I cannot stress enough what an amazing week I had in Edinburgh in late June. Firstly, I absolutely adore Edinburgh and I’ve gone on and on about how it’s my favourite city ever before. Going back to the Scottish capital always fills me with warm fuzzies. But the main reason I went back was to attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019. And it was my first film festival with a press pass!
Edinburgh film festival is the longest continually-running film festival in the world and one of the biggest UK film festivals. My bucket list of film festivals featured EIFF so I’m very pleased it’s ticked off! (If you’re wondering, I have BFI London, Venice, Sundance and Toronto left…). It took place between Wednesday 19th – 30th June and I managed to watch eight films over three days.
It was definitely different attending a film festival with a press pass. Not worse, just a different experience. No queueing, no Q&As, no special guests. Just in and out of screenings, as you might expect if that were your job! I think I’d make more of an effort to see some public screenings should I be lucky enough to get a press pass for a film festival again. And I’d remember to drink a lot more coffee as I may have fallen asleep in one or four screenings…
Anyway, these are all the highlights of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019 from my perspective!
Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019
Edinburgh Cinemas in the EIFF 2019
There are just two main cinemas where the Edinburgh film festival programme films! They’re listed below…
The Edinburgh Filmhouse has got to be one of the most well-loved cinemas in the UK. It opened in 1978 and eventually grew from a one-screen to a three-screen cinema and is now a community and education driven movie theatre. Fortunately for the public, most of the top screenings with Q&As at EIFF were scheduled here. You can’t attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival without catching at least one screening at the Filmhouse!
I spent most of my few days at the Edinburgh film festival at the Odeon cinema which is literally just down the road from the Filmhouse. Not as glamorous, sure, but it did the job for press and industry screenings. I watched films here many times during my summer working for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013.
Press Accreditation for Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019
Since I attended the film festival with a press pass, I don’t really know much about the tickets or other passes available at the film festival!
I applied for press accreditation just after applications opened in mid-April and EIFF approved my application by the end of the month. I’m sure to some bloggers and film journalists this is such a mundane and everyday occurrence to attend film festivals with press passes and they don’t even think twice about getting accepted. But EIFF 2019 is probably the biggest film festival I’d attended after Berlinale in 2012 and 2016 and Cannes in 2017. I can’t pretend that receiving a press pass wasn’t a big deal to me and my blog!
But I did not take full advantage of my press pass. I could have watched festival films whenever I wanted in the videotheque. And I could even rock up to the film festival’s box office at Festival Theatre at 8:30 to get free public screenings on the day which would have featured Q&As and special guests. There were also so many panels, and press and industry events and networking sessions too that I just did not take any notice of.
…Is just wanting to watch films for free too cheeky an answer? But seriously, I just had other stuff I wanted to do in Edinburgh (like visit a crap tonne of filming locations!). And I just wanted to watch AS MANY films as possible in the time I had. Factoring in Q&As into my schedule would mean fewer films watched.
And the events? I went to the film festival alone, not knowing anyone, and as a blogger. I could only imagine chatting to a random film producer and watching his face drop when I told him what I do. Sometimes I’m super good at handling any reaction and questions I get about being a blogger but sometimes I’m not. Watching Netflix in my hostel every night instead appealed more to my social anxiety. And I’m totally okay with that! I already felt out of my comfort zone anyway. But next time? I’ll be sure to nudge myself a bit further out there.
Films I watched at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019
As with any film festival, it’s all about the films! Edinburgh International Film Festival had an excellent programme of British, foreign and popular American films (including so many premieres) just as it always does year after year.
I wrote a blog post with mini-reviews of all eight films I managed to catch at EIFF 2019. Writing film reviews is really, really out of my comfort zone but if I do a couple of reviews here and there then fingers crossed I’ll eventually improve.
And those are my highlights of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019! Have you been to Edinburgh or the film festival? Let me know in the comments below!