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LONDON – The incoming Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) artistic director Chris Fujiwara has announced his first major decision for the event.
The longest continually running film festival will stick to having June dates with the 2012 edition running June 20 through July 1.
Fujiwara, who landed the Scottish capital-set shindig’s job earlier this year, announced the plans to keep the festival’s dates in June alongside Centre for the Moving Image acting CEO Ken Hay.
The festival, controversially in some industry and festival attendees’ quarters, moved to June dates in 2008 in an attempt to find a stronger voice and higher profile away from its previous August dates when Edinburgh plays host to a slew of international arts festivals in the same month.
And the Scottish event is still reeling after controversy in April this year after Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton played down reports she has ended her immediate involvement with this year’s edition.
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.
Fujiwara’s appointment in September this year ended weeks of speculation as to who would take over from James Mullighan, who exited following the 2011 edition of the EIFF, which industry insiders considered not up to scratch for the venerable British celebration of film.
Festival parent company, the Centre for Moving Image also saw the hurried and hushed exit of CEO Gavin Miller.
Organizers are busy readying themselves to ensure the 2012 edition is a return to form.
They have also said next year’s 66th edition will see the return of the Michael Powell Award for best new British feature, a nod dropped from this year’s festival.
Previous winners of the award have included Shane Meadows and Fujiwara said he was delighted to see the return of the Powell award.
“The award has been an integral part of the Festival for years; it has seen some inspirational filmmakers enjoy its benefits and is crucial to the Festival’s creative vision,” Fujiwara said.
Hay said: “The ‘June or August’ debate has been at the forefront of discussions since the end of this year’s Festival and is a matter on which the board has sought broad consultation. The film industry, including press, distributors and sales agents, have all been part of the conversation to ensure a decision that is correct and will provide the very best future for the Festival. With the dates now final, our newly appointed artistic director, Chris Fujiwara, will work with his programming team to create a fantastic lineup for 2012.”
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