Website swamped by eager film buffs

INTEREST in this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival crashed the event's website yesterday.

Now in its 64th year, this year's festival includes 22 world premieres and appearances from Sean Connery and Tilda Swinton.

"Phenomenal demand" saw the website go down for hours after the programme was published at noon.

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Ross Wilson, head of marketing, said: "At one point we were at 44 times what the server could cope with."

Tickets for the festival, which runs 16-27 June, go on sale on Thursday and bosses say they are confident there will not be any more problems.

Among the highlights will be the opening-night gala, which will feature Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist, set in 1950s Edinburgh. And Sir Patrick Stewart will give a 90-minute live Bafta interview at Cineworld in Fountainbridge.

Artistic director Hannah McGill said: "We're looking forward to welcoming an amazing array of guests, and celebrating EIFF's 64th year by spreading our excitement about current and classic cinema to our loyal attendees and to new audiences alike."