Edinburgh Film Festival announce £50,000 Sean Connery Prize

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has announced two huge prizes for this year’s edition: one for best short film and one for best feature

Article by Jamie Dunn | 14 Feb 2024
  • EIFF 2022 Audience

Scotland’s biggest film star Sean Connery was a long-time supporter of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and a regular attendee. The Oscar-winner was often to be found kicking around the Filmhouse during EIFF, adding a dollop of Hollywood glamour to rainy red carpet premieres or cutting a dashing figure in his kilt for the annual festival ceilidh. 

Connery died in 2020, but he’ll be back in spirit this year after the festival announced a new partnership with The Sean Connery Foundation and the establishment of a new prize that’s been described as being “at the centre of the relaunched festival.”

With the title of The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence, the award carries a whopping £50,000 cash prize, which will be handed out to a single filmmaker whose film is making a world premiere at the festival. The festival has struggled to attract the highest quality of world premieres in recent years, but this huge prize fund named in honour of Connery will surely help in making EIFF a more desirable destination. 

EIFF say that ten films will be invited to compete for this prize this year, with the winner determined by an audience vote.

“Dad made it a priority to attend the Edinburgh Film Festival,” says Connery’s son, Jason.  “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.”

This is not the only new award that EIFF has announced today. There will also be a short film competition with a very respectable cash prize of £15,000 attached, and again, it will be for box-fresh films having their world premiere at the festival. The official title of this short film prize is still to be revealed.

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2024 takes place 15-21 August; submissions are open now via edfilmfest.org/submissions