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Edinburgh International Film Festival shake-up for 2011

EIFF.pngThe Edinburgh International Film Festival is in line for some big changes it would seem as Tilda Swinton, Mark Cousins and Lynda Myles take up the task of curating the festival for 2011.

With the festival losing its funding, seeing a drop in returns last year, losing the artistic director and struggling to find a replacement, those behind the festival have decided it's a good time for a big change, and big change there will be.

Gone are the competitions for the festival and in come cheaper tickets, one off events, guest curators and even honesty days allowing the audience to pay what they think a film was worth.

Mark Cousins talked to The Guardian about the changes they had in store for the Edinburgh International Film Festival and said:

”It is probably the most radical shakeup the film festival has had. The film festival world is changing. There are now 2,000 festivals. A lot are quite similar. But if you look at music festivals there is a lot happening. What Tilda and I and Lynda can do is take the film festival and mash it up with other stuff, with dance culture and music culture.”

Great, that's just what film audiences want, dance and music events. Isn't it? He goes on to say:

”We love the Edinburgh film festival but it needs to continue to surprise people to keep people attentive. We're clearing away everything for renewal to give ourselves space for a rethink.

Edinburgh is a city on a human scale and the festival has never felt like a institution, it's always spiky and edgy. We shouldn't try to make it too grand.

We wanted to have an honesty day in which we tell people to pay what they think, give nothing or give over a bottle of wine. We want it to be quite playful.”

Well I have to agree that there have been bigger and far more mainstream films appearing on the schedule for the EIFF in the past few years, but that's not a bad thing really, these are films that people want to see. Toy Story 3 (Filmstalker review) was a big film and not what we expected to see at the EIFF, but it was greatly received, and we can't take the chance of losing the chance of seeing films such as Moon (Filmstalker review), which is still thought of as a bigger film than many of the films shown at the festival.

I do agree with some of the sentiments that Cousins is hinting at, while I'm not keen on plenty of music and dance events - these are really for music festivals aren't they? - the EIFF has always delivered films to us that are far from the mainstream, and I've always walked away having seen some truly great films I'd otherwise never even have heard of.

As a member of the audience and a regular reviewer of the festival, as long as we don't lose that I won't mind.



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