Edinburgh International Film Festival: Funding and rights secured to revive 75-year-old event

Funding has been secured to bring the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) back to life.

Government agency Creative Scotland has allocated an initial £97,647 to a reboot after securing the rights to bring the event back under its previous guise.

Creative Scotland and sister organisation Screen Scotland have been involved in rescue talks since arts charity Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), which ran the EIFF and the Filmhouse cinemas in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, was plunged into administration in early October with the sudden loss of 107 jobs.

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Kristy Matheson, the creative director who was brought in to work on this year’s 75th-anniversary event, is already leading a “team” exploring options for a revival in 2023.

Lead actors Frankie Corio and Paul Mescal with Charlotte Wells, director of Aftersun which opened this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival. Picture: Getty/Euan Cherry

They are being supported by the Edinburgh International Festival, including the use of its Royal Mile headquarters, while the Filmhouse building in Edinburgh is on the open market with a closing date looming next week.

An official announcement from Screen Scotland and Creative Scotland said: “Since the closure of the CMI, we have been in discussions with the administrators and other partners to explore options for cultural cinema programme activity in both Edinburgh and Aberdeen, as well as the possibility of a 2023 edition of Edinburgh’s film festival.

“We have purchased the festival’s intellectual property from CMI’s administrators, FRP Advisory, including domain name and brand assets, to be provided as appropriate to a future operator of the festival. An options appraisal is also underway for a film festival in Edinburgh in 2023.

"This appraisal is being led by Kristy Matheson, creative director of the festival in 2022, alongside colleagues. They will be supported by the Edinburgh International Festival, who have also provided the team with office space at The Hub.

Kristy Matheson, who was brought in as creative director for the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year, is spearheading efforts to bring the event back to life. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

“The work will be funded with an award of up to £97,647. This funding is drawn from the 2022/23 regular funding awards originally allocated to the CMI. It is anticipated that the options appraisal will be completed by the end January 2023, and further announcements will be made, as appropriate, after that time.”

Chad Griffin, joint administrator and partner with FRP Advisory, said: “We’re delighted to have secured a sale of the Edinburgh International Film Festival IP to Creative Scotland.

"Screen Scotland sits within Creative Scotland and is well placed to take forward the development of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, which is a crucial part of Edinburgh’s cultural programming. We are also pleased to announce that following an extensive marketing process for the Filmhouse building on Lothian Road in Edinburgh a closing date for offers has now been set for December 7.”

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Ms Matheson has previously supported a campaign to secure the future of the film festival and the Filmhouse, which was launched when images from classic movies were projected onto the Lothian Road building and Salisbury Crags.

An image of actor Anna Karina from the film Vivre Sa Vie was projected onto Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh last month as part of a campaign to save the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Filmhouse cinema in the city. (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA)

She said at the time: “Independent cinemas bring light and joy to local communities. A space for us to be together, commune with great directors, be energised by new voices and take comfort in knowing that no matter what the day has thrown, you can take yourself to the cinema, see familiar faces at the box office, and settle into your favourite seat to journey someplace new and emerge with your emotional tank refuelled.”

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