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Founded in 1947, Edinburgh International Film Festival is the world's longest continually-running film festival. We are delighted to celebrate our 70th anniversary with an amazing selection of our many highlights thus far.
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About The Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival turns 70 years old in 2017, and in celebration we are delighted to present some of the many highlights from the world's longest continually running film festival.
EIFF began life as the "International Festival of Documentary Films" in 1947, founded by the Edinburgh Film Guild, the world's oldest film society. and opened by John Grierson, founder of the British documentary movement.
The Festival has been a champion of emerging British talent throughout its history, presenting world premieres of formative films by Bill Forsyth, Danny Boyle and Stephen Frears, among many others.
In the late 60s and early 70s, EIFF pioneered the retrospective with programmes on the likes of Samuel Fuller, Douglas Sirk and Martin Scorsese, something which continues to this day and has become standard practice at festivals all over the world.
Other important moments in the history of the Festival include the Women's Film Festival, exclusively for female directors and part of EIFF in 1972. Lynda Myles, Festival Director from 1973-1980, was the first woman to occupy such a role at any film festival in the world.
Over the years, EIFF has welcomed a huge number of guests, including John Huston, Gene Kelly, Jacques Tati, Jennifer Lawrence, Ewan McGregor, Sigourney Weaver, Robert Carlyle, David Cronenberg, Christine Vachon, Mike Leigh, Cate Blanchett, Clint Eastwood, Claire Danes and Sir Sean Connery.
The Festival has hosted premieres of Blade Runner, Alien, Back to the Future, Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, Withnail & I, The Usual Suspects, Amelie, The Hurt Locker, Little Miss Sunshine, Billy Elliot and many, many more.
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First International Festival of Documentary Films
Edinburgh International Film Festival was founded in 1947 as the "First International Festival of Documentary Films". Opened with a ceremony at the Playhouse cinema, speeches of welcome were made before the very first films: The Cumberland Story, The Seventh Age and The Festival of Youth.
Roberto Rossellini's Paisà
The Closing Gala of the first Festival was Roberto Rossellini's Paisà, which consists of six episodes set during the liberation of Italy at the end of World War II, mixing documentary-like visuals with a hugely moving reflection on war.
Louisiana Story Opening Gala
The 2nd Festival opened with Robert J. Flaherty's Louisiana Story. Often mistaken for a documentary, it was in fact an early example of docu-fiction filmed in a hyper-realist style which misleads the viewer. In 1949, Virgil Thomson won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his score to the film, which is still the only film score to be bestowed such an honour.
Jacques Tati's Jour de Fête
By 1949 the documentary definition was being more freely interpreted. Forsyth Hardy had seen Jour de Fête in Paris, at a time when his work was unknown in Britain, and was determined that Edinburgh should have the opportunity to enjoy his highly individual clowning. Jour de Fête closed the Festival in 1949.
The Wooden Horse Opening Gala
With the Festival's title expanded to include 'Realist, Documentary, Experimental', the Opening Gala of Jack Lee's adaptation of Eric Williams' book The Wooden Horse represented another subtle move away from documentary - though based on real experience, the film was a studio picture albeit a low-budget one. Sunday Times journalist Dilys Powell described it as having "the poetry of unrehearsed adventure".
The Man In The White Suit Opening Gala
The Festival opened with Alexander Mackendrick's The Man In The White Suit, Ealing Studios' satirical sci-fi comedy which satisfied Grierson and Forsyth Hardy's search for films embracing social comment. Mackendrick was fresh from directing one of Ealing's greatest successes, the iconic Whisky Galore! - the remake of which closed the Festival in 2016.
The Duke of Edinburgh Opens The 6th Festival
The 6th Festival included Le Plaisir by Max Ophuls and Stanley Kramer's adaptation of Death of a Salesman representing a distinct move away from documentary programming. In this archive footage we see Norman Wilson (chairman of the Festival), Lillian Hopewell (secretary for the Festival) and Forsyth Hardy meet the Duke of Edinburgh at the opening of the Edinburgh International Festival.
Orson Welles visits the Festival
Orson Welles gave the first EIFF Celebrity Lecture in 1953 at the Cameo cinema, speaking for two hours to a capacity audience about his thoughts on the power of cinema and the challenges faced by a film industry he considered to be "dying":
"I would like a public and I would like a film in which it is possible to exchange and communicate ideas and information."
Time for Expansion
1954 rang in a number of changes intended to expand the scope of the Festival, including taking over the Cameo cinema together with a number of other cinemas across the city, making it possible to show 170 of the 210 films submitted. John Huston agreed to serve as Honorary President, bringing further prominence and acclaim to the Festival.
Jacques Tati's M. Hulot's Holiday
After the Festival screened Les Vacances de M. Hulot in 1955 Jacques Tati sent EIFF a telegram saying “Ta Ta, Tattoo, Tati”.
The same year, Vittorio de Sica, the festival's Honorary President, was presented with the Golden Laurel Award by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. at the New Victoria cinema.
Gene Kelly's Invitation to Dance
In 1956, Gene Kelly came to Edinburgh for the premiere of Invitation to the Dance at the New Victoria cinema.
"I have always been a confirmed believer in the "Film Festival" as an incentive to higher standards of creative work, and anyone who has been to Edinburgh will tell you that every visitor leaves with the resolve to do better things."
A Face in the Crowd Midnight Matinee
The Festival announced in its second week that it was hosting Edinburgh's first Midnight Matinee: Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd, which screened at 11.30pm at the Regal cinema on Lothian Road with a personal appearance by Patricia Neal.
Wild Strawberries Opening Gala
Wild Strawberries by Ingmar Bergman opened the 12th Festival at its new premises at Randolph Crescent. The most talked about film at the Festival however was Roman Polanski's Two Men and a Wardrobe which prompted discussions about the re-birth of Polish cinema and the work of the State Film School at Lodz.
New Victoria Cinema
The Festival opened with Bert Haanstra's first feature film Fanfare on which he had received the help and guidance of one Alexander Mackendrick after meeting in Edinburgh at the 1951 Festival. This archive footage shows British Pathé winning a prize at the New Victoria cinema during the 14th Edinburgh Film Festival.
Les Yeux Sans Visage
When Georges Franju attended EIFF in 1959 with Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face) he left intending to make a film in Scotland, taking with him copies of Confessions of a Justified Sinner and The House With the Green Shutters - something which sadly did not come to pass.
The Film and The Literature
The theme of the Festival in 1962 was The Film and the Literature, in celebration of the inspiration cinema has found in books, featuring screenings of such classic literary adaptations as A Streetcar Named Desire, The Innocents, Last Year at Marienbad, Wuthering Heights and The Quiet American.
The Film and The Drama
The Festival's theme of The Film and the Drama in 1963 explored the relationship between the dramatic arts and cinema with a special gala screening of An Evening with the Royal Ballet including filmed performances from Sleeping Beauty with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev.
Ingmar Bergman Retrospective
The Festival continued to champion Ingmar Bergman with a season of his work, including all the films that had previously screened in Edinburgh: The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Face, Virgin Spring and The Devil's Eye.
Fred Zinnemann Awarded the Golden Thistle
The Films of Scotland Committee presented Fred Zinneman with the Golden Thistle Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the art of cinema in David Bruce's first year as Festival Director. To coincide with the presentation of the award the Festival programmed five examples of his work including From Here to Eternity and The Nun's Story.
Dr Zhivago Opening Gala
The 20th Festival opened with the UK premiere of David Lean's Dr Zhivago starring Julie Christie and Omar Sharif at the ABC cinema. The film went on to become one of the highest grossing of all time and won five Academy Awards.
Carol Reed Honoured
The Golden Thistle award was presented by George Singleton to Carol Reed marking him as one of the most distinguished figures of the British film scene. The Festival included a season of his work; Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol, The Third Man, An Outcast of the Islands, The Man Between and Our Man In Havana.
The Experimental George Lucas
The Festival screened George Lucas' short film, which he made while studying at the University of California's film school, as part of its Experimental '67 strand. It was subsequently developed to become the classic feature THX 1138.
John Grierson receives the Golden Thistle
Murray Grigor was appointed as Director of the Festival and, gesturing toward its origins, invited John Grierson to give the Celebrity Lecture that year. Grierson also received the Golden Thistle Award from the Films of Scotland Committee at their Scotland on the Screen performance on 24 August 1968.
Samuel Fuller Retrospective
The Festival presented its groundbreaking retrospective on the complete works of Samuel Fuller, the first and fullest to be shown in Britain including screenings of Run of the Arrow, I Shot Jesse James, Forty Guns, Crimson Kimono and Underworld USA, with Fuller in attendance. EIFF published an accompanying book on Fuller: the first to appear in any language.
Easy Rider and the Hell's Angels of Fife
Columbia planned to quietly release the controversial Easy Rider and were concerned that the 1969 EIFF premiere would take place in the 3,000 seat Playhouse, with Peter Fonda in attendance. They threatened never to premiere another film at Edinburgh. And then they saw the queue - Hell’s Angels from Fife lined the pavement all the way up to the Balmoral hotel.
Without Sam Fuller there would be no Local Hero
A then-unknown Bill Forsyth screened his anti-narrative experimental film Waterloo in 1969. At a party he met Samuel Fuller, the subject of that year’s retrospective. When Forsyth described his film, Fuller took a swing at him, shouting ‘what an insult to your audience!’ According to Forsyth, Fuller ‘nudged’ him into narrative cinema.
The Graphics of Saul Bass
Graphics Festival: A Season of Graphics Dedicated to Saul Bass. Ten title designs comprised the Festival's retrospective; The Man With the Golden Arm, Walk on the Wild Side, Something Wild, Storm Center, Seconds, The Victors, Nine Hours to Rama, West Side Story (end credits), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World and Grand Prix.
Susannah York's Country Dance
Susannah York attended the Festival for the gala screening of Country Dance, starring York and Peter O'Toole, at the Playhouse. The screenplay was written by Scottish novelist James Kennaway, and much of the film was shot in his native Perthshire.
Darryl F. Zanuck Receives the Golden Thistle
Darryl F. Zanuck, Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox, was presented with the Golden Thistle Award for his outstanding achievement in cinema. The Festival screened a series of films in tribute including The Return of Frank James, My Darling Clementine, How Green Was My Valley and The Grapes of Wrath.
As part of the Festival's celebration of the work of Roger Corman in 1970, Bloody Mama screened as a gala performance at the Odeon cinema amidst a storm of controversy and very mixed reactions. The Festival screened Bloody Mama again in 2009 as part of a retrospective of Corman's work.
Norman McLaren Retrospective
The Festival celebrated the work of Scots-born animator Norman McLaren with a retrospective including his less well-known work New York Lightboard and Korean Alphabet. The Festival has long championed McLaren's work, culminating in the delivery of the seminal McLaren 2014 project in celebration of the centenary of his birth.
The Women's Film Festival
In 1972 Lynda Myles, Laura Mulvey and Claire Johnston programmed a season of films dedicated to women directors that was truly groundbreaking and the first of its kind in Europe. The following year, Myles was appointed as Artistic Director of the Festival, the first ever female director of a film festival anywhere in the world.
The Only Film Festival Worth a Damn
After attending the Festival in 1954 as Honorary President, on his return with Fat City in 1972 John Huston said, “I rarely go to film festivals. The only one as such that’s worth a damn is Edinburgh. My God, it’s unique.”
Werner Herzog's First Retrospective
While in Edinburgh for the premiere of Aguirre Wrath of God and his retrospective in 1973, Werner Herzog disappeared after two days, travelling north to shoot some landscape footage. Herzog first attended the Festival in support of Fata Morgana in 1971, and visited again in 1975 and 1982. A further retrospective on his work was presented in 2001.
The Crazies invade Edinburgh
When George A. Romero's classic sci-fi horror The Crazies opened the Festival in 1973, staff dressed up in decontamination suits to distribute promotional materials to bewildered passers-by on Princes Street in Edinburgh.
Football as Never Before
The Festival screened Hellmuth Costard’s Football As Never Before in which several 16mm cameras followed George Best in close-up for the whole match between Manchester United and Coventry City. Rarely seen since and thought to be a ‘lost’ film, it was recently unearthed for a screening in Dublin on the 10th anniversary of George’s death.
EIFF screened Monte Hellman’s controversial Cockfighter starring Warren Oates in 1974. Its director of photography Nestor Almendros later wrote, “Only at one brief showing at the Edinburgh festival did Cockfighter receive what it deserved: the response from an enthusiastic public and the acclaim of critics.”
Martin Scorsese Retrospective
EIFF presented a retrospective on then up-and-coming director Martin Scorsese's work, including Who's That Knockin At My Door, Street Scenes, Boxcar Bertha, Mean Streets and Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More. He also attended Filmhouse for the premiere of After Hours in 1986.
Eduardo Paolozzi's Posters
Eminent Scottish sculptor and artist Eduardo Paolozzi, widely considered to be one of the pioneers for pop art, designed three unique posters for the Festival. Paolozzi signed a limited edition of the first in 1973.
Brian De Palma Retrospective
EIFF presented a retrospective of Brian De Palma's work in 1976 including screenings of Greetings, Hi Mom!, Obsession, Phantom of the Paradise and Sisters. De Palma returned to Edinburgh for The Fury in 1978, and again for EIFF's 60th edition in 2006, taking part in a Reel Life on stage interview.
The First Edinburgh International Television Festival
In 1977 EIFF founded the Edinburgh International Television Festival as a five day affair including the MacTaggart Memorial Lecture presented by Max Ophuls, and a great number of events and screenings including Mike Leigh's Hard Labour, Culloden, episodes of Coronation Street, Emmerdale Farm, Some Women and The Dance of the Seven Veils.
Wim Wenders Retrospective
The Festival presented a retrospective of Wim Wenders' work in 1977 including screenings of Alice in the Cities, Wrong Movement, Kings of the Road, and the premiere of The American Friend. Wenders had attended the Festival previously in 1974 for the Focus on New German Cinema and returned for Paris, Texas in 1984.
Annie Hall Opening Gala
Annie Hall opened the 31st Festival at the ABC cinema, beginning a longstanding association with the work of Woody Allen who, impressed by the faith shown in the film, specifically requested that the Festival host the UK premiere of Manhattan in 1979. EIFF also premiered Broadway Danny Rose (1984) and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).
Long Shot Filmed During EIFF
Maurice Hatton’s Long Shot, featuring Charles Gormley as a producer trying to find Sam Fuller to direct his next film, was filmed during the 1977 Festival and was first screened in 1978, and again in 2010 as part of the After the Wave retrospective.
Filmhouse opened at its current location of 88 Lothian Road in 1978 and has acted as the hub of the Festival ever since. The current front entrance and Cinema 1 opened in 1982 before its formal opening in 1985, with a third screen opening in 1997.
Alien Midnight Screening
The midnight screening of Alien at the New Victoria cinema was attended by director Ridley Scott, who said of the film, "I've never been an enthusiast for horror or science fiction, but this was a great script. Alien is much more than a horror film. It is a film about terror."
The DOCUMENTARY 50 event was hosted during the Festival celebrating the founding of the British documentary film movement in 1929 with John Grierson's The Drifters, and with many of the key players in attendance including Forsyth Hardy, Harry Watt, Edgar Anstey, Charles Oakley and D.A. Pennebaker.
Nick Nolte's Fishing Trip
When Nick Nolte came to the Festival in 1980 with Heart Beat he stayed at Borthwick Castle as he was keen to do some fishing while he was in Scotland. He is seen here with director John Byrum in the Filmhouse Club Rooms, where Cinema 3 now exists.
The Long Good Friday
The Festival premiered The Long Good Friday with Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren both in attendance, giving it a cinematic platform at a time when it looked set for television. The screening formed part of the focus on the work of John Mackenzie which included The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil.
Napoleon With Live Orchestral Accompaniment
Abel Gance's 5 hour epic Napoleon closed Festival Director Jim Hickey's first EIFF with Carl Davis' live score performed to a capacity audience in the Playhouse - the largest audience to see the film in Britain since it was made in 1927. The screening was promoted with a parade through the Grassmarket in August 1981.
Escape from New York Opening Gala
John Carpenter's Escape From New York opened the Festival at the Odeon cinema in Jim Hickey's first year as Director. The Festival also screened Carpenter's Dark Star in 1974, Assault on Precinct 13 in 1977 and The Thing in 1982.
The Draughtsman's Contract Exhibition
The Festival created a unique exhibition of the costumes and artwork for Peter Greenaway's The Draughtsman’s Contract, hosted at the Talbot Rice Gallery. Greenaway first attended EIFF for the premiere of A Walk Through H in 1978, before returning several times throughout the 80s and 90s, and for a Reel Life onstage interview in 2003.
Sam Raimi, Steve Woolley and a suitcase full of props
Sam Raimi attended the 36th Festival for the premiere of Evil Dead and brought with him a suitcase full of props used in the film, including the notorious foot with a pencil stuck in it.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Opening Gala
The Opening Gala in 1982 was Steven Speilberg's iconic E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, capturing the hearts and imagination of a capacity audience at Playhouse. E.T. returned for a screening with live orchestral accompaniment from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Festival Theatre in 2016.
Nagisa Oshima Retrospective
The Festival programmed a major retrospective on the work of Nagisa Oshima, including screenings of Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, Pleasures of the Flesh, Diary of a Shinjuku Thief, In the Realm of the Senses and Boy. Both Nagisa Oshima and producer Jeremy Thomas were in attendance.
Comfort and Joy Opening Gala
Bill Forsyth, having first attended the Festival in 1969, returned with That Sinking Feeling in 1979, and 1984's Opening Gala, Comfort and Joy, which screened to a capacity audience at the Playhouse. He was back in Edinburgh in 1987 for a special screening of his recently completed film Housekeeping - so recently that it missed the deadline for EIFF's printed programme.
Walter Hill's Streets of Fire
Walter Hill attended the Festival for the premiere of Streets of Fire at Filmhouse. Walter's first visit to EIFF was for The Driver in 1978, and he returned for Brewster's Millions in 1985 and Extreme Prejudice in 1987.
Desperately Seeking Susan sets the screen on fire
During the Festival's screening of Madonna's Desperately Seeking Susan at the Odeon cinema in 1985, the print caught fire in the projector during the last reel, depriving the audience of the ending. 1985 also saw Daniel Day Lewis, Nicolas Roeg and Paul Schrader in attendance, promoting premieres of My Beautiful Launderette, Insignificance and Mishima respectively.
Betty Blue Opening Gala
For the Opening Gala screening of Betty Blue at the Playhouse in 1986, the Festival paid for a new screen to be installed to ensure a flawless image. Director Jean-Jacques Beineix, whose groundbreaking Diva premiered at EIFF in 1981, was present to support the film.
Withnail and I
EIFF screened the premiere of future cult classic Withnail and I with then little-known Richard E. Grant in attendance. The 41st Festival also saw a premiere Hellraiser with horror legend Clive Barker in attendance, and included a focus on New Soviet Cinema in the Era of Gorbachev.
EIFF Surprise Movie
EIFF began the tradition of surprise movies in 1989 with Peter Greenaway’s controversial The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, revealing the identity of the film only once the audience were in their seats. Pulp Fiction, LA Confidential, Spirited Away, My Name is Joe and The Bourne Identity were all screened as surprise movies at the Festival.
Charles Chaplin New Directors Award
Artistic Director David Robinson's first Festival saw the launch of The Charles Chaplin New Directors Award, with an award designed by Eduardo Paolozzi. The inaugural award was won by Shaji N. Karun for Piravi, and was presented at the Festival's closing ceremony by two of Chaplin's daughters, Carmen and Dolores, before a screening of City Lights.
Clint Eastwood in Tollcross
Clint Eastwood came to Edinburgh to promote the Festival's screening of White Hunter Black Heart at the Cameo cinema in 1990 with the soundtrack's composer and legendary producer Quincy Jones also in attendance.
Coming of Age of Black Cinema
EIFF presented A Coming of Age of Black Cinema in 1990; four new independent feature films by black filmmakers, including screenings of Rob H. Aft's Def by Temptation, Charles Burnett's To Sleep with Anger, Norman Loftis' Small Time and Reginald Hudlin's House Party, with guest speakers in attendance facilitating discussions on the history of American black cinema.
Barton Fink Closing Gala
The Coen Brothers' Barton Fink closed the Festival, fresh from a clean sweep at Cannes where it won the Palme d'Or as well as awards for best actor and best director. A strong programme in 1991 also saw premieres of Jungle Fever, Life is Sweet, Truly Madly Deeply, Boyz In The Hood and Pump Up The Volume.
Tilda Swinton and Derek Jarman
Tilda Swinton joined Derek Jarman for his masterclass at the Festival in 1991, the year which also saw the premiere of the director's Edward II. Tilda first appeared at the Festival in 1987, starring in Jarman's The Last of England, going on to visit several times, accepting the Michael Powell award for Young Adam in 2003 and becoming a patron in 2007.
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Future Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with EIFF Artistic Director Penny Thomson at Filmhouse in 1992, browsing the programme for a Festival that included premieres of Reservoir Dogs, Glengarry Glen Ross, Man Bites Dog and Les Amants du Pont Neuf.
The Piano Opening Gala
Jane Campion's Palme d'Or winner The Piano was the Opening Gala at the 47th Festival. Her short film Passionless Moments screened at the Festival in 1984, discovered amongst hundreds of films submitted that year.
Shallow Grave introduces Boyle and McGregor
1994 saw the premiere of Shallow Grave, with Danny Boyle, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston and Kerry Fox in attendance. The film was a breakthrough for Boyle and McGregor in particular, both of whom have maintained a close relationship with EIFF. Clerks, Dazed & Confused, Killing Zoe, Muriel's Wedding and The Last of England also screened at the 48th Festival, the latter in tribute to the recently departed Derek Jarman.
Ken Loach's Ladybird, Ladybird
Ken Loach and Crissy Rock attended the premiere of the great director's Ladybird, Ladybird at the Cameo. Rock's performance won her the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlinale in 1994 and Loach's next feature, Land and Freedom, opened EIFF the following year.
The Usual Suspects
Mark Cousins' first Festival as Artistic Director presented the premiere of The Usual Suspects, a film that went on to become one of the most iconic of the decade, with Kevin Spacey winning an Oscar for his performance. Also screening in 1995 were The Basketball Diaries, Desperado, Small Faces and EIFF Audience Award winner Muriel's Wedding.
Launch of Mirrorball
The Festival launched the Mirrorball strand, a showcase of cutting edge music videos, for its 50th edition with Jarvis Cocker in attendance. Introduced by Douglas Coupland, the programme featured work by Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and Jonathan Glazer, including music videos for REM, Bjork, Pulp, Radiohead, Blur, Massive Attack and many more.
David Cronenberg's Crash
David Cronenberg participated in an onstage Scene by Scene discussion of his controversial Crash at the 50th edition of the Festival. An EIFF regular, Cronenberg first visited the Festival for Stereo in 1969, returning for Crimes of the Future in 1970, The Parasite Murders in 1975 and Rabid in 1977.
Billy Connolly and Judi Dench
Billy Connolly and Judi Dench both attended EIFF in Lizzie Francke's first year as Artistic Director for the premiere of Mrs Brown at the Dominion cinema. The film was an unexpected smash, transforming the career of hitherto unknown director John Madden, who went on to helm Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli's Mandolin and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
The Man Who Would Be King
Michael Caine and Sean Connery at the Odeon cinema for the Closing Gala screening of The Man Who Would be King. John Huston's classic 1975 historical epic screened again at EIFF in 2010 from a specially restored 35mm print.
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas
EIFF screened the premiere of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas with director Terry Gilliam in attendance. The Festival also presented Cinema Under The Stars at the City Chambers, closing off the High Street to vehicles, turning the area into a traffic-free piazza and screening three of Gilliam's classics: Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys and Brazil.
The Last Days of Disco
Chloe Sevigny attended the Festival in support of Whit Stillman's early 1980s-set comedy of manners The Last Days of Disco, the director's last film before a 13 year hiatus. A print of The Last Days of Disco resides in the permanent film library of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Cate Blanchett attended the premiere of Pushing Tin, in which she starred with John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton, at the Odeon cinema. The 53rd Festival also featured premieres of East is East, Go, Run Lola Run, All About My Mother and The Blair Witch Project.
Dancer in the Dark Opening Gala
Lars Von Trier's controversial Dancer in the Dark opened the Festival in 2000, after winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Björk, in her only role to date, won best actress at both Cannes and the European Film Awards. The 54th Festival also saw premieres of Beautiful Creatures, Amores Perros, Audition and EIFF Audience Award Winner Billy Elliot.
Sean Penn's Reel Life
Sean Penn attended Edinburgh in 2001 with his then-wife Robin Wright to promote his latest film The Pledge, an ensemble drama starring Jack Nicholson, Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren and Mickey Rourke, and participate in a Reel Life onstage interview.
Amelie Opening Gala
Amelie opened the Festival in Shane Danielsen's first year as Artistic Director (and won the EIFF Audience Award), with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet in attendance for the premiere as well as a Reel Life event. The Festival also included premieres of Ghost World, The Man Who Wasn't There, Storytelling and a second retrospective on Werner Herzog.
Morvern Callar Opening Gala
The 2002 Festival opened with the premiere of Lynne Ramsey's Morvern Callar at the Odeon cinema, with the film's star Samantha Morton in attendance. The actress won a British Independent Film Award for her performance as the title character in the acclaimed adaptation of Scottish writer Alan Warner's debut novel.
David Mackenzie's Young Adam
David Mackenzie's Young Adam screened as the Festival's Opening Gala, and won the Audience Award, in 2003. Based on Alexander Trocchi's novel, the film was a veritable showcase of British talent: it starred Ewan McGregor, Emily Mortimer, Peter Mullan and Tilda Swinton.
Pawel Pawlikowski's My Summer of Love
After winning the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature with Last Resort in 2000, Pawel Pawlikowski returned to Edinburgh for the world premiere of My Summer of Love with Emily Blunt and Natalie Press - and won his second Michael Powell Award.
Elijah Wood Faces the Cameras
Elijah Wood attended the Festival for the premiere of Green Street at Cineworld in 2005, in which he played against type as a football hooligan. The actor returned in 2014 for the premiere of Set Fire to the Stars and a sold out onstage interview.
Serenity World Premiere
Such was the anticipation for Buffy, Angel and Firefly creator Joss Whedon's Serenity that it sold out almost instantly, with two additional screenings also selling out within minutes.
Sigourney Weaver receives Diamond Award
Sigourney Weaver was in Edinburgh for the Festival's 60th edition, receiving an EIFF Diamond Award for outstanding contribution to world cinema and attending the premiere of her latest film, Snow Cake, which also starred Alan Rickman. Tilda Swinton, D. A. Pennebaker, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach were also presented with awards.
Kevin Smith wins the Audience Award
Kevin Smith first visited the Festival for the premiere of Clerks II at Cineworld, which went on to win the EIFF Audience Award. The original Clerks had premiered at EIFF in 1994 and Smith returned to Edinburgh in 2016 withYoga Hosers and a sold-out In Person event.
Anton Corbijn's Control
The Festival, in Hannah McGill's first year as Artistic Director, premiered the feature film debut of acclaimed photographer and music video director Anton Corbijn, who has photographed Bob Dylan, R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen, Björk and U2. Control, a biopic on the life of the late Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, went on to win the Michael Powell Award.
Hallam Foe Dandelion Blow
The Opening Gala in 2007 was David Mackenzie's Edinburgh-set Hallam Foe, starring Jamie Bell and Sophia Myles. Franz Ferdinand, who contributed the song "Hallam Foe Dandelion Blow" to the soundtrack, played a special acoustic set at the opening party at Edinburgh College of Art.
The Edge of Love Opening Gala
Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller attended the Opening Gala premiere of The Edge of Love, John Maybury's film about the complicated love life of the poet Dylan Thomas. Maybury won the Michael Powell Award in 1998 for Love is the Devil.
Rudo Y Cursi Premieres at EIFF
Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna attended the 63rd Festival for the premiere of Carlos Cuarón's Rudo Y Cursi, which went on to become one of the most succesful Mexican films of all time.
Seamus McGarvey and Anthony Dod Mantle Masterclass
Two of the world's finest cinematographers, EIFF Patron Seamus McGarvey (Nocturnal Animals, Anna Karenina) and Anthony Dod Mantle (Last King of Scotland, Slumdog Millionaire), participated in an onstage conversation at Cineworld. Sam Mendes' Away We Go opened the Festival, with Mendes also participating in an onstage interview; as did Darren Aronofsky, Bill Forsyth, Shane Meadows and Roger Corman.
Patrick Stewart In Person
Patrick Stewart attended the Festival as Chair of the Michael Powell Jury and for an In Person: BAFTA Scotland interview. The jury voted Nick Whitfield's Skeletons as the Best British Feature, and Festival premieres included Werner Herzog’s My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done and Steven Soderbergh’s And Everything Is Going Fine.
The Illusionist Opening Gala
Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist was the Opening Gala of the 64th Festival, celebrating a unique hand-drawn animation set in Edinburgh. The film is based on an unproduced script written by Jacques Tati in 1956, between Mon Oncle and Play Time.
Lawson, McGregor and Bremner
A UK premiere in 2011, Perfect Sense reunited Young Adam director David Mackenzie with Ewan McGregor, and McGregor with Trainspotting co-star Ewen Bremner. Both actors attended the premiere at the Cameo, as did McGregor's uncle and Local Hero star Denis Lawson.
EIFF Talent Lab
EIFF launched its inaugural Talent Lab in 2011 welcoming 35 writers, directors and producers to take part in a very successful programme supporting the development of new and emerging filmmakers, which continues to grow year on year.
Killer Joe Opening Gala
William Friedkin's controversial Killer Joe, starring Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple and Gina Gershon, was the Festival's Opening Gala in Chris Fujiwara's first year as Artistic Director. The Exorcist and The French Connection director Friedkin came to Edinburgh with Gina Gershon to present the film to audiences at the Festival Theatre.
Kelly Braves the Rain
Kelly Macdonald attended the rainy European premiere of Disney Pixar's Brave, the 2012 Closing Gala. Kelly provided the voice of Merida, the film's lead. EIFF has hosted premieres of many Pixar films over the years including Wall-E, Toy Story 3, Inside Out and Finding Dory.
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
The 2013 Festival saw the premiere of Alex Gibney's controversial Julian Assange documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks. Gibney's Zero Days also screened at EIFF in 2016.
EIFF Youth Hub
In 2014 EIFF launched Youth Hub, its successful four day programme of workshops, masterclasses and careers advice for young people between 15 and 25 years old who are interested in learning more about the industry.
Darth Vader Storms Edinburgh Castle
During the 2014 Festival, EIFF teamed up with Empire magazine to screen the film voted as the best of all time by their readers - The Empire Strikes Back. Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett, was at Filmhouse for an extended Q&A while Darth Vader and stormtroopers invaded the city.
The Legend of Barney Thomson Opening Gala
EIFF Patron Robert Carlyle's directorial debut The Legend of Barney Thomson opened in Mark Adams' first year as Artistic Director. The Festival also saw premieres of Love & Mercy, Michael Powell Award Winner 45 Years and The Diary of a Teenage Girl, with stars Bel Powley and Alexander Skårsgard in attendance.
Karen Gillan Becomes EIFF Patron
Newly appointed EIFF Patron Karen Gillan attended the 69th Festival as a member of the Michael Powell jury, joining Kenny Turan and Ian Hart, and in support of her short film Coward. Karen was returning to Edinburgh after her visit to the Festival in 2013 for the Closing Gala Not Another Happy Ending.
Kim Cattrall In Person
Kim Cattrall attended the Festival for a special In Person event and as a member of the Michael Powell Jury in 2016, returning to EIFF after her visit in 2011 for Meet Monica Velour. The jury gave the award for best British feature to Scottish filmmaker and EIFF Talent Lab alumni Ben Sharrock for Pikadero.
The Festival premiered the 30th anniversary 4K restoration of Russell Mulcahy's classic Highlander, with the film's star and Michael Powell Juror Clancy Brown participating in an extended Q&A with a capacity audience at Cineworld.