Announced today by Edinburgh International Film Festival is their return in a new and innovative form this summer, with the event running 18-25 August 2021.

Championing Scottish and UK filmmaking, the Festival will include physical screenings and events indoors in Filmhouse Cinema and outdoors with Film Fest in the City in St Andrew Square, in a rich and diverse programme celebrating the return to cinemas and the collective cinema experience.

The festival will also be available to audiences across the UK through its online platform, Filmhouse at Home, where alongside the films viewers can access Q&As and hear first-hand the insights, experiences and passions of directors, filmmakers and actors.

Image © EIFF

In addition, the Festival is collaborating with partners to widen its reach through a programme of presentations across Scotland, opening up access and inspiring curiosity in many who may previously not have been able to experience the Festival programme. More will be announced in the coming weeks.

Film Fest in the City in St Andrew Square Gardens will deliver a free programme of cinematic favourites, delivered in partnership with Essential Edinburgh and supported by Johnnie Walker, EIFF’s Official Whisky Partner, Innis & Gunn, EIFF’s Official Beer Partner, and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

A watery themed, Film Fest on the Forth (31 July & 1 August) will show films the whole family can enjoy at a purpose built outdoor cinema space at Port Edgar Marina in the shadow of the Forth’s iconic bridges. Film Fest on the Forth is also supported EventScotland in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21.

This year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival programme has been brought together by a team of regular and guest programmers led by Nick Varley, founder and former co-CEO of distributor Park Circus and will include guest programmers such as Christophe Mercier and Nada Cirjanic.

They will bring together a condensed programme of features which will join documentaries programmed by Rohan Crickmar, animations selected by Abigail Addison, shorts programmed by Jenny Clarke and experimental films selected by Lydia Beilby and Kim Knowles..

EIFF Talent Lab 2021 adopts a virtual format running across two weekends in August (13-15 & 20-21). The Lab will support writers, directors and producers from Scotland, the UK and internationally, with a programme designed to help them take next steps towards their first feature film.

Talent Lab – An Insight into Representation – Image © Pako Mera

This year EIFF Youth, supported by Baillie Gifford, will gather in Edinburgh over the middle weekend of the Festival, and online over an extended weekend, to take part in workshops, access career advice, look at environmental issues in cinema production, meet and interview filmmakers.

EIFF Youth and EIFF Talent Lab are funded through the PLACE programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government through Creative Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals.

Edinburgh International Film Festival is also teaming up with Filmarket Hub to launch a new talent showcase, to be announced on 28 May.

Ken Hay, CEO of Edinburgh International Film Festival, said: “We all love film and we’re delighted that EIFF is back in 2021, focusing on bringing communities together and celebrating the communal cinema experience as widely and inclusively as possible. The Festival will play a leading role in hailing the return to cinema-going and champion Scottish and UK films to audiences and industry around the world. We also believe that in this year particularly, that EIFF has a strong role to play in highlighting key social issues and will seek to deliver a programme that inspires curiosity and action in our audiences.”

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “I am delighted that the Edinburgh International Film Festival is returning this summer with a programme that extends across Scotland.

“As well as celebrating the collective cinema experience, the Festival will also help writers, directors and producers take next steps towards their first feature film through the Talent Lab 2021 programme supported by the Scottish Government.”

Isabel Davis, Executive Director at Screen Scotland said: “As people start to come back together over the summer it’s exciting that EIFF will offer audiences in Edinburgh, Scotland and across the UK a celebration of the communal experience of cinema. Filmhouse will once more play host but this year the festival will also animate the city, from its centre to its shore, as well as offer an accessible, digital programme will enable audiences unable to attend in person to experience the festival online.”

Film Fest on the Forth – Image © Mike Wilkinson

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “Events are a key part of the social and economic fabric of Scotland and following the challenges presented by the pandemic over the last year, it is wonderful to see Edinburgh International Film Festival has returned with a high-quality hybrid programme for film fans to enjoy in a way they feel most comfortable, whether that’s in person or online.

“EventScotland is delighted to be supporting this year’s festival, including both Film Fest in the City and Film Fest on the Forth in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21, and we look forward to hearing more of what’s on offer across the programme in the weeks to come.”

Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We’re proud to continue our support of the world’s oldest continuous film festival which explores new ideas in filmmaking and is known for heralding and debating the latest developments in cinema.

“It was much missed last year and I look forward to the return to the collective cinema experience with events and screenings planned for the Filmhouse and St Andrew Square as well as the online platform for audiences to enjoy from home.

“Public safety will of course remain a priority, and we can all very much look forward to the full programme announcement in July.”

The full programme will be announced and tickets go on sale on Wednesday 28 July. Announcements on outdoor programmes, opening and closing films will be made in due course.
The Festival’s first priority at all its screenings and events will be the safety of its audiences and guests.