The Edinburgh International Film Festival actually started life as an international festival dedicated to documentaries. The work of filmmakers such as Roberto Rossellini and Jacques Tati featured heavily in the early days and it is now one of the oldest film festivals in the world.
The festival also helped to strengthen the reputation of film makers such as Ingmar Bergman, who managed no less than five premiers at five consecutive festivals spanning the 1950s and 60s.
One of the main aims of the festival is to promote British film making and films made by Danny Boyle and Stephen Frears have featured over the years. The use of the retrospective started out in Edinburgh and film festivals all over the world now do the same thing.
There have been other important features of the festival over the years including the Women’s Film Festival that was exclusively for female directors in 1972 and the ongoing promotion of new talent. Guests at the film festival include Sir Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Robert Carlyle, Ewan McGregor and Cate Blanchett. UK premiers of films such as Back to the Future, Blade Runner, Amelie, The Hurt Locker and Alien have taken place in Edinburgh.