EIFF began life as the International Festival of Documentary Films, and was opened by John Grierson, founder of the British documentary movement. Early audiences were treated to work by filmmakers as varied as Roberto Rossellini, Robert Flaherty, Jacques Tati and pioneering animator Norman McLaren.
Chief amongst the filmmakers whose UK reputations the Festival helped establish was Ingmar Bergman, with UK premieres given over five consecutive Festivals between 1957 and 1961.
The Festival has been a champion of emerging British talent throughout its history, presenting world premieres of formative films by Bill Forsyth, Danny Boyle and Stephen Frears, among many others.
In the early 1970s, EIFF pioneered the retrospective with programmes on the likes of Douglas Sirk, Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese, something which has become standard practice at film festivals all over the world.
Other important moments in the history of the Festival include the Women's Film Festival, exclusively for female directors and part of EIFF in 1972. Lynda Myles, Festival Director from 1973-1980, was the first woman to occupy such a role at any film festival in the world.
Over the years, EIFF has welcomed a huge number of guests, including John Huston, Gene Kelly, Jacques Tati, Jennifer Lawrence, Tilda Swinton, Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, David Cronenberg, Cate Blanchett, Clint Eastwood and Sir Sean Connery.
EIFF has always striven for a balance between old and new. Combining a celebration of the past through carefully structured retrospectives that enable contextualisation and celebration that help tell the story of cinema that is set alongside shining a light on new and emerging filmmakers.
The programming team scours the world looking for new, exciting, challenging, thrilling, provocative and sometimes plain old scary films to bring to audiences. They attend the major film festivals and markets; have strong partnerships with sales agents, distributors and national films bodies; and utilise long-rooted relationships with directors, producers, performers and other film professionals to constantly reinvigorate the programme and reflect the ever-changing landscape of the film world.
For full details about the International Edinburgh Film Festival programme and news about various aspects of the film world see the website at http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk.
Edinburgh is just over an hour’s drive from any of our self-catering holiday cottages and a visit to the Edinburgh Film Festival while staying in our part of central Scotland would provide some great family entertainment and some great holiday memories.