What began as a doc festival in 1947, has grown into a multi-genre international event. But, the factual component of the 55th Edinburgh International Film Festival is still at the heart of the fest. ‘Since the event began as a documentary fest, docs have remained a strong part of the program,’ says Jenny Leask, EIFF’s doc programmer.
Over 50 docs from around the world – comprising about a fifth of all screenings – were shown throughout the festival (which ran August 12 to 26). Included was a showcase of 17 Werner Herzog docs in a retrospective program dedicated to the filmmaker, as well as around 20 docs in this year’s non-fiction section, Imagining Reality. Titles included Cool and Crazy (Knut Erik Jensen, Norway), Cunnamula (Dennis O’Rourke, Australia), Home Movie (Chris Smith, U.S.), and The Inner Tour (Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Israel).
Explains Leask, ‘Documentaries are selected based on how they fit into the feel of the festival. A lot of films are by young, new filmmakers who take risks.’ The festival allows open submissions, so anyone can send in their film and the EIFF selection committee will watch it. Films are also chosen by fest director Lizzie Francke and head programmer Nicola Pierson who visit other film fests and invite those they select to join EIFF’s lineup.
EIFF is also a good place to conduct business. ‘A lot of delegates at the festival are buyers and programmers. So, there certainly have been deals done.’
For a full list of the docs screening at EIFF, visit http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk