Edinburgh Film Festival Expands Under Partnership With Fringe Festival Including New Venues And Competition Strands

EXCLUSIVE: This year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) will unspool in close collaboration with Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Scottish capital’s historic performing arts event, under a new expansive partnership confirmed today by the two organizations.

As part of the deal, Edinburgh’s film programme will open in close proximity to wider Fringe events, including theatre, music, and comedy performances, using new venues across the city, including non-traditional cinema spaces in Summerhall and at the heart of the Fringe footprint.

This year, the Picturehouse-run Cameo Cinema on Home Street will be the film festival’s cinema hub. The century-old cinema is one of the original EIFF venues and has hosted some of the festival’s most seminal moments, including a 1953 lecture by Orson Welles.

Also expanding are the EIFF film strands. From this year, EIFF will mount a strand of Out of Competition films, which management said will include international premieres and UK premieres. Out of Competition titles will play alongside what EIFF described as ten additional world premiere feature films competing for The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence. Previously announced, the Sean Connery Prize comes with a £50,000 cash prize.

EIFF will also host a Midnight Madness strand that will showcase international genre films in a late-night festival slot, and a new repertory strand will screen restored masterworks. The festival’s Short Film Competition will now come with a £15,000 cash prize and screen alongside what the festival has described as an “innovative short film programme.”

This year’s EIFF (Aug 15 — 21) will be the first under Festival Director Paul Ridd and Festival Producer Emma Boa, who were hired late last year. The pair are backed by an expanding EIFF executive board, including board chair Andrew Macdonald of DNA Films, best known as the producer of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting; Peter Rice, former Chairman of General Entertainment at Disney and President of 21st Century Fox; and Amy Jackson, producer of Charlotte Wells’ After sun. The festival is supported by Screen Scotland.

“We are so excited by the possibilities of August in Edinburgh and the shape of our programme as it comes together,” Ridd told Deadline of his decision to further link the film festival with Edinburgh’s wider Fringe events. “Our collaboration with the Fringe will grow a powerful relationship between audiences across artistic forms. We will tap into the creative energy that is everywhere in the city, encouraging critics, tastemakers, and above all audiences to engage with each other and all that is on show.”

Ridd joined Edinburgh in December 2023 from his position as head of acquisitions at Picturehouse. He took over from Kate Taylor, who quietly left the festival late last year after leading a smaller one-off edition. During his time at Picturehouse, Ridd was widely known for pulling in critical and commercial hits, with some of his releases including Francis Lee’s God’s Own CountryAudrey Diwan’s HappeningCharlotte Regan’s Scrapper, and most recently Justine Triet’s Oscar-winning Anatomy Of A Fall.  His tenure at Edinburgh, however, follows a prolonged period of turbulence at the fest, which included a brief closure after its owner, the Centre for the Moving Image, collapsed. Execs at the CMI appointed administrators in October 2022. Below, Ridd further expounds on his collaboration with Fringe and discusses how he and his team are working to attract premiere films to the festival alongside his long-term vision for the event.

DEADLINE: Paul, I visited EIFF last year, and the one criticism many people had was that they felt the festival was greatly overshadowed by Fringe. Why have you decided to bring the two events closer together?

PAUL RIDD: August is a time of tremendous creative expression in Edinburgh. But it’s also a time when many artists, creatives, and commissioners are in town looking for the next big thing. That’s an advantage for us because of what we’re trying to do, both in terms of the films we’re programming and the kind of eyeballs we want to get onto them — both at an audience and industry level. The way we see it is that we can take advantage of that with our festival and integrate and embed it into that wider cultural sphere. As a result, we can have our world premiere competition films screened like Fringe shows, playing to new audiences and people looking for emerging talent.

DEADLINE: You mention premiere titles. Due to the festival calendar, Edinburgh is obviously in a tough spot when it comes to attracting new films. Summer is traditionally a dead period for ‘festival films.’ How will you approach attracting films?

RIDE: The way we’ve been presenting it to people is that we have an opportunity to give filmmakers a chance to launch into the fall period.  We’re very agnostic in terms of the films we take. We’re looking for films from all over the world of every conceivable genre. We’re not looking for a certain type of movie. We believe Edinburgh is a really good opportunity to launch a film because we have a select and targeted programme where every film in our selection will count. Every film will get its moment to be in front of audiences, press, and buyers. There’s also the submissions process, which we’ve had open since mid-February, where we’ve received hundreds of films from all over the world. So there is a sense that people want to send their films to us for consideration. Also, to be frank, they know there’s the possibility of winning this substantial prize donated by the Connery Foundation, which is an amazing tool to have to present to filmmakers and producers.

DEADLINE: What kind of films will screen out of competition?

RIDE: I want to keep things as broad and accessible as possible. I want to have everything from small independent low-budget films to potential blockbusters premiering in those out-of-competition slots. For obvious reasons, we’re also looking at films from Sundance, Berlin, and Cannes to showcase in those slots as well as potential additional world and international UK premieres. The idea is to make sure that we’re covering a whole range of films in our programme and not being prescriptive about how we approach slots.

DEADLINE: I’ve visited the Cameo Cinema a few times before. I remember it was a very beautiful venue, but does it have a big screen capacity?

RIDE: There’s a very substantial screen one, which is about 250 seats, and then there are additional screens on top of that, but I think the way we’re seeing is that it would be our kind of cinema hub. We’re also looking at other venues across the city, which would be non-traditional spaces, so spaces that are not traditionally associated with cinematic screening.

DEADLINE: When you say non-traditional spaces what do you mean exactly?

RIDE: We are in the process of finalizing some spaces that are more along the lines of sort of large rooms with seating capacity, where we put in industry-standard screens and sound. But think about it like the Sundance model, where they repurpose spaces, so that people can have a comfortable viewing experience, but in spaces that are not necessarily set up as a cinema year-round.

DEADLINE: The old Filmhouse building is in the process of reopening. Will the festival move back there when it’s up and running?

RIDE: Firstly, the partnership with the Cameo is great because it returns the festival to a space that it has been in historically. However, we would love to find, in the future, ways to work on top of that with the Filmhouse once it is up and running again because obviously, that’s a vital cinema in the city that we’re just overjoyed to know is on track to reopen. It’s been such an integral part of the festival. The idea is we want to position our new festival as collaborative, so using multiple spaces, not locked in on one particular venue. We much prefer the idea of a footprint.

DEADLINE: It’s been a turbulent few years at Edinburgh. What is the new executive structure? From what I understand it is now completely separate from the Centre for the Moving Image.

RIDE: Yes, we’re a completely separate new entity that we’ve been building on these past months. We have very important support from Screen Scotland and Isabel over there. We’ve got a robust plan. There’s a huge degree of goodwill because there’s a lot of excitement about what we’re trying to build, particularly the Fringe collaboration elements that bring new possibilities for new work and talent.

  • For more: Elrisala website and for social networking, you can follow us on Facebook
  • Source of information and images “deadline”

Related Articles

Back to top button