Edinburgh film festival celebrates biggest audience for eight years

The EIFF marked a three per cent increase in attendees this year. Picture: Jon Savage
The EIFF marked a three per cent increase in attendees this year. Picture: Jon Savage
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The Edinburgh International Film Festival recorded its highest attendance for eight years as it celebrated its landmark 70th edition.

Organisers revealed a three per cent increase in attendees over the course of the 12 day festival, which drew to a close on Sunday.

Among the biggest audiences were for the opening and closing galas, Tommy’s Honour and Whisky Galore, two of the most high-profile Scottish films of the year, and a 30th anniversary screening of Highlander.

Jack Lowden Meg Ryan, Kevin Smith, Kim Cattrall, Eddie Izzard, Gregor Fisher, Peter Mullan, Brian Cox and Agyness Deyn were among the stars to attend the festival, which featured more than 160 features and 130 shorts. More than 500 filmmakers attended, along with 900 press and industry delegates.

The overall attendance of 51,947 compares to the 52,175 who attended the event in 2008 - the first year the festival was staged in June, after organisers decided to move it out of its traditional slot in August.

A further 9000 people attended a weekend of free film screenings in St Andrew Square in the run-up to the EIFF, which was launched the same year as both the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe.

EIFF atistic director Mark Adams said: “It’s been a wonderful festival brimming with terrific films, amazing guests and memorable events. We now look forward to another exciting year of planning for the 2017 festival.”

Ken Hay, the festival’s chief executive added: “The Edinburgh Internaional Film Festival is unashamedly international and outward-looking in its programming and its reach, with 55 countries represented in the programme, guests from almost 40 countries, and a truly multi-national team delivering the event.

“We’re delighted that audiences and guests have responded so positively to the programme and the broader festival experience, and are thrilled to see an increase in admissions.”