Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Tuesday, 7 August 2007 14:22 UK

Film festival will move to June

Sir Sean Connery
Sir Sean Connery has backed the move

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is to be held two months earlier next year - outside the city's traditional festival season.

Organisers said switching the date of the event would boost its reputation, profile and appeal.

For 60 years the event has been staged in August, coinciding with other arts festivals in the city.

The world's longest continually-running film festival, will be held from 18 to 29 June 2008.

The switch means it will no longer have to compete with rival events in Venice and Toronto to attract some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

The change has been backed by Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) patron Sir Sean Connery, who said: "Changing the dates of the film festival will create space for a modern, forward-thinking event that offers higher status and an individual identity to film culture."

Changing the dates of the film festival will create space for a modern, forward-thinking event
Sir Sean Connery

John McCormick, EIFF chairman, said: "Over the past three years the festival's board has been considering the long-term future of the festival and the strategic direction it should take.

"All the evidence pointed to a move to June being in the best interests of the festival and of the city of Edinburgh.

"The change will help the festival to grow and develop, and strengthen its position in the calendar of international film festivals."

Hannah McGill, EIFF artistic director, said the change made "artistic and commercial sense".

Breathing space

She said: "It is good news for the film festival and the city of Edinburgh.

"June will give us the breathing space to expand and create our own distinct identity, allowing us to further develop our reputation as one of the world's most innovative, cutting-edge and challenging annual film events.

"Logistically, a June event is also better placed in the ever-crowded international film festival calendar."

EIFF will still have a presence in Edinburgh during the traditional August festival period by collaborating on arts projects with other festivals.

This year's film festival runs from 15 to 26 August, screening 120 feature films from 31 countries, with appearances from actors Samantha Morton, Tilda Swinton and Bob Hoskins as well as directors Stephen Frears and Mike Leigh.

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