We are lucky enough to be in Edinburgh during the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). This film festival is prestigious enough to be compared to Cannes and Sundance, along with other major festivals around the world. The film community loves Edinburgh and its long history of providing great cinema from Scotland. Interestingly enough, Scotland doesn’t produce many films (apart from Braveheart and Brave). Even movies that are set in Scotland are often filmed in Ireland or elsewhere.
Diane Henderson is the Deputy Artistic Director of the EIFF. My first impression was so positive because of her willingness to take time out of the busiest two weeks of her year to meet with us and answer any and all questions we had. Her insight into film was amazing and she had the greatest attitude about film, Edinburgh, and where everything is headed for the industry she works in. She was able to give us a lot of insight into the submissions process for the EIFF. It costs £120 to submit your film, which is fairly higher than most other film festivals. They receive about 3,500 – 4,000 submissions per year. The review process consists of film lovers who are paid next to nothing to watch each film twice and write feedback in order for the staff to decide whether or not the film will be shown at the festival.
As a huge lover of the Academy Awards, I feel like I do take the time to appreciate good cinema and look outside the summer blockbusters for quality films. I definitely could be better at making an effort to watch more independent films and local filmmakers’ works. After Diane described the process of how filmmakers get into the business, I was amazed at how passionate and dedicated many people are. Diane mentioned that it’s heartbreaking at times to watch submissions knowing that the producer mortgaged their home to get to this point, but they simply can’t admit them into the festival. She stressed the importance of finding the right festival for your film and not necessarily applying to the big name festivals at the beginning of your career.
Even though we weren’t able to see anything at the film festival, it was an incredible experience to be able to speak with such an accomplished, young woman about her everyday work. This study abroad continues to fascinate me with new people and an increased knowledge about communications and media. I never would have learned so much about film, advertising, public relations, and communications without choosing this program!