Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Monday, 17 March 2008

Huge cash boost for film festival

Hallam Foe actress Sophia Myles
Edinburgh International Film Festival hopes to find new talent

A major film festival is to benefit from a cash boost of more than 1.8m in lottery funding.

Organisers hope it will help the Edinburgh International Film Festival become the world's leading festival for the discovery of new talent.

The money, over three years, was announced by the UK Film Council, a distributor of National Lottery cash.

The injection of 1.88m is the single biggest investment by the body in a film festival to date.

This is a significant development in the life and history of the longest continually running film festival in the world
John McCormick

The money forms part of its 4.5m package to boost a number of film festivals across Britain over the next three years.

The funding will support the festival's plans for growth, as well as allowing it to extend its commitment to promoting new films and talent.

John Woodward, chief executive officer of the UK Film Council, said it was "common sense" for them to support the EIFF.

He said: "What the Edinburgh International Film Festival has always had is a fantastic track record in funding, showcasing and nurturing talent.

"The hope and the aspiration for the festival from the Film Council is that Edinburgh becomes the film festival for discovering new talent - full stop."

The funding announcement comes in a significant year in the history of the festival, which has been on the go since 1947, and recently held premieres for films like Ratatouille and Little Miss Sunshine.

The event has been staged in August for the past 60 years, coinciding with the capital's festival season, but from this year it will be held in June.

Organisers believe the move will help raise the profile of the festival and the films it showcases.

The festival's chairman John McCormick said he was "delighted" to get the new money for the festival, which has in recent years been working from a cash budget of about 1m.

He said about 800,000 of the additional funds will be spent on the festival this year, with some of it going towards publicising its new slot in the calendar.

"This is a significant development in the life and history of the longest continually running film festival in the world," he added.

This year's festival will take place between June 18 and 29.

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