Edinburgh International Film Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival logo
Edinburgh International Film Festival logo 2024
GenreFilm festival
Date(s)15 - 21 August 2024
VenueSummerhall, The Cameo, Edinburgh
Years active77
Inaugurated1 June 1947 (1947-06-01)

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), established in 1947, is the world's oldest continually running film festival.[1][2][3] EIFF presents both UK and international films (all titles are World, International, European, UK or Scottish Premieres), in all genres and lengths. It also presents themed retrospectives and other specialized programming strands.


The International Festival of Documentary Films, a programme of documentaries, was presented by the Edinburgh Film Guild alongside the 1947 Edinburgh International Festival.[4] At the time, Cannes and Venice were the most significant annual film festivals. Over the subsequent years, the programme expanded to include fiction films and experimental work in addition to documentaries.

Linda Myles was director of the Festival from 1973 to 1980,[5] initiating a number of reappraisals and new viewpoints, notably "The Women's Event" organised by Myles, Claire Johnston and Laura Mulvey at the 1972 Festival.[6]

In 2008, the film festival moved from its traditional August slot to June.[7]

In past editions, a number of awards were developed by the festival. These included The Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature Film (selected by a jury), the Audience Award, and the Best International Feature Award (selected by a panel of judges). There were previously several awards given for short films.

The artistic director from September 2006 to 2010 was Hannah McGill, previously a film critic and cinema columnist for The Herald newspaper.[8] Her predecessor, Shane Danielsen, served from 2002 to 2006.[9] Tilda Swinton, Robert Carlyle and Seamus McGarvey were honorary patrons.[10] In December 2009, Hannah McGill collected the prestigious Talkback Thames New Talent Award at the Women in Film and Television Awards.[11]

Following McGill's departure, a new format was announced in December 2010 with no artistic director and a series of guest curators led by producer James Mullighan.[12]

The Festival returned to a more conventional format in 2012 under artistic director Chris Fujiwara, who stepped down in 2014.

In 2014, the film critic/programmer Mark Adams – who had been Chief Film Critic for Screen International; Director of Cinema at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), and Head of Programme Planning at the National Film Theatre – took over as Artistic Director. He decided to step down in late 2019 after heading five editions.[13] The festival was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of June 2021, the festival board introduced its newest creative director, Kristy Matheson, who formerly served as Director of Film at Australia's national museum of screen culture, ACMI.

In October 2022, the festival's organiser, the Centre for the Moving Image, went into administration.[14] The festival’s main venue, Edinburgh’s celebrated Filmhouse cinema, also closed in 2022. CMI released a statement explaining that: “The charity is facing the perfect storm of sharply rising costs, in particular energy costs, alongside reduced trade due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis. The combination and scale of these challenges is unprecedented and means that there was no option but to take immediate action.”[15]

In March 2023, it was announced that the festival would return in a special one-year iteration as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, running from 18–23 August 2024. Screen Scotland also supported the festival, who took on the festival brand after the administration of the Centre for the Moving Image. The 2023 programme was led by Programme Director Kate Taylor, with Kristy Matheson leaving the role. Details of the programme, which included 36 features films, of which 24 were new, were published in July 2023.[16]

In July 2023, Screen Scotland facilitated the recruitment of Chairperson Andrew Macdonald to lead the establishment of a new company to run the festival.[17]

In November 2023, Paul Ridd, a long-term acquisitions executive at Picturehouse Cinemas, was named as the new Director of the festival.[18]

In January 2024, it was announced that the festival would return from 15–21 August 2024.[19]

The festival will open with the UK premiere of Nora Fingscheidt's Orkney-set drama The Outrun starring Saoirse Ronan.[20] The film is based on Amy Liptrot's 2016 memoir, The Outrun.

Spanning 7 days, the relaunched festival is set to honour 70+ years of festival history, showcasing the very best talent in filmmaking in a re-energised format that is rooted in a local Scottish context whilst embracing the international diversity of creative expression.

The festival is poised to accelerate the discovery of new talent through the inauguration of two major competitions, The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence and a competition for Shorts, with significant prize-money awarded to the filmmakers.[21]


During the festival's early years, screenings took place at various cinemas and other venues across the city, including the New Victoria in Clerk Street, the Playhouse in Leith Walk, the Odeon in Lothian Road and the Central Hall, Tollcross.[22] In 1958, it acquired its own base at 3 Randolph Crescent, a Georgian town house with its own cinema.[23] In 1979, it moved to the Edinburgh Filmhouse, which remained its base until its closure in 2022. Other recent venues have included Fountainpark Cineworld, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, and the VUE Cinema at the Omni Centre.

EIFF Awards (historic and present)


  1. ^ "Scotland Hosts the World's Longest Running Film Festival". Scotland.com. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  2. ^ "WebFilmFest.com – Your Online Source for Film Festivals". WebFilmFest.com. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  3. ^ "Filmhouse – Edinburgh International Film Festival". lastminute.com. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Film Attractions. Big Programme of Documentaries". The Glasgow Herald. 23 August 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  5. ^ Lloyd, Matt (1 February 2013). "Hero Worship: Lynda Myles". Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  6. ^ Hayward, Susan (2002). Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts (2 ed.). Routledge. p. 115. ISBN 9781134587902. Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Edinburgh International Film Festival". Edinburgh-History.co.uk. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  8. ^ Gillian Bowdtich (17 May 2009). "Hannah McGill: The Glamour Girl of the Pictures". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  9. ^ Shane Danielson (10 August 2006). "Five Years' Hard Labour of Love". The Times. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  10. ^ Tim Cornwell (28 April 2009). "Oscar Nominee is Edinburgh Film Festival's Latest Patron". The Scotsman. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  11. ^ "EIFF Artistic Director Hannah McGill Wins Award at Women in Film and Television Awards". Filmhouse. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  12. ^ Brian Ferguson (22 December 2010). "Film Festival promises big changes as new producer is announced". The Scotsman. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  13. ^ Ferguson, Brian (16 December 2014). "Mark Adams to head up Edinburgh Film Festival". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  14. ^ Jack Ewing (6 October 2022). "Edinburgh film festival and cinemas cease trading". BBC News. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  15. ^ Pulver, Andrew (6 October 2022). "Edinburgh film festival shuts down as organisers call in administrators". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 January 2024.
  16. ^ Pulver, Andrew (6 July 2023). "Edinburgh film festival announces lineup after seeing off closure threat". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2023.
  17. ^ Scotland, Screen (24 July 2023). "Andrew Macdonald appointed to form and chair new Edinburgh International Film Festival for 2024 and beyond". Screen Scotland. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  18. ^ Ntim, Zac (15 November 2023). "Edinburgh Film Festival: Picturehouse Acquisitions Head Named Director". Deadline. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  19. ^ Scotland, Screen (17 January 2024). "Edinburgh International Film Festival announces new competition and dates for 2024 edition". Screen Scotland. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  20. ^ "The Outrun to open the 77th edition of EIFF". Edinburgh International Film Festival. Retrieved 9 May 2024.
  21. ^ "Edinburgh International Film Festival". Edinburgh International Film Festival. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  22. ^ Festival City. Edinburgh: Scotsman Publications. 2009. pp. 9–19. ISBN 978-1-85983-739-9.
  23. ^ Bruce, George (1975). Festival in the north: the story of the Edinburgh Festival. London: Hale. p. 194. ISBN 0-7091-5061-X.
  24. ^ "Edinburgh International Film Festival launches Sean Connery award". BBC News. 14 February 2024. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  25. ^ Scotland, Screen (17 January 2024). "Edinburgh International Film Festival announces new competition and dates for 2024 edition". Screen Scotland. Retrieved 24 April 2024.