EIFF announce new strands, retrospectives and award

Edinburgh International Film Festival returns to the August festival bonanza with a new look programme and a new award – the Powell and Pressburger Award – celebrating creativity in both British film and cinema from further afield

Article by Jamie Dunn | 29 Jun 2022
  • After Yang

For the last decade or so, Edinburgh cinephiles have had a quiet August. The Edinburgh International Film Festival was first held in 1947, the same year as the International Festival, and both events ran concurrently until 2008, when EIFF spread its wings to a new June slot. But film fans no longer have to look on enviously at the various celebrations of theatre, comedy, dance, opera, literature and music that come to the Scottish capital every August. Last year, a mini-edition of EIFF was welcomed back into the fold, and it looks like film is here to stay.

Overseeing EIFF’s permanent move to August is Kristy Matheson, the festival's newly appointed Creative Director. “The whole point of moving the festival back to August is really about ensuring that film is central to that broader cultural conversation that happens here every summer,” she says. “Obviously the August festivals are very important to local audiences, but it's also hugely International. It's a global gathering of people and talent, and I think it's really important that film, as an art form, is in that mix.”

EIFF's 2022 Theme and Retrospectives

We're eagerly awaiting the realease of EIFF's full programme on 20 July, but today some more details of the new vision for EIFF have been announced. The theme of this year’s festival will look back to 1972, when EIFF presented Women’s Film Festival, the first global film event entirely dedicated to the cinematic achievements of women directors. ”Honouring that pioneering programme,” says EIFF, “this year’s theme will acknowledge the multiplicity and variety of feminisms in contemporary society across our entire programme.”

A brace of retrospective are also planned around this theme. First there's Social Studies, a full retrospective of the films by Japanese director Tanaka Kinuyo, presented in partnership with the BFI in London, Glasgow Film Theatre, Bristol Watershed and Janus Films. Having acted for celebrated filmmakers like Yasujirô Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi throughout the 30s and 40s, Kinuyo stepped behind the camera in 1953 with the star-studded drama Love Letter – EIFF will screen Love Letter, plus Kinuyo’s five subsequent features. The second retrospective is titled Reframing the Gaze: Experiments in Women’s Filmmaking, 1972 to Now, and is curated by Kim Knowles. 

New Strands and Award

We know that EIFF will be split into five strands this year: The Conversation (described as "cinema to get you talking"), The Chamber ("arthouse cinema for the culturally curious"), Heartbreakers ("films about friendship, family, lovers, and cheaters"), Night Moves ("cult, music, late night thrills"), and Postcards From the Edge ("bold visions to expand horizons"). The annual Michael Powell Award celebrating British cinema is also changing. This year it becomes the Powell & Pressburger Award, and will see five British films competing alongside five international titles for an award that "honours imagination and creativity in filmmaking".

The popular Film Fest in the City is also back, with another programme of free outdoor screenings in St Andrew Square, which will take place over the weekend of 12 to 14 August. Titles are yet to be annouced, but we're told the series will include "a takeover day by EIFF Young programmers and a celebration of Scottish Stories." The festival will have a bigger footprint this year: as well as taking over the Filmhouse, there will also be screenings at the Vue in the Omni centre, the new Everyman in St James Quarter and at the Cameo. 

Closing Gala

The festival comes to a close on 20 August with the UK premiere of the gorgeous sci-fi film After Yang, the second feature from Korean-American director Kogonada. “As a huge fan of Kogonada’s previous film Columbus, I could not be happier to be closing the festival with the director’s latest offering,” says Matheson. “After Yang is an exquisite jewel of a film, boasting knockout performances from some of the finest acting talents from Ireland and the UK. I’m sure audiences will share my enthusiasm for this thought-provoking and deeply moving film.”

EIFF takes place 12-20 August, with the full programme announced 20 July