Edinburgh fest gets $3.8 mil funding boost


LONDON -- Organizers of the Edinburgh International Film Festival received a 1.88 million  pound ($3.8 million) funding boost from the U.K. Film Council on Monday.

The council's cash injection will be allocated over the next three years and is designed to bolster the Scottish festival's ambitions to become a leading event of discovery, showcasing new films and talent.

It marks the single biggest investment by the U.K. Film Council in a film festival to date and is the first from its newly established 4.5 million pound ($9.1 million) festival fund.

The London Film Festival and other events are expected to be in the running for future pledges from the council.

The link-up between the council and the EIFF is part of an overall package of funding that will see government-backed funding body make 4.5 million pounds ($9.1 million) of National Lottery money available over three years to help fund U.K. movie events "of international and national significance."

The EIFF is billed as the longest continually running film festival in the world, having started in 1947 as a documentary-based festival in the wake of World War II.

This year sees the event move from its traditional August slot, shifting to June 18-29 as part of its strategy to grow its global creative reputation and widen its audience appeal.

U.K. Film Council CEO John Woodward said the cash for the Edinburgh fest "will ultimately benefit all members of the U.K. film community from production through to distribution."

EIFF managing director Ginnie Atkinson described the cash backing as a "huge endorsement of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and its potential for growth."

Said Atkinson: "It is an investment in the future of film both for audiences and for the film industry, centered in the U.K."

The council cash will be funneled into aiding growth in the areas of education, training and industry networking, while also allowing public audiences to see an ever-wider range of films.