Edinburgh Film Festival Brings Back Its Awards

Submitted by edg on Wed, 15 Feb '12 7.47pm

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is reinstating its major awards, jetisonned from last year's festival.

The Best International Feature Film by an Emerging Director, Best Performance in a British Feature Film and, as previously announced, The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature will return in  2012.

The Michael Powell Award, honoured for the best British feature film selected from the British Gala section, is a big draw for the UK's brightest filmmakers. Previous winners have included David Mackenzie's Edinburgh/Glasgow-set Young Adam, Shane Meadow's Somers Town (pictured),  Anton Corbijn’s Control, Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, Pawel Pawlikoswki’s My Summer of Love, Michael Winterbottom's Jude, and Derek Jarman's Blue.

This year could see many more directors competing after eligibility for the award has been extended to documentaries as well.

Chris Fujiwara, who took over as Artistic Director at the EIFF in September last year made the announcement today at the Berlin Film Festival.

Said Fujiwara: “I feel very strongly that having noteworthy awards is important for an international film festival. Awards can stimulate creative dialogue and above all help shine the spotlight on emerging talent, which is part of the mission of EIFF.”

The Award for Best Performance will be presented to an individual for his or her exceptional performance in a UK feature-length production.

The International Feature Film award will be bestowed on an emerging director at the helm of an international (non-UK) feature-length production, again either fiction or documentary.

Both the British and international competition sections will be judged by international juries.

Eligibility for the awards will be at the Artistic Director’s discretion. It will be possible for international and British features to screen as part of the programme but out of competition.

Hopes are high that Fujiawara will re-invigorate the EIFF's tarnished image after last year's festival disappointed critics and audiences.

Fujiwara, whose background is in journalism, has said that he intends to bring "films of originality and distinction, especially those that under current conditions may be unlikely to receive theatrical distribution in the UK; to seek out, invite, and encourage the most promising new and emerging world filmmakers; and to illuminate the most interesting new directions in thinking about cinema."

He has said retrospectives will be an important part of EIFF 2012 too.

Where the "radical new approach" of last year eschewed awards and red carpets, Fujiwara has said that both these elements will form part of his festival recipe.