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Seven highlights for seven decades

In 2016, Edinburgh International Film Festival pulled out all the stops as it celebrated its 70th birthday.

As we wait for more news of this year’s special Poland-themed Festival, we thought we’d look back at seven highlights from 2016 – one for each decade that EIFF has marked so far.

1. Movies and music go hand in hand. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra brought some extra magic to the big screen, as they gave a live performance of E.T.’s enchanting soundtrack alongside a screening of the film at the Festival Theatre.

2. Known as one of Scotland’s most famous acting exports, Ewan McGregor brought something different to the EIFF in 2016, as he attended a screening of American Pastoral, his directorial debut.  He first appeared at the Festival all the way back in 1994, when he starred in Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave.

3. Acclaimed filmmaker Kevin Smith was joined by his daughter, actor Harley Quinn Smith to introduce their ‘horror anthology’ Holiday, which brings together some less-than-festive stories about special occasions throughout the year from a whole host of directors.

4. The Opening Gala – which our lucky Film Studies & the EIFF students got to attend – hosted the world premiere of Tommy’s Honour. The film, a drama about the early days of professional golf, went on to win the Best Feature Film Award at the Scottish BAFTAs 

5. Offering a slightly more unusual opportunity to get involved with the Festival, #AnimatorsSeizeTheSeat gave professionals and the public the chance to share a hike up Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s most famous hill.

6. No Scottish festival would be complete without some tartan. Highlander provided just that. Also celebrating an important birthday, Highlander marked 30 years since its release with a special anniversary screening.

7. Whisky Galore! brought a fitting end to the festival. With a huge array of stars including Gregor Fisher, Eddie Izzard, and James Cosmo, alongside Harry Potter’s Sean Biggerstaff and Game of Thrones’ Ellie Kendrick, this new adaptation – based on one of Scotland’s most-loved books – encompassed the combination of Scottish stories, amazing talent, and new approaches that make the Edinburgh International Film Festival so special.


Would you love the chance to experience the Edinburgh International Film Festival first hand? Our Film Studies & the Edinburgh International Film Festival course gives you the chance to explore film concepts, then see them in action with special Delegate access to the EIFF itself.

Or, double up on your performing arts experience with Behind the Scenes and Screens – our new course in partnership with University of the Arts London, which offers exclusive access to both the Edinburgh International Film Festival and some of London’s most famous theatres.