As I think my recent Returning Home piece made clear, I’m a big fan of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. But as well as sharing my thoughts about this year’s festival with you later this week, I decided to get a broader view of EIFF by asking some of the other delegates about their experiences. Here’s what they had to say…
David Cairns – Co-Director, Natan
I attended EIFF — a no-brainer as I live in Edinburgh — with my film Natan, co-directed with Paul Duane. It’s an exciting and eclectic programme, and I’m particularly happy about the low ticket prices, as my partner likes to come to the movies too. This year it was like a club, with several of my friends screening films too: Dummy Jim by Matt Hulse, and I Am Breathing by Morag McKinnon & Emma Davie are both superb films. As usual, I saw more old movies than new, and both the Gremillon and Fleischer retrospectives provided a treasure trove.
Christine Cheung – Producer, Tread Softly Films
I came to Edinburgh for the Network, it’s a project development initiative run by EIFF and Kate Leys. All the participants are invited to attend the festival and connect with other industry mentors. I would say Edinburgh is one my favourite festivals because it feels very intimate where you can casually chat to people and they’re incredibly supportive of emerging talent. It’s my second year at the festival and it’s so nice to see the same smiley faces. There’s such a buzz and energy at the EIFF, it feels like a haven for filmmakers and I’ve made lots of new friends and future collaborators at the festival. I’m hoping to return with a film in the not so distant future, but until then I shall be counting down to the next Ceilidh.
Jessica Levick – Producer, Magnified Pictures Limited
I attended EIFF as an Edinburgh Talent Lab participant, which meant I had sessions daily from 10am-6pm between Friday 21st and Monday 24th. Some of these were general industry events – so open to all industry passholders, like the Marketplace Live event run by Angus Finney which was a highlight. Others were just for the Talent Lab – 30 up and coming directors, writers and producers selected to attend EIFF to further their careers. Highlights of the lab included the one-on-one sessions and producer Iain Smith’s talk. In spite of the full on schedule I did manage to see a couple of films – the best being Oh Boy from Germany which had the greatest David & Goliath backstory – a first time low budget feature by director Jan-Ole Gerster, which won Best Film at the German Academy Awards!!
John Hardwick – Director, Svengali
I was helping present Svengali to festival audiences and I gave a couple of Q&A’s related to that. I really enjoyed my time in Edinburgh, the atmosphere was great. I caught up with some old mates, had a fine time at the Ceilidh and saw Justin Edgar’s We are the Freaks which I really enjoyed.
James Alexandrou – Writer / Director
I was at the EIFF as part of the Talent Lab. That’s basically 30 filmmakers of all sorts who are doing rather well and Edinburgh brings us together to meet and connect and all that jazz.
I fucking loved every minute. It’s such a well run enjoyable festival set in the loveliest of surroundings BUT I haven’t managed to see a single film, which is shameful but testimony on how well the Talent Lab is run. I did come 4th in the film quiz though which I think makes up for it?
Katie Boyles – Development Editor, Tread Softly Films
This was my first time at the Edinburgh International Film Festival but it certainly won’t be my last. I am a script developer and reader who has jumped over the fence in to writing and so it was fantastic to spend time immersed in films, talks and networking drinks with professional filmmakers. I came away feeling inspired and wishing I could have stayed longer. Not Another Teen Movie was a highlight, only beaten by Mike and Sulley dancing in the aisles at the start of Monsters University! The talk Market Place Live was an eye opener and well worth a visit.
Gerry Maguire – Producer, Pins & Needles Media
I’m here to network, do business and develop the feature projects I’m working on. So far I’ve seen some incredible new films and met some outstanding talent. And being at the festival has allowed me to progress my projects to a very comfortable outcome. I’ll definitely be back next year.
Janet Awe – Student, MA in Screenwriting, Birkbeck University
As a first-timer to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, I wasn’t really sure what to expect – there’s only so much you can get from reading about it, or calling to speak to the staff, which I did quite a lot of. I had been worried that the inability to book the majority of talks in advance might mean that I would miss out, which would have been frustrating. However, none of the events that I went to turned people away for capacity reasons, as far as I know. And using my delegate pass, I was able to get free tickets to 9/10 of the films that I wanted to see – even though you have to queue up for them on the day. It was all very straightforward.
For me, it was definitely worth the financial and time investment of coming up from London. I thought the programme of events and films was great, as were the networking opportunities. And now that I have a first-hand understanding of how their system works, I won’t have any qualms in booking next year. I can’t wait.
Tom Chick – Director, Rushcart
I grew up in Edinburgh and have been attending the festival since I was 14 so have seen it go through various rises and falls in its fortunes. I’ve had short films play in it the previous two years and this year have a short documentary I produced with Rory Alexander Stewart called The Port playing and also one that I co-directed with Rory called Rushcart.
I’m a huge fan of the direction the festival has gone in since [Chief Executive] Ken Hay and [Artistic Director] Chris Fujiwara have been involved and have had a great time this year with nearly everything I’ve seen being really strong – the only shame has been the lack of the Cameo and having a good sized cinema dedicated to shorts.
The highlights for me were two feature films, Magic Magic, which didn’t quite work but which I enjoyed a lot, and Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari, which really knocked me out. I also loved what I saw of the Mclaren Animation programmes but sadly missed Marilyn Myller by Mikey Please which was one of the films I was most looking forward to seeing at the festival.
Rahim Moledina – Screenwriter / Film festival addict
I’m here to watch great films, catch up with old friends, meet new friends, party, and look towards future film projects. Highlights include Avanti Popolo – amazing!