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Celebrating Independent Cinema: A Recap of the Dynamic Edinburgh International Film Festival

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Organized by the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival made its comeback this year as a dynamic six-day event taking place from August 18 to 23.

The festival presented a daring and meticulously selected lineup, featuring 24 new feature films, 5 retrospective classics, and 5 short film programs. Additionally, an outdoor screening weekend was held at the picturesque Old College Quad at The University of Edinburgh, showcasing 7 more captivating feature films.

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) set out this year to keep the flame of independent cinema burning bright in the city and audiences and filmmakers have responded with love, support and attendance. With a total of 75 cinema screenings across partnering venues Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre and Everyman Edinburgh, 71% of cinema screenings sold out with an overall cinema occupancy of 82%.

While a weekend of outdoor screenings saw a variety of audiences attend the dreamy surroundings of the Old College Quad at The University of Edinburgh for a mix of new film previews, family-friendly titles, artists’ films and a live soundtracks to a classic.

With a compact programme of films, this EIFF edition concentrated on depth of engagement, with discussion events such as Encounters panels mixing guest filmmakers with writers, artists and performers, a Sunday Salon conversation between Ira Sachs and Brandon Taylor, and the launch of The Lynda Myles Project, providing audiences with space to be a part of an ongoing conversation that places dialogue at the centre of the Festival and positions cinema in conversation with other artforms.

Feedback from industry guests attending the Festival has involved praise for EIFF as a place to gather, share ideas and champion the spirit of independent cinema with well-attended events such as Talent Assemble, delivered in partnership with BBC Film, BBC Scotland and MG Alba, showing that EIFF continues to be a cherished place at the forefront of building filmmaking relationships. While a collaboration with Curate-It and a series of Critical Writing Commissions have enabled the Festival to support two emerging film curators and nine writers based in Scotland, broadening the voices and perspectives engaging with the Festival.

The Festival kicked off on 18 August with Silent Roar, a film that places Scottish culture at the heart of a wave of new independent filmmaking whilst Closing Night film Fremont capped off an international selection that included work from celebrated arthouse directors Kelly Reichardt, Ira Sachs, Cauleen Smith, and Christian Petzold, and showcased work from Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

Every film screening was introduced by a member of the programme team, and BSL interpretation was offered at all screenings that were presented with Descriptive Subtitles. The Festival welcomed over 75 guests to present their films.

Filmmakers and actors attending the festival included: Johnny Barrington, Theo Barrowclough, Louise Brealey, Hope Dickson Leach, Jeanie Finlay, Sam H. Freeman, Ella Glendining, Bette Gordon, Wendy Griffin, Rodger Griffiths, David Hayman, Mark Herbert, Paul Higgins, Ella Lily Hyland, Babak Jalali, Ian Jefferies, Fran Rubel Kuzui, Huw Lemmey, Karoline Lyngbye, Lorn Macdonald, Devashish Makhija, Louis McCartney, Shane Meadows, Ng Choon Ping, Julia Parks, Henry Pettigrew, Daniel Portman, Janis Pugh, Charlotte Regan, Calum Ross, Ira Sachs, Annabel Scholey, Thomas Schubert, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Brian Vernel, Irvine Welsh, Chris Young, and Paris Zarcilla.

 “This year’s film festival has shown that there is an unquenchable appetite in this city for independent and international cinema. We have been so delighted and moved by the conversations that have taken place between filmmakers and audiences, and the warmth with which people have engaged with the programme. I am beyond proud to have worked alongside the EIFF team who, since March, have worked with great passion and speed to deliver something special, and we all hope that the event’s success offers a beacon for a brighter future for EIFF and film culture in the city.”

Kate Taylor, Programme Director for Edinburgh International Film Festival

EIFF is supported by Screen Scotland, and enhanced engagement activities are supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund alongside the PLaCE Programme (a partnership between the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals).

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