Edinburgh Film Festival
Born alongside Edinburgh’s International Festival in 1947, EIFF was one of the world’s first international film festivals, and helped to define the type of event that has since become so pivotal to film culture in nations all over the world. EIFF has developed into a crucial business hub for the UK and international film industry, a key attraction for Edinburgh, and one of the world’s best -loved audience festivals. With an emphasis upon new talent, discovery and innovation, EIFF’s vibrant programme of films and events combines a commitment to audience edification and pleasure with a strong ongoing stake in the development the UK and Scottish film industries.
EIFF’s early remit was to bring the burgeoning documentary movement to a wider public audience. Its first champions included John Grierson, the founder of the British documentary movement, and Norman McLaren, animation pioneer, and early audiences thronged to see films by Roberto Rossellini, Humphrey Jennings and Robert Flaherty. As the Festival’s reputation and ambitions grew over the 1950s, the programme expanded to incorporate international fiction films, and visitors included Alexander Mackendrick, . In the 1960s a pivotal retrospective element was introduced, and helped to define that now standard element in film festival programming; early subjects included John Huston, Sam Fuller, Douglas Sirk and a young Martin Scorsese.
In the 70s and 80s, the Festival consolidated its reputation as a pioneering force for UK audiences, screening films from the New German Cinema, the new wave of American Independents, homages to the masters of Japanese Cinema, and pioneering studies of black and feminist filmmakers. Festival audiences were able to witness masterpieces from across the whole spectrum of film culture, from the UK premiere of Spielberg's ET: The Extraterrestrial, to Abel Gance's silent classic Napoleon complete with a full orchestral score. New talents were nurtured, including Bill Forsyth, Stephen Soderbergh and Stephen Frears, whose TV film My Beautiful Laundrette scored cinematic distribution after its EIFF bow.
More recently, EIFF has continued and progressed its project of foregrounding discovery whilst welcoming the best and brightest established film talent. The Trailblazers programme highlights new UK filmmaking talent, while onstage interviews with respected figures including Judd Apatow, Ray Harryhausen, Tilda Swinton, Errol Morris, Roger Deakins and Shane Meadows provide behind-the-scenes insights into all areas of filmmaking. Audience favourites of recent years have included Tsotsi, Control, In Search of a Midnight Kiss, Day Watch, Tekkonkinkreet, Paranoid Park, Knocked Up, The Visitor, Man on Wire and The Edge of Love, while brand new titles that gained prominence from their world or international premieres at EIFF 2008 include Good Dick, Faintheart, Helen, sleep furiously, Bigga Than Ben, Mum and Dad, Summer and The Kreutzer Sonata.