and associated events. Over the years, Edinburgh has premiered films which have gone on to become hugely successful. This includes My Beautiful Laundrette, The Blair Witch Project, Pulp Fiction, L.A. Confidential and Amélie to name but a few. In 2009 premieres included Lars von Trier's Antichrist, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, Duncan Jones' Moon and Sam Mendes' Away We Go.

The winners of the EIFF awards for 2009 were revealed at a ceremony at Edinburgh's Filmhouse and Patrons, Sir Sean Connery and Seamus McGarvey, were among those presenting awards. Moon directed by Duncan Jones scooped the Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film, sponsored by the UK Film Council.

The Michael Powell Jury is a five-strong jury which in 2009 consisted of Joe Wright (President): film critic Claudia Puig; acclaimed actress Sacha Horler; journalist and author Janet Street-Porter and Academy Award Best Actor nominee Frank Langella of Frost/Nixon fame.

The Jury citation read: “We award Moon for its singular vision and remarkably assured direction as well as for the inspired manner in which it transcends genre. The central performance by Sam Rockwell embodies the film’s emotional complexity and compelling philosophical perspective.”

In other categories, Katie Jarvis picked up the PPG Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film for her extraordinary debut in Fish Tank. Katie Jarvis was delighted, both with the award and her experience at EIFF. She said:

“This has been an amazing year for me in more ways than one. I was lucky enough to spend my 18th birthday in Edinburgh last week, where Fish Tank was shown, and this is such a great 18th present!

"It is a real honour to receive this award, both for myself and the film.”

John Woodward, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council, sponsor of the award, added:

“The UK Film Council’s support of the EIFF underlines our deep commitment to celebrating and nurturing film talent. "Winning the Michael Powell Award confirms Duncan Jones as an emerging British director with a very bright future. And I’m delighted for Emma Sullivan, awarded the short film prize for After Tomorrow, and newcomer Katie Jarvis, winner of the best performance prize for Fish Tank, both of whose films were funded through the Film Council’s New Cinema Fund.”

The award for Best New International Feature went to director Kyle Patrick Alvarez for his film Easier With Practice. The film has also been nominated in the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards in the Best First Feature and Kyle Patrick Alvarez himself is up for the in the Someone to Watch award.

The Standard Life Audience Award as voted for by cinema-goers at EIFF went to animation The Secret of Kells directed by Tomm Moore.

Director Aliona Van Der Horst picked up the award for Best Documentary about Russian poet Boris Ryzhy.

The Skillset New Directors Award went to Cary Joji Fukunaga for his stunning directorial debut in Sin Nombre. Cary has since gone on to be nominated as one of Variety's 5 hot first-time directors of the year and nominated for Best Feature, Best Director and Best Cinematography categories at the Independent Spirit Awards.

'Bromance' comedy Humpday directed by Lynn Shelton was awarded The Rotten Tomatoes Critical Consensus Award and director Emma Sullivan's After Tomorrow was awarded the UK Film Council Award for Best British Short Film. Humpday has since been nominated for the for the John Cassavates award in the Independent Spirit Awards.

The award for Best International Short Film went to Princess Margaret Boulevard directed by Kazik Radwanksi, while The Scottish Short Documentary Award supported by Baillie Gifford was handed to director Johanna Wagner for 10 minute long film Peter In Radioland. Director Laurie Hill's Photograph Of Jesus scooped the McLaren Award for New British Animation in partnership with BBC Film Network. Princess Margaret Boulevard and Photograph of Jesus have both since scooped awards at the Encounters Short Film Festival in Bristol.

EIFF Artistic Director, Hannah McGill said of the 2009 Festival:

“I’m delighted by these results and I thank our juries for their hard work and their presence in Edinburgh, which helped to make this year’s Festival so exciting. It says a lot about EIFF and its mission as a discovery festival that Duncan Jones, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Tomm Moore and Cary Joji Fukunaga are all first-time feature directors."

"We have had a fantastic year and I’m thrilled that all of our prize-winners have been part of it, as well as, of course, all the other filmmakers who’ve attended and given us the privilege of screening their work. I hope their success here helps them go forward in their careers, and I hope we’ll see them all back in Edinburgh in the future with further work.”

The 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place 16 - 27 June 2010.

Venues

Principal venues are the Edinburgh Filmhouse, which is formally the EIFF's partner organisation; Cameo, Fountainpark Cineworld and the Dominion Cinema. Some of the events in recent years have taken place in The Sheraton Hotel, the Traverse Theatre, the Caves(see The Caves website) on Niddry Street South off the Cowgate, and various other venues. In Glasgow the Glasgow Film Theatre and Renfrew St Cineworld participated until recently, but the EIFF has not arranged screenings in Glasgow since 2005. Proposals exist 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.

Film categories

  • Gala - New international feature film productions, having a well-known actor or director
  • British Gala - New UK feature film productions, having a well-known British actor or director
  • Rosebud - Feature fiction films from first- or second-time directors, outwith the UK
  • Directors' Showcase - Highlighting films from accomplished directors
  • Night Moves - Horror and action films, either from countries whose mainstream films are given little worldwide release, or from independent film-makers
  • Document - Documentaries, whether feature-length or short
  • Retrospective - Films by an important director that many people may not have seen on the cinema screen
  • Black Box - Abstract and artistic films
  • Mirrorball - Music videos, music-related documentaries
  • In Person - Live on-stage interviews with important figures from the cinema industry
  • Under The Radar - Risk-taking films (introduced in 2008 in response to John Waters attending the festival)

External links

References

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