The Edinburgh International Film Festival has secured a six-figure bailout after a ‘high risk’ warning over the 75th anniversary event

Nicola Sturgeon attended the opening gala of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. Photo: Euan Cherry/Getty Images

A further £270,000 has been poured into the event after organizers sounded the alarm over its financial situation.

A few months before this year’s festival, the charity Center for the Moving Image asked for help to fill funding gaps caused by the “late withdrawal” of a main sponsor.

Creative Director Kristy Matheson has been appointed to lead the Edinburgh International Film Festival into a new era. Photo: Lisa Ferguson

Scottish government agency Creative Scotland has been told of the need to address “immediate operational deliverability issues caused by the pandemic”.

The CMI also pointed out that the additional funding would help build the “longer-term resilience” of the festival.

The extra £270,000 was allocated by a Scottish government ‘resilience fund’ to the film festival in late March after securing a share of £54million allocated to the cultural sector to help it bounce back from the pandemic.

The grant was not announced by the Scottish Government until early August, when it was described as ‘additional funding’ to ‘support’ the EIFF’s 75th anniversary opening gala, the premiere of the first feature film from Edinburgh director Charlotte Wells, Aftersun.

The additional £270,000 was not included in the figures for recent financial support that the CMI has received and which Creative Scotland has published following the trustees’ appeal.

They showed the charity had received over £5million in government funding since the Covid restrictions began.

However, he asked for further financial help after Creative Scotland received a final tranche of Covid support funding, worth £12million, in February.

After questions were raised on social media about why £270,0000 had been awarded for the EIF opening event, Creative Scotland released a ‘correction point’, including part of the request for additional funding from the CMI.

He says: “This funding will help EIFF deliver a fitting 75th anniversary celebration edition – Kristy Matheson’s first as Creative Director.

“This will allow us to focus on delivering the highest quality programme, support our ambitions to (re)engage the public, industry and future partners post-pandemic, and help build resilience. in the longer term within the festival.

“It will allow us to expand our reach, engage new communities across the city, engage audiences with inspiring female voices, and engage producers in the wider industry.

“In addition, it will support other key elements of the program at high risk due to the late withdrawal of a lead sponsor, and address immediate operational deliverability issues caused by the pandemic, including providing safe workspaces for the staff and volunteers.

A government spokesperson said: ‘The £270,000 was allocated to a range of activities in the 2022/23 financial year and was not just for the opening gala.

“The new enhanced activity included an increase in community engagement events, new community outreach work and a mentorship program for female producers.

“This Scottish Government fund has been created specifically to support the resumption of Edinburgh festivals in 2022 to complement existing funding.

“These funds were not intended to bolster reserves or replace a budget already allocated for the 2022 activity.”


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