Cut! Tilda Swinton and Edinburgh film festival part company
SCOTLAND'S flagship film festival is embroiled in more controversy after it emerged three major industry figures are no longer involved in this year's event – just months after they were named at the launch.
Actress Tilda Swinton, and former directors Mark Cousins and Linda Myles, will not be overseeing this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival under another dramatic re-think for the event.
James Mullighan, a former music industry executive and arts journalist, has had his role dramatically increased since being appointed festival producer in December.
At the time, Mr Cousins said there would be "complete reinvention" of the event this year, including scrapping traditional red carpet premieres and the festival's long-running competitions and jury prizes.
The announcement, which followed a string of high-profile departures from the film festival last year, was given a mixed reception by film industry experts, particularly in the wake of a lengthy delay in replacing Hannah McGill, the former artistic director of the event, who quit suddenly last summer.
The Scotsman can now reveal that Mr Mullighan, who has spent time in Australia in recent months dealing with personal matters, has been in overall charge of the event since the middle of February after it became clear that its programming was running months behind schedule.
Mr Cousins said: "Our involvement ended when we submitted more than 100 ideas for the creative and artistic vision for the festival and we've not been involved since the middle of February. We were all doing this unpaid and have busy lives. I'll be in the audience come June."
Mr Mullighan said: "It's fair to say my role has morphed quite a bit since I was appointed and I do have more responsibilities.
"However it was never the intention that Linda, Tilda and Mark would be involved right up to the festival in June.."
It was announced in February that at least eight guest curators – including Isabella Rossellini, directors Gus Van Sant and Jim Jarmusch and author Alan Warner – would be working with the creative advisors to programme films and other special events.
At the time it was announced that the creative advisors had delivered the "first fruits of their rethink" of the festival."
However, a promised major announcement about the festival, which was due to be made at the beginning of March, has failed to materialise and festival insiders say there are growing fears behind the scenes that the event has lost its way.
• The number of people attending events within Edinburgh's year-round series of festivals has soared. New figures showed 5.49 million people attended events at the capital's series of 23 festivals in 2010, an increase of one million people on 2009.
On a like-for-like basis, total attendance figures were up across the festivals by an average of around 3 per cent. Among the festivals to record rising attendances were the Fringe, Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh Mela and the International Book Festival.Mark Cousins: Critic who met the stars
BORN in Northern Ireland, Mark Cousins studied film and media studies at Stirling University.
He spent his early twenties writing and directing documentaries before being offered the Edinburgh Film Festival directorship in 1995.
He left two years later and went on to carve a successful career as a critic, TV presenter, writer and film producer. Among the major film stars he has interviewed are Jack Lemmon, Sir Sean Connery, Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Lauren Bacall, and Woody Allen.
He has worked on a number of projects with Ms Swinton, including festival in Nairn and taking a mobile cinema on tour.
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