After what was widely considered a much improved Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), compared to the debacle last year, the festival announced today that its artistic director Chris Fujiwara will continue in his role for a further three years.
"The interest and enthusiasm of the Festival audience and the dedication and professionalism of the Festival staff and volunteers have transformed my view of the importance cinema can hold in people’s lives," said Fujiwara.
"I’m deeply grateful to the Board for their confidence in me, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to expand our relationships with our audiences and with international filmmakers, distributors and sales agents. I’m very excited about working to shape the future of EIFF.”
The 66th EIFF was noted for some bold choices, including many films that critics had not heard of in the 120 feature film programme.
The decision to bring back the Michael Powell and International Awards to the EIFF, as well as high-profile red carpet premieres at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, such as the closing gala of Disney/Pixar's Brave (pictured below), were also considered a factor in this year's festival success.
Fujiwara described putting on the EIFF with its strands of shorts programmes, two retrospectives, a full industry programme, talent development labs, education initiatives and special events as "one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences of my career".
Chair of the EIFF board Leslie Hills called Fujiwara's recipe for this year's festival "a superb reinvention".
She added: "Chris, along with the excellent support of staff and volunteers delivered, with his signature intelligence, knowledge and humour, a multi-faceted programme which engaged filmgoers and professionals, students and critics alike. We are utterly delighted that he has accepted our offer to build on this very promising first edition."
Box office numbers up
The box office numbers were welcomed as a sign of the 66th EIFF's success with admissions this year of just over 40,000 across the 12-day event.
While it was not as much as the 44,500 admissions of 2010 it was a big improvement on the slump of 34,500 admissions last year. It gives Fujiwara a solid base to build on.