Edinburgh International Film Festival Preview: What Should We Expect?

Submitted by Al Innes on Sun, 29 May '11 4.34pm

Now that the dust has settled on the launch it seems appropriate to take stock. Just what should we expect from the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival? Has it acheived the grand aim it set out of "boldly reinventing and reinvigorating itself"?

Well a few things are abundantly clear. There will be no red carpet premieres. There will be no celebrity glitz and levels of glamour are being set to stun rather than kill. This year it's all about the festival goers, the audience members, the punters. No longer will the delgates be secreted away behind the teasing glass panels of a city hotel – this year the festival revelleres will mix at an atomic level.

But what of the rumours? Of course the EIFF has also decided not to include multi-saver deals on tickets, as in previous years. Instead they offered Filmhouse members two days advance ticket purchasing. Some say that the Best of the Fest strand is missing, it certainly makes no appeareance in the programme, but will it be a late addition? Or has it been dropped? It was always a handy way for audiences to catch the films that had the most buzz, and if it's gone it seems to run contrary to the idea of making this year about the audiences rather than the delegates. The move to Teviot away from the secluded headquarters of Bread Street was marked as a chance to get the punters and the producers mingling in a Fringe Festival style atmosphere. However at £9 a pop for most of the stand-out movies, the popcorn princesses like Toy Story 3 a distant memory, and the total number of films nearer sixty than one hundred and six the question is raised: just what are people getting for their money? What should you go and see?

The removal of red carpet events seemed to make sense. It de-mystifies the atmosphere of the screenings and brings audiences closer to the stars. Why then have the EIFF made such a big deal out of moving Ewan McGregor's Perfect Sense on the 18th of June to a larger venue? The EIFF announcement that they had sold-out advance tickets for the Glasgow-set drama seemed sensible. More bums on seats. Why make such an effort to assure us that "Ewan MacGregor will be in attendance". McGregor himself stated:

"I’m delighted to be able to come to Edinburgh to support the Film Festival and the European Premiere of Perfect Sense and look forward to seeing the film in such an amazing venue."

Is this a compromise on the red carpet premieres, or another slightly muddled interruption?

Talk from sources connected to the Scottish film industry is that this year the Glagow Film Festival might find itself over-taking it's city rival for the first time. As an Edinburgh resident and firm believer that a little friendly rivalry is healthy I'm not against that, but I certainly don't want to see it happen in my life-time. Here at EdinburghGuide we're keen to see this year's reboot make a significant mark on the festival calendar.

So that's why I'm going to sift through it all. I'm going to be looking into these issues in a series of preview blogs this week. Armed with enough information it should be a no problem catching a masterpiece this year. This year's festival is different, it's maybe a bit odd even, but it's certainly got something special in there for all of us. I'll catch up with Director James Mulligan, talk to the local artists behind the Music Pictures collaboration and pick out a few of what I think will be the key films to see come June 15th.

As always, I'll be tweeting from twitter.com/alguinness and for all the latest updates check out: our Edinburgh Film Festival coverage.

The 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from the 15th to the 26th of June 2011.

The EIFF may have played down the red carpet premieres, but these glitzy events raise the profile of both film and festival. If the opportunity comes knocking the fest's not going to turn it down...

Thanks for your comment.

I agree with what you're saying, but I do feel that it begs the question of whether the lack of premieres is a concious choice, or a well-managed issue that has been forced upon them?

On the one hand they seem to be saying "Come to the new HQ and rub shoulders with the stars" and on the other "If you want to come to a festival and rub shoulders with the stars perhaps this isn't the festival for you."

That seems rather confused to me. But I'm sure over the next couple of weeks a clearer picture will emerge.