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Edinburgh Film Festival Director Bids Farewell


By Robert Alstead - Posted on 24 August 2010

Hannah McGill has decided to step down from her role as artistic director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. McGill has been at the helm of the EIFF since 2006 and curated her first film festival in 2007. Prior to that she was a programme consultant for the festival for five years.

During her tenure, McGill oversaw the controversial move of the film festival from August to a fortnight in June, to give it  "breathing space" outside of the Edinburgh's Festivals. She also oversaw the introduction of the Edinburgh Festival Theatre as a venue for red carpet festival galas.

McGill's departure is the festival's second high-level departure this year. The EIFF announced its managing director of 15 years Ginnie Atkinson was moving on earlier this year.

Hannah McGill said; "I love EIFF and have been privileged to be a part of it. I'm very proud of what the team achieved during my time as artistic director, and I take away a great many happy memories. I wish the Festival the very best for its next phase - and I look forward to being in the audience."

During McGill's tenure the EIFF has tried to position itself in a busy international film festival calendar as a "festival of discovery", with innovative films, often by first time British directors, as well as the place to catch some Hollywood blockbusters before they go on general release.

Award winning films have included Control, Moon, Man On Wire, and The Hurt Locker, as well as Knocked Up, Stardust, and Death Proof. A strengthening of its relationship with Pixar Animation Studios has seen animated features Toy Story 3 and WALL•E premiere at the EIFF before opening nationwide.

Retrospectives have included Jeanne Moreau, Shirley Clarke and Anita Loos and this year’s bold  After the Wave: Lost and Forgotten British cinema 1967 – 1979.

The PPG Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film and Projector.tv Best International Feature Award were both introduced to the Festival’s award offerings by Hannah and produced performance winners such as Katie Jarvis (Fish Tank), Sam Riley (Control) and feature winners Ryan Piers Williams’ The Dry Land and Easier With Practice directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez.

Patrons, Tilda Swinton, Robert Carlyle and Seamus McGarvey have all joined the Edinburgh film festival since 2007.

EIFF chair Iain Smith said, “We are immensely sad to see Hannah go, but wish her the very best for her future career. She has been a huge asset to the festival and we thank her for all her hard work over what has been a significant four years for the festival.”

In 2008 McGill was named in the Variety Women’s Impact Report as one of 50 notable female achievers in the international entertainment industry and was awarded the Women in Film and Television UK Talkback Thames New Talent Award in 2009.

“We are very sorry to see Hannah go," said Faith Liddell Festivals Edinburgh. "She has been a wonderful festival colleague with a strong individual vision and a great collaborative spirit. We wish her all the best with her next endeavours.”

Andrew Dixon CEO Creative Scotland added; “Hannah brought a huge energy and passion to her role as artistic director and has done much to raise the profile of the festival.”

McGill will be on hand to provide support for the Festival until later in the year; recruitment for her successor will begin soon.

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