Rescue package revealed for Edinburgh International Film Festival revival
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The Scottish Government, its agencies Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland, and Edinburgh City Council have so far committed £740,000 on a one-off edition of the world's longest continually-running celebration of cinema. Another government agency, EventScotland, is also in talks about backing the return of the event, which dates back to 1947.
The level of support for the festival has emerged weeks after it was announced that a one-off edition of the EIFF would be staged as part of this year's Edinburgh International Festival.
Six days of premieres have been promised under the rescue of the 76-year-old event, planning for which is being led by programme director Kate Taylor, who was part of a team of programmers who worked on the 2022 event under former creative director Kristy Matheson.
The EIFF’s future was thrown into doubt after its parent company, the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), went into administration in October, with the Filmhouse cinemas in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and the festival all ceasing trading, with the loss of 107 jobs.
The funding has been confirmed as it emerged that secret talks were being held with a pub operator which has snapped up the Edinburgh Filmhouse building for £2.65 million.
Screen Scotland has led efforts to ensure the festival continues this summer, with the EIF offering, as well as access to its box office and marketing resources. The agency is expected to work with a panel of industry experts this year on a blueprint for the long-term future of the event.
Some of the funding previously earmarked for the CMI has been repurposed to help stage this year's one-off edition, which will run from 18-23 August.
Although new director Nicola Benedetti will unveil her first Edinburgh International Festival programme this week, the EIFF line-up will not be announced until June.
Submissions for this year’s EIFF opened last month, although the open call was limited to Scottish features and shorts by filmmakers born or based in Scotland.
However the official announcement about the EIFF’s comeback this year has promised that the “hand-picked” programme will showcase the work of “exceptional local and global filmmakers and ensure the flame of EIFF burns bright for future generations of passionate cinema fans.”
Val Walker, culture convener at the city council, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to support the film festival this August.
“The event now has a new future building on a remarkable legacy and the city can look forward to an exciting programme this year.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said “The £155,000 from the Scottish Government’s Place Fund earmarked for film festival activity for the Centre of the Moving Image is now being contracted to the Edinburgh International Festival to deliver the 2023 Edinburgh International Film Festival.
“The EIFF will also receive the £400,000 which would have been part of CMI’s funding, which included film festival activity, as one of Creative Scotland's regularly funded organisations.”
A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland and Screen Scotland said: “Funding to deliver the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2023 under the EIF umbrella includes £400,0000, which was awarded from the budget that was originally intended for the CMI in 2022/23.”