We caught up with Rachel Hosker, University’s Archives Manager. Rachel is involved in numerous events throughout this year’s Edinburgh festivals, including a talk that celebrates the Film Festival’s 70th year.
You are hosting a special Behind the Curtain event that charts the festival’s 70 year history – why do you think it is important that the festival is celebrated in this way?
Edinburgh International Film Festival is one of the foremost, oldest and continually running film festivals in the world, so understanding that lineage, the events, the people and the experiences allows us to feel our connection to the festival and get a sense of its identity. The reason why we’re involved is the connections the University has to EIFF, with Jim Hickey’s growth of the University Film club in the 1960s. This experience and audience he then took with him when working for the festival. The University has always had great links with this festival.
What do you hope audiences get out of the event?
Jim has some amazing stories about people and events that happened over the years he has worked there and it really shows that Edinburgh's Film Festival reputation as a world leading film festival is truly deserved! There will be clips from Hooray for Holyrood, the documentary Robbie Coltrane hosted for STV in 1986 when Jim was festival director. People can see the whole of this documentary the day after this event as part of the programme. I hope people will feel able to share their memories with us and others.
What can featuring documents and artefacts from collections, such as the University’s, add to festival events?
Using our collections, in this case the EIFF’s archives, it provides a real authentic experience, creating talking points for conversations and ideas. The items provide perspectives and allow us to reflect and engage with our environment, culture, heritage and can show us the relevance to society now, for what might have been history being made even just a few years ago.
Are there any other Film Festival events that you are excited about this year?
There’s so many! The retrospective ‘The Future is History’ looks really intriguing as it explores identity during periods of significant change and I think much of that programme will make us think about these ‘older’ films having an element of the prophetic about them as we look around what is happening now.
Behind the Curtain: 70 Years of EIFF takes place at 17:50 on Thursday 29th June.