City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Film Festival Moves To June

By Edinburghs Festivals - Posted on 07 August 2007

The Edinburgh International Film Festival today announced that it will be moving the dates of its fortnight long festival from August to June.

The festival starts in just a little over a week, running this year from the 15th to the 29th August. In 2008, the EIFF will run from the 18th to the 29th June.

The festival has always played on the fact that it is the longest continuously running film festival and amazingly it has always played in August in the 60 years of its existence. I say amazingly, because for years it's been suggested it should move, at least casually, by film festival-goers who have bemoaned the fact that they are being torn away from the myriad other festivals that take over Edinburgh in August. The move makes total sense.

In their news release this was the first thing that the film festival board draw attention to: "The Festival's organisers believe that being the 'only show in town' in Edinburgh during June will greatly enhance opportunities to raise the profile of both the event itself - and the films being showcased."

The EIFF also suggest that there are important financial advantages to moving away from the other festivals, like easier access to Edinburgh accommodation for both filmmaker guests, EIFF delegates, and out-of-town cinephiles who can bolster the audience numbers.

It could help Edinburgh's international standing as a leading film festival. One thing that Edinburgh has always had over the larger London Film Festival held in London in October/November, apart from the intimacy that comes from a smaller event, is timing.

The Edinburgh Film Festival has always come soon enough after the Cannes Film Festival, probably the top film festival in the world, for the buzzy arthouse and indie films to still be fresh by the time they get here.

Now that the EIFF is three weeks after Cannes (16-27 May in 2008), they will be even fresher. Of course, the selection committees don't have the obvious advantage of being able to see which films will go down well with critics and audiences down in the South of France, but I'm sure they'll tell us that never mattered anyway and so why should it in the future. Besides, presumably, the Cannes programme will be announced three weeks before the EIFF announces its festival programme.

With the Edinburgh Film Festival being the main event in the Scottish capital in June, it will probably mean, on balance, that it will find more webspace, newsprint and television devoted to it. As this year's new EIFF artistic director Hannah McGill points out the film festival is getting lost in the noise of the combined festivals.

"June will give us the breathing space to expand and create our own distinct identity, allowing us to further develop our reputation as one of the world's most innovative, cutting-edge and challenging annual film events. Logistically, a June event is also better placed in the ever-crowded international film festival calendar."

The EIFF have to be commended for making the move.