Edinburgh Film Festival to return in 2023 with EIF

Edinburgh International Film Festival gets a reprieve – for one year at the very least – returning in 2023 for a special edition under the umbrella of the Edinburgh International Festival, with a new head of programming

Article by Jamie Dunn | 08 Mar 2023
  • EIFF 2022 Audience

It’s been a dire six months on the Edinburgh film scene. The Filmhouse remains boarded up and its future is still seemingly nonexistent following the financial collapse of the Centre for the Moving Image and a protracted administration of its assets, which saw several bids to open it as a cinema rejected. The identity of the frontrunner to buy the building, and their plans for its future, remain a mystery. Words like sadness and anger don’t do justice to the feelings in the film community about the whole sorry situation. Today, however, there’s some good news at last. Edinburgh International Film Festival will be returning in 2023.

Edinburgh International Film Festival also ceased trading with Filmhouse when CMI went into administration, but it’s been revealed today that the festival will be back this summer in a special iteration as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. While it has been unable to save the cinema, Creative Scotland did secure the intellectual property rights for the film festival from the CMI administrators and made available some money for members of the 2022 EIFF team – including Creative Director Kristy Matheson and programmer Kate Taylor – to investigate the feasibility of EIFF returning in some form.

From that feasibility study emerges a new six-day event that will run 18 to 23 August. Kristy Matheson, unfortunately, won’t be taking forward her vision from the 2022 event, having just been tapped to become the new director of the BFI London Film Festival. There will be some continuity, however, as Kate Taylor is stepping into EIFF’s director of programming role with the opportunity to imagine the festival anew in this new iteration.

“I’m excited to deliver the ideas that the team and I have been working on over the past few months,” says Taylor, "and be a custodian for this year’s programme, ensuring the flame of EIFF burns bright. I can’t wait to welcome audiences to enjoy the curated selection of films we’ll be presenting in August.”

That selection of films will likely be more compact than the already-reduced programme that EIFF presented last year. Over on Twitter, Taylor also promises that this smaller lineup will also be “wild and brainy”, which certainly sounds good to me. 

While it’s sad to see a talented programmer like Kristy Matheson leave EIFF, her move to LFF might represent an opportunity for more collaboration between the two festivals – Taylor previously worked at LFF too. One of the chief reasons that EIFF has struggled to attract the most prestigious titles to Edinburgh over the last decade or so has been London Film Festival’s dominance on the UK film scene.

There were signs of collaboration last year, with both festivals sharing the premiere of the brilliant Aftersun, which opened Edinburgh in August and still had a glitzy English Premiere in London in October. Hopefully similar cross-festival pollination will continue with Taylor and Matheson helming these venerable institutions. 

We will find out what the new-look EIFF will look like as part of the EIF programme in June. We can’t wait to see what Taylor and her team cook up, and hope it sows the seeds for a more robust and sustainable Edinburgh Film Festival in years to come.

Edinburgh International Film Festival will return from 18-23 Aug as part of the Edinburgh International Festival; more info at edfilmfest.org.uk/edinburgh-international-film-festival