Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011: The rough guide

  • The List
  • 27 May 2011

This article is from 2011

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011: esssential information

James Mullighan, Festival Director

What you need to know about this year's festival

1 The festival has a new artistic director, James Mullighan, who is from Adelaide. Previously he ran the independent filmmakers’ network Shooting People and was a journalist. He says: ‘Throughout its history [the Festival] has been provocative, controversial, a little dangerous often, a debate leader and a culture setter, but not lately. We want to get back to that …’

2 Former festival directors Mark Cousins and Lynda Myles and festival patron Tilda Swinton have been giving some friendly advice but have not been curating the Festival. ‘A few emails to friends cannot, in any light, be construed as the curatorship of a major international film festival,’ Swinton clarified in April.

3 The Festival hub has been moved from Lothian Road to the Teviot building at Bristo Square, named Festivalhouse@Teviot for June. Here, delegates will be encouraged to rub shoulders with the great unwashed at screenings, club nights and talks, including a daily ‘Filmmakers in Focus’ talk at 5.15pm.

4 There will be no awards at this year’s festival. Red carpets and premieres have been scaled back as part of a shift in ethos towards inclusion and innovation. Expect to hear the word ‘pop-up’ quite a lot.

5 Films will be shown in more places, including a pop-up public screen in St Andrew Square. Filmhouse, Cameo, Dominion, the Festival Theatre, and the George Square Theatre will all be venues. Cineworld will not (although you could go there to see Kung Fu Panda 2).

6 The opening film is Irish crime caper The Guard, a kind of cross between In Bruges and 1960s policer In the Heat of the Night with Brendan Gleeson as a corrupt cop and Don Cheadle as an uptight CIA officer. There will be no closing night film this year.

7 EIFF will be collaborating with the Sheffield Documentary Festival, meaning that a third of the total programme will comprise new documentaries, among them the new one from Man on Wire director James Marsh (titled Project Nim) and Sundance winner Hell and Back Again.

8 Various filmmakers, musicians and writers have acted as guest artistic advisors this year. Among them are Gus Van Sant, Alan Warner, Jim Jarmusch, Mike Skinner, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Bela Tarr.

9 Beyond the movies there are plenty of ‘Behind the Camera’ workshops for aspiring filmmaker types, including a BAFTA-organised Q&A with Bill Nighy on Sun 19 Jun, 5.30pm at Festivalhouse@Teviot. Some of these events are still to be confirmed at the time of going to press, so keep an eye on edfilmfest.org.uk for further programming.

10 Do say: ‘The Festival has made up for a smaller budget through some innovative ideas, and is boldly putting the punters’ interests above its own prestige.’ Don’t say: ‘All a bit risky, isn’t it?’

Edinburgh International Film Festival

The oldest continually running film festival in the world, the EIFF draws on its prestige to consistently present abundant programmes of new features, documentaries, retrospectives, shorts, panel discussions and educational workshops, with a few high profile premieres thrown in for good measure.

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