Edinburgh International Film Festival to return to August slot from 75th anniversary this summer

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is to return to its August slot in the calendar this summer, organisers have revealed.

The city’s celebration of cinema will mark its 75th anniversary alongside the International Festival and Fringe, which also date back to 1947.

The nine-day event will open on Friday, August 12, the night before the Edinburgh International Book Festival gets underway.

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The EIFF’s dates shift has been confirmed 15 years after organisers of the event announced a move to June after 60 years as a cornerstone of the city’s cultural extravaganza in August.

The move was aimed at helping Scotland’s longest-running film festival reduce competition with other major international events, raising the profile of the EIFF and allowing it to make more use of venues around the city which are usually unavailable in August.

The city Festival, Traverse and Royal Lyceum theatres have all hosted EIFF events since the festival was staged earlier in the calendar.

However, the move to June has had a mixed reaction from the film industry amid claims the EIFF’s profile has been lower since it was staged apart from the International Festival, the Fringe, the Tattoo and the city’s celebrations of literature and visual art.

Like the other festivals, the EIFF was forced to scale back its programme in 2021 due to the late easing of Covid curbs on events in Scotland.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has staged screenings outdoors in recent years.

A seven-day “hybrid” event was delayed until August, weeks after the Scottish Government agreed to reduce physical distancing distancing restrictions from two to one metres in mid-July.

The permanent dates shift has been announced by Kristy Matheson, the festival’s new creative director. The Australian screen industry expert, who was appointed last summer, has been charged with leading the EIFF into a new era following the sudden departure of its last artistic director, Mark Adams, in November 2019.

Ms Matheson, who was previously director of film at the ACMI, Australia’s national museum of screen culture, is shaping the future of the Centre for the Moving Image, which runs the EIFF and the Filmhouse Cinema, the festival’s headquarters. She is also working on its proposed new multi-million pound home in Festival Square.

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She said: “We’re delighted to announce that after the success of 2021, the EIFF will return to its place at the heart of the Edinburgh festivals summer season in 2022.

Everybody talking about Jamie was among the EIFF premieres in 2021. Picture: Pako Mera

"Set against the backdrop of the world's largest global gathering of culture, the EIFF in August is a wonderful opportunity for us to centre film as a major and beloved art form within this larger, vibrant conversation.

“Inspired by the unique identity of our city and our love of film, EIFF invites audiences, artists, and innovators to imagine new worlds with us, engage in thoughtful conversations, and experience joyful encounters across our city this August.

"We look forward to sharing more news about the Festival and its plans in due course and welcoming Edinburgh and the world to our 75th edition in August.”

The EIFF confirmed the date shift as it announced that it was welcoming submissions of films for this year’s programme.

Organisers of the Fringe have announced they will be opening registration for its 75th-anniversary programme within weeks.

The Fringe Society has also confirmed it will be publishing a printed programme for the first full-scale incarnation of the event since 2019.



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