Started in 1947, the EIFF is one of the true homes of innovative and exciting cinema. For over half-a-century, the Festival has presented some of cinema's most important and exciting moments and played host to the world's greatest filmmakers.
The longest continually running film festival in the world, it has come a long way from its beginnings as a documentary-based festival established in the wake of World War II. Its spirit was and is bold and its focus international: in the early years, it premiered such timeless classics as Robert Flaherty's Louisiana Story, Roberto Rossellini's Germany Year Zero and Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu Monogatari.
During the 1960s, EIFF introduced the Retrospective. Years ahead of its time, the Festival re-evaluated and paid tribute to the diverse talents of John Huston, Sam Fuller, Douglas Sirk and even a young Martin Scorsese.
In the 70s and 80s, the Festival consolidated its reputation as a pioneering force for UK audiences, screening films from the New German Cinema, the new wave of American Independents, homages to the masters of Japanese Cinema, pioneering studies of black and feminist filmmakers. Festival audiences were able to witness masterpieces from across the whole spectrum of film culture - from Spielberg's ET: The Extraterrestrial, to Abel Gance's silent classic Napoleon - complete with a full orchestral score. New talents were nurtured - Bill Forsyth, Stephen Soderbergh - and gems like My Beautiful Launderette discovered.
The last ten years have seen a strengthening of the critical fortunes of the Festival through the strong artistic direction of Mark Cousins, Lizzie Francke and, currently, Shane Danielsen, all of whom have exhibited not only a continuity of passion and commitment to excellent cinema from home and abroad but the very necessary evaluative perspective that skilled curation brings.