Tilda Swinton Plays Down Edinburgh International Film Festival 'Split'

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LONDON – Oscar winner Tilda Swinton has played down reports she has ended her immediate involvement with this year’s upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Swinton said her involvement with the 2011 Edinburgh International Film Festival has “continuously been misreported” while saying claims by organizers that she was part of a line-up to curate the festival this year were erroneous.

Said Swinton: “I was never a part of such an initiative and I was clear from the start that I wanted this misinformation corrected by the festival. However, my understanding is that such a correction never took place.”

The actress, a long-standing patron of the Scottish festival, said she had held back from making the correction “precisely because I was keen to avoid further misunderstandings along such as a 'tilda quits' line.”

Reports across the Scottish media and beyond surfaced earlier that Swinton and former directors Mark Cousins and Linda Myles will no longer be involved in this year’s upcoming event.

Swinton said: “Lynda Myles, Mark Cousins and I have not 'parted company' with plans for the EIFF, because we were never - in fact - officially engaged with them. We were certainly never paid or made responsible in any way to the festival's organization.”

The Oscar winner said she, Myles and Cousins had been invited by Centre for the Moving Image CEO Gavin Miller, whose organization oversees the event, to “make general and specific suggestions about possible directions a festival curatorship might follow this year, made a series of approaches to potential 'curator' participants - and nothing more.”

Such voluntary contributions “were complete several weeks ago,” Swinton stated.

Separately Miller issued a statement playing down reports of the trio’s involvement ending.

Miller said: “We have been privileged to work with some fantastic names on the artistic inspiration for this year’s Festival with Mark Cousins leading a creative process with Lynda Myles, former EIFF director and, where she was able to, Tilda Swinton.”

He said that whilst the trio’s work is now done, they “remain ongoing and valuable advisors” for the event.

This year’s event is being run by James Mullighan, a former music industry executive and arts journalist, who has had his role increase since himself being appointed festival director in December.

Added Miller: “James Mullighan, director of the EIFF, has overall responsibility for all elements of the Festival’s delivery, using the blueprint as a foundation for his work. It was never the intention for these artistic advisors to be involved in the day-to-day running of the Festival, but their vision and influence will be the grounding for the event’s dynamic evolution in terms of content and format this year, with full details to be announced in May.”

The EIFF is living through turbulent times after last year which saw the departure of artistic director Hannah McGill in the summer, months after former managing director Ginnie Atkinson stepped down in January 2010.

The event is scheduled to run June 15 through 26.

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