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Film Studies & the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Become a film industry insider with exclusive festival access

Film Studies and the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) introduces students to central concepts of film study and includes exclusive access to the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Weeks 1 and 2 will introduce you to film theory including film criticism, genre, national cinemas, director-centred approaches, identity, socio-politics and related philosophical issues. 

In Weeks 3 and 4, you will have the unique opportunity to apply the knowledge you have already gained to a variety of selected EIFF films and events, beginning with the Opening Night Gala. With your Student Delegate Pass, you will have access to fiction feature films, documentaries, film retrospectives, industry and in-person events, including UK or World premieres at the EIFF. The timetable for this part of the course is packed full of the festival events, screenings and tutorials that change each year and the Film Festival Student Delegate Pass is an exceptional addition to your academic summer experience in Edinburgh.  

After each screening, you will then take part in tutorials where you can apply key concepts in film theory and criticism when discussing the film. You will also have the opportunity to work with local students at the Festival in Week Three, who will be participating in the An Insight into the EIFF course provided by the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Open Learning. 


Course Format

Weeks 1 and 2: Introduction to Film Studies

The first week of the course will introduce students to formal and theoretical concepts useful for the study of film, including narrative, genre and editing. We will carry out in-depth analyses of films by some of the major figures of world cinema such as Jean-Luc Godard, Terrence Malick and Federico Fellini as well as new work by exciting contemporary talents such as Ana Lily Amirpour. In the second week, we will explore film sound and music as well as adaptation and film performance studies through works by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Pedro Almodóvar, Mario Monicelli and Elaine May. We will discuss Scottish cinema with reference to Ratcatcher (1999), the debut feature by Lynne Ramsay, one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary filmmakers. There will also be a workshop on academic film writing which will help students prepare for their end of course assignments.

Weeks 3 and Week 4: Attendance at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Summer School students will join local students on the University of Edinburgh's Short Courses course 'An Insight into the Edinburgh International Film Festival' which is offered in partnership with EIFF. All participants will receive a Student Delegate Pass and will attend a variety of film premieres and special events including the Opening Night film and party. During the time spent at the festival, a short series of public lectures and guest talks will provide further theoretical insight into film studies and criticism, while daily seminars will facilitate in-depth analysis of the films.


  • 1 x 2500 word critical essay (50%)
  • 1 x Film Review (1000 words) (25%)
  • 1 x Profile Article (director, actor, screenwriter, etc.) (1000 words) (25%)

Course Organisers

Martine Pierquin teaches Film Studies in the adult education programme at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked with the Edinburgh International Film Festival for over ten years, taking groups of students to the festival. She has published on French director Jean Eustache  (The Cinema of FranceSenses of CinemaSight & Sound).  Her current research is on film education.

Dr Pasquale Iannone is a film academic and critic. He teaches film at the University of Edinburgh and is a regular contributor to Sight & Sound as well as various BBC radio programmes. His research interests include film aesthetics (in particular film sound and music), Italian cinema, videographic film and moving image studies and the filmic representation of childhood.

By the end of the course students will be able to

  • Understand stylistic and thematic developments in contemporary cinema
  • Be conversant with some major approaches to film criticism, journalism, philosophy and theory
  • Analyse individual films using particular theoretical approaches
  • Produce a film review
  • Write critically about film in an academic tone

The fee for this course is £2,581. 

This fee includes:

  • Tuition fees for the four-week course
  • Course materials and equipment
  • Academic trips and excursions
  • Social programme 

Additional fees may apply for visa applications. These are not included in your course fee.

The course fee does not include accommodation. To find out more about available accommodation options on our Accommodation page.

As part of your application process, you will be required to pay a £250 deposit. The deposit payment will be redeemable against your course fee. After a 14 day cooling off period, the deposit is non-refundable. You will receive information on how to pay your deposit during your application process.