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Staff and students hit film festival red carpet

This year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival will feature more work by Edinburgh staff, students and graduates than ever before.

Running 20 June to 1 July, the festival's wide-ranging programme includes 11 films whose directors are current students or graduates from Edinburgh College of Art’s (ECA) film department.

Amazon tribes

Three will be in competition for Best Documentary, including Piripkura, from Mariana Oliva, a Film Directing MFA graduate.

The film follows the last members of a nomadic tribe whose existence is the last barrier against the development of an area of the Amazon rainforest.

Piripkura has already won the Amsterdam Human Rights Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and Best Documentary at Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

Nature documentary

Becoming Animal

Also up for Best Documentary is Becoming Animal, co -directed by Emma Davie, Programme Director of Post Graduate Film Directing.

Shot in Grand Teton National Park, the film aims to be a different kind of nature documentary. It traces a journey to the Grand Teton Park in North America with writer David Abram and reflects on how we perceive the natural world.  

The third feature-length documentary in competition is Time Trial, directed by Finlay Prestsell, from the Scottish Documentary Institute, which is part of ECA.

The film follows former British national road champion cyclist David Millar in his final season in the saddle. It was shot and edited by ECA graduates Julian Schwanitz and Keiran Gosney.

Kurdish survivors

Salt and Sauce

The Festival’s short film strand features nine works directed by students or graduates from ECA’s Postgraduate Documentary programme.

These include Soran Qurbani’s Homage to Kobane, about Kurdish survivors’ memories and determination amongst the rubble of Kobane. Qurbani graduated from Film Directing MA at ECA in 2017.

Within the short dramatic film strand, Alia Ghafar is screening the award-winning Salt and Sauce, which has already won Best Film at Glasgow Short Film and Royal Television Society awards for best sound and editing. Ghafar graduated in 2017.

Increasing competition

In animation, student Madeleine Sayers’s film Laundromat has been selected for the prestigious McLaren Award, which celebrates on new British animation.

We’re extremely proud of the number of films screening from graduates, current students and staff in Film at Edinburgh College of Art. It is increasingly competitive to get into this festival, so we’re pleased so many of our students’ films will reach audiences.

Emma DavieProgramme Director of Post Graduate Film Directing

Paranoia on film

Elsewhere in the festival, several events involve University staff past and present.

Professor Frank Cogliano and Dr David Silkenat from the School of History will be recording a live session of their podcast, The Whiskey Rebellion, on the history of paranoia in American politics and film.

Rachel Hosker, archives manager at the University, will be interviewing Lynda Myles, who became the world’s first female director of a film festival when she took the reins of the EIFF in 1973. 

They will discuss Ms Myles’ former role and the development of the first festival focused on women in cinema. Behind the Curtain: Women and EIFF takes place on 28 June.

Dr Jonny Murray, senior lecturer in Film and Visual Culture, will be interviewing the award-winning English playwright, screenwriter and director David Hare on 25 June.

Pioneering filmmaker

Homage to Kobane

The pioneering work of Eric Lucey is the subject of two events. Lucey established a Research Film Unit in 1950 at the University of Edinburgh. A defining feature of his filmmaking was his manipulation of speed, motion and scale using a variety of techniques, most famously time-lapse and microphotography.

Edinburgh students have been given access to Lucey’s archive. On 29 June, they will discuss the creative process of transforming what they discovered into a cultural public event.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Research Collections and the MSc Film, Exhibition and Curation.  

On 30 June, audiovisual composer Jules Rawlinson will present a new work for live cinema that remixes Lucey’s archival material, adding an electronic score and sound design.

Related links

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Study Film & Television - Undergraduate

Study Animation - Undergraduate

Study Animation MFA

Study Film Directing MFA/MA