Edinburgh International Film Festival

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.[1][2][3] EIFF presents both UK and international films (all titles are World, International, European, UK or Scottish Premieres), in all genres and lengths. It also presents themed retrospectives and other specialised programming strands. The 2016 edition was the Festival's 70th. Spain was the country focus in 2019.[4] The 73rd edition of EIFF runs from 19 – 30 June 2019. The full programme will be announced on 29 May 2019.

Edinburgh International Film Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival logo 2015
GenreFilm festival
Date(s)Two weeks in June
VenueEdinburgh Filmhouse, Fountainpark Cineworld, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Odeon Lothian Road
Years active72
Inaugurated1 June 1947 (1947-06-01)

Origin and scope

The International Festival of Documentary Films, a programme of documentaries, was presented by the Edinburgh Film Guild alongside the 1947 Edinburgh International Festival.[5] 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. In 2008, the film festival moved from its traditional August slot to June.[6]

The film festival shows a range of feature-length films and documentaries as well as short films, animations and music videos. A jury awards The Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film while the audience can vote for the Audience Award, and a panel of judges adjudicates the Best International Feature Award. There are also several awards given for short films.

The artistic director from September 2006 to 2010 was Hannah McGill, previously a film critic and cinema columnist for The Herald newspaper.[7] Her predecessor, Shane Danielsen, served from 2002-2006.,[8] Tilda Swinton, Robert Carlyle and Seamus McGarvey are honorary patrons.[9] In December 2009 Hannah McGill collected the prestigious Talkback Thames New Talent Award at the Women in Film and Television Awards.[10]

Following McGill's departure a new format was announced with no artistic director and a series of guest curators led by producer James Mullighan.[11]

The Festival returned to a more conventional format in 2012 under artistic director Chris Fujiwara, who stepped down in 2014.

In 2014, the film critic Mark Adams was announced as Fujiwara's successor.[12]

Other key figures are CEO Ken Hay, Deputy Artistic Director Diane Henderson; Head of Industry and Talent Development Holly Daniel, Animation Programmer Iain Gardner, Shorts Programmer Lydia Beilby and Senior Programmer Niall Fulton.

Edinburgh International Film Festival is delighted to announce its latest collaboration with world-renowned jazz musician Tommy Smith OBE and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO).[13]


Edinburgh Filmhouse is the festival's home. The festival uses a range of other cinemas and venues across the city including Fountainpark Cineworld, Edinburgh Festival Theatre and the Odeon.

Film categories

  • Opening and Closing Galas
  • American Dreams - Cutting-edge new works from American independent cinema
  • Animation - From the family-friendly to the deeply dark, the lo-fi to the super-sophisticated: all that's new in animation
  • Black Box - Daring experiments in the film form, from out innovators of the visual art world
  • Directors' Showcase - The latest works by the world's great auteur directors
  • Films on Film - Explore the world of filmmaking and the lives of those who made film history
  • For the Family - Films from around the world that children and adults can enjoy together
  • New Perspectives - A global array of exciting new work by emerging directors
  • No Limits - Films that challenge convention and stimulate the mind
  • Shorts - Discover the world of short films - a universe with no laws, bounded only by the imagination
  • Special Events - Exciting events, insightful discussions and chances to get up close and personal with some of cinema's greatest names
  • Special Screenings - Classics from the archives and premieres of unique importance
  • The Young and The Wild - A diverse selection of films hand-picked by EIFF's Young Programmer Team
  • Wicker and Wild - Unpredictable journeys into imagination and terror

The 68th edition of the festival in 2014 also contained the following country focus and retrospective strands:

  • Border Warfare: John McGrath's Work in Television, Theatre and Film
  • Focus on Germany
  • Focus on Iran
  • Interrupted Revolution: Iranian Cinema, 1962 to 1978
  • Secret Master: Dominik Graf and the Hidden History of German Cinema

EIFF Awards

  • The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film, with a £20,000 cash prize
  • The Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film
  • The Award for Best International Feature Film, with a £10,000 cash prize
  • The Award for Best Documentary Feature Film, with a £10,000 cash prize
  • The Student Critics Jury Award
  • The McLaren Award for Best New British Animation
  • The Award for Best Short Film
  • The Award for Creative Innovation in a Short Film
  • The Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Short Film
  • The Audience Award


  1. "Scotland Hosts the World's Longest Running Film Festival". Scotland.com. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  2. "WebFilmFest.com - Your Online Source for Film Festivals". WebFilmFest.com. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  3. "Filmhouse - Edinburgh International Film Festival". lastminute.com. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  4. "EIFF ANNOUNCES 2019 COUNTRY FOCUS". Edfilmfest. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  5. "Film Attractions. Big Programme of Documentaries". The Glasgow Herald. 23 August 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  6. "Edinburgh International Film Festival". Edinburgh-History.co.uk. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  7. Gillian Bowdtich (17 May 2009). "Hannah McGill: The Glamour Girl of the Pictures". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  8. Shane Danielson (10 August 2006). "Five Years' Hard Labour of Love". The Times. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  9. Tim Cornwell (28 April 2009). "Oscar Nominee is Edinburgh Film Festival's Latest Patron". The Scotsman. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  10. "EIFF Artistic Director Hannah McGill Wins Award at Women in Film and Television Awards". Filmhouse. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  11. Brian Ferguson (22 December 2010). "Film Festival promises big changes as new producer is announced". The Scotsman. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  12. Ferguson, Brian (16 December 2014). "Mark Adams to head up Edinburgh Film Festival". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  13. "Edinburgh International Film Festival collaboration with jazz musician Tommy Smith OBE and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra". Filmoria.co.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
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