It has been announced that the Sean Connery Foundation set up by the family of the late 007 star is to sponsor a new £50,000 prize at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this summer.

The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence will be awarded to a single filmmaker at the Festival, which will run this year from August 15-21.

Ten world-premiere feature films will compete for the £50,000 cash prize, with the winner determined by audience vote.

Festival chiefs said the prize would create “an exciting platform to showcase today’s most talented filmmakers by linking their success to the legacy of Scotland’s most famous global star”.

Paul Ridd, Festival Director, said: “Sean Connery was a vital patron of EIFF, consistently showing up to support new talent and gracing countless red carpets.

“He loved Edinburgh and he loved the festival. We are thrilled to establish the prize to honour this iconic Scottish star and we are immensely moved by the generosity of The Sean Connery Foundation, an organisation which shares our respect for cinema history and excitement for its future.”

The Sean Connery Foundation was established in 2022 by a provision of the actor’s estate.

It aims to honour his legacy through strategic grant-making to deserving institutions and organisations in Scotland and The Bahamas — the two countries the late actor called home.

The goal of the fund is to accelerate positive change in areas of interest and importance to Connery and his family, including screen education, sports achievement and ocean health.

Stephane Connery, chair of the foundation, said: “From the moment we launched the Sean Connery Foundation, we have been focused on expanding opportunities for talented young people from Scotland to access rewarding careers in the film industry, particularly those who face disadvantage.

“Investing in a revitalised Edinburgh International Film Festival is another piece of that puzzle, providing a local showcase for global talent, where young Scots can find inspiration, mentors, and role-models to fuel their own film-education journey.

“My only wish is that Sean could join us to award the prize himself — he would have loved it.”

Jason Connery, Sean Connery Foundation Ambassador, added: “Dad made it a priority to attend the Edinburgh Film Festival. He knew first-hand what it meant to work hard and struggle for opportunity. He also knew how hard it is to make an extraordinary film.

“With this prize, we link his legacy as a talent who rose from humble means to achieve global success with the next generation of artists forging that same path, and we do it by supporting the film festival he so loved, in the hometown he cherished.”

EIFF will also inaugurate a short film competition with a cash prize of £15,000.

Sir Sean Connery PHOTO courtesy of EIFF

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