Edinburgh International Film Festival to stage open-air screenings in South Queensferry as August comeback plans are revealed

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIF) is to make a comeback this summer with a mix of free open-air screenings, red carpet premieres and an online showcase of new movies.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 1:00 pm
Stock photo of Russell Aitken, MD of Port Edgar Marina (left) with Dougie Cameron, COO of the Centre for Moving Image, launching last year's Film Fest on the Forth.

Celebrations of cinema will be staged at Port Edgar Marina at South Queensferry and St Andrew Square under plans to put the event at the heart of the city’s revived cultural festivities in August.

All of the outdoor screenings will be free but will be ticketed to manage crowd number and ensure social distancing restrictions can be enforced.

The full programme will be announced at the end of July, when tickets go on sale.

The first EIFF events will run on July 31 and August 1, when Port Edgar Marina plays host to ‘Firth on the Forth’ screenings programmed specially for the waterside setting.

Festival chief executive Ken Hay said: “Festivals are all about bringing people together. We’re fully aware that there will be lots of constraints over bringing people from other parts of the world to the UK, but we’re really keen to ensure that we have real people in audiences and have real people in front of those audiences.

“We want to very much say: ‘This isn’t just an online festival’.

"One could argue that it’s hard to do anything online that is festive. What makes film different and what makes the culture sector different is the way it brings people together.

"It’s about how we use that this year to bring people back together to celebrate that communal experience which has been missing from the last 14 or 15 months.”

He added: “I’m really excited. We’re going to be very different. All of the other festivals are going to be too.

“That’s a really good thing as it means we have the opportunity to try things out that we’ve maybe not have been able to do in the past.

“For all of us, it is clearing the way for what happens from 2022 onwards and how we challenge ourselves about what festivals look like in the longer term.”

The main festival, which will run from 18-25, will include a week of outdoor screenings in St Andrew Square Garden, which has regularly hosted film events in recent years and will also be part of the science festival programme this summer.