Become part of the story of EIFF
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.
Map of EIFF Venues
About The Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival turned 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.
We need your memories to help us build our story. Become part of the history of Edinburgh International FIlm Festival.
edfilmfestmemories has been supported by Scottish Enterprise through the Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab.
70th Anniversary Exhibition
Over the past 70 years, EIFF has seen countless guests come to Edinburgh, in celebration of their work, the Festival and cinema itself.
John Huston was Honorary President of the Festival in 1953, and returned in 1972 when he proclaimed EIFF to be “the only film festival as such that’s worth a damn”. Gene Kelly came to Edinburgh in 1956 for the premiere of Invitation to the Dance at the New Victoria cinema, stating, "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." Clint Eastwood, Nick Nolte, Kathryn Bigelow, Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor, Chloe Sevigny, Richard E. Grant, Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert Carlyle -– just a few of the many amazing guests to have graced the Festival with their presence over the years.
In celebration of our special anniversary edition, we were proud to present our ed film fest memories 70th anniversary exhibition, featured at Festival Square, St Andrew Square and the Old College Quad, featuring a selection of rarely seen images from our archives which document some of the many highlights from the past 70 years of the Festival. We were also delighted to present Cover to Cover at Filmhouse: 70 years of EIFF programme covers, providing a journey into the visual identity of the Festival as well as an evolving snapshot of the changing face of graphic design in Scotland.
Share Your Memories of EIFF
We are building the complete history of EIFF and we need your memories to do so. Help us assemble the history of the festival! Tell us your stories, send us your photographs.