Edinburgh Short Film Festival 2016: Preview!


The Edinburgh Short Film Festival, Edinburgh’s accessible, friendly and eclectic short film festival is now in its 6th year!

Once again, we’re bringing some of the best contemporary Scottish, UK and International short film to Edinburgh and we have another line-up of award-winning films, from Academy Award-nominated shorts to BAFTA winners!

We’re showing no less than 34 award-winning shorts as well as 39 UK premieres and 22 European premieres, ranging from a terrific drama from Afghanistan to comedy from New Zealand and from Scottish docs to animation from Mexico!


We’re also excited to partner Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, Japan’s (and one of Asia’s) biggest short film festivals and bringing some of the best Japanese short films of recent years to Edinburgh for the first time! The work of the Scottish Documentary Institute is explored in our Short Docs strand which also includes some of the best international short docs screening alongside some of the SDI’s favourites.


Our partners at the Sardinia Film Festival are back again and we’re screening some of the best Sardinian short films of last year including the winner of the best Sardinian short film!

We’re also hosting the finale of our Script Pitch competition for young, Scottish-based screenwriters, there’s a free funding workshop aimed at short film-makers and Screen Academy will be delivering a free to attend screenwriting masterclass.

On top of that, we’re planning lively networking events, Q & A sessions, meet the film-makers, live music, our Rising Star Award ceremony and some friendly faces! Tickets will be on sale soon so keep an eye on the website!

Life is short so it’s just as well our films are too



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Taking Short Film to Sardinia..it’s like Cinema Paradiso with extra ice cream!

by Daniela Cuevas Guerrero

After an excruciatingly long day of 3 flights, 4 hours of delay and a lot of running around in airports we finally landed in Alghero, Sardinia, where we were met by our host, the very hospitable Sardinia Film Festival director, Carlo Dessi.
We landed at nearly midnight with a bagload of arthouse short film, and Carlo promptly whisked us off to the provincial capital Sassari – which was founded in the Roman era as a refuge from pirates, who regularly arrived off the coast intent on pillage and mayhem. Kind of like a classical-era 18-32 club – but without the Ambre Solaire and Paracetemols.


Little did we know that all the running around would lead to an incredibly nice weekend, then again you can’t really go wrong when you are in a place as beautiful as the island of Sardinia, with it’s vertiginous clifftops, Medieval Catalonian forts and disturbingly addictive ice-cream.
Sardinia and Scotland share surprising similarities, both being islands that are (currently) part of a larger country and yet have managed to maintain a very strong and distinctive cultural identity -the result of long and conflictive, yet interesting histories – and sheep, they both have sheep, loads of sheep. This made our experience there a lot more fascinating as we got lost in the alleyways and puzzling winding streets of Sassari – not unlike the ones in our beautiful Edinburgh- on our way to the film festival after long, hot, stressful days of wondering around medieval Sardinia, consuming enormous quantities of gelato.


The Sardinia Film Festival takes place in the open courtyard of the University Polo Didattico, giving us a chance to explore the island before the festival kicked off after sunset -this thanks to the biggest difference between the two islands, which is its somewhat warmer weather. The Sardinia Film Festival is an international movie award dedicated to short films.

Founded in 2006, it aims to promote and endorse the cinematic arts -particularly independent European filmmaking- to enhance the exchange of information and debate within the different artistic expressions, and encourage young people to look towards film as a form of artistic expression.

But the festival goes beyond the screenings. They also hold workshops, masterclasses, concerts, meetings and debates, as well as hosting a movie marketing room. Having the opportunity to share some of our selected shorts in this environment to some seriously cinephile audiences was an incredibly satisfying experience that we are very grateful for.


unbelievably welcoming even to the extent of taking us on a hurl to the beach!
If you’re not filled with envy by now -we wouldn’t blame you if you were- you can visit their You Tube channel sardiniafilmfestival or just go to this linkto learn more about the collaboration between these two festivals explained by Paul whose smattering of tourist Italian struggled to cope with the arthouse power interview led by our project co-ordinator Federica Pugliese,  luckily, they didn’t seem to mind his failure to correctly conjugate verbs, while his mangling of  perfect tenses only led to some smiles from the local journos!



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LOOK WEST: A Hebridean Film Festival

Guest Post by Aidan Nicol

The Outer Hebrides, as far West as you can go in Scotland, famous for tweed, art, weather, a lilting accent- and a film festival?

The Hebrides International Film Festival is back for its second year and trying to charm us into making the ferry ride out to the isles on the West coast of Scotland. Spectacular scenery, friendly locals and an array of cinema to entice you in from the wild atlantic weather seems like a great combination for a destination festival.
The line up of film is taken from islands around the world and includes a UK premiere from the Caribbean all hoping to make you stop and think about the environmental issues and cultural changes which are affecting island life and their communities globally.
Be blown away, quite possibly literally, by an array of contemporary drama and documentary reflective of the festivals island home.

From The Messenger a visually stunning journey about the fate facing the world’s songbird population, to local film maker Joya Berrow’s short Away with the Land, a lyrical meditation taking audiences on a passage to the Hebrides to reflect on a declining indigenous way of life to The Accord an Icelandic surf movie.

Spread across rural venues around the isles as well as in the award winning art and cinema venue An Lanntair in Stornoway, the festival invites you to immerse yourself in the local landscape.

This year offering environmental events to compliment it’s selection of films, you’ll be able to take in the magic of abandoned St Kilda on a charted cruise, wonder at swooping eagles on a guided RSPB walk, listen to gaelic poetry and gaze on a parade of sail in Stornoway harbour before settling down in one of our 7 cinema venues to enjoy over 35 films screenings throughout the 4 day festival.

Take a trip to one of the rural venues in Harris, Uist or Barra and you’ll have the chance to enjoy some famous local hospitality- a cup of tea, catch of the day or a chat with local film lovers whilst watching award winning environmental documentaries and global cinema shorts.

Or soak up the atmosphere in An Lanntair, a hub for film, music, theatre and art in the biggest town in the Isles, Stornoway. Their newly opened pocket cinema provides an intimate retreat to engage with archive footage, enjoy talks and events as well as free screenings.
Whilst the bar coupled with Lewis’s famous music scene will keep you entertained, talking film and drinking local seaweed gin into the wee hours.

The short film line up at the festival is impressively diverse, from a beautiful Innuit animation from Canada’s North West TerritoryThe Orphan and the Polar Bear, to Isle de Jean Charles a documentary about a drowning island community in the bayous of Southern Louisiana.

There’s a whole world of island stories to be enjoyed.

For a taste of the wild side of Scotland, and a film festival like no other using it’s surroundings to hit home a message about the future of island life. It’s time to look West.

Hebrides International Film Festival takes place 14th-17th September 2016.

Full programme launching 9th August.

For more information on the programme, festival passes and accommodation options check out http://www.hebfilmfest.org or follow us @hebintfilmfest


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ESFF goes Edinburgh Fringe!

We’re pretty thrilled to be working with the famous Bedlam Theatre this August and holding 2 separate screening of Scottish, UK and International short films at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of our 2016 Touring Programme!

The Bedlam’s long and distinguished fringe history stretches all the way back to 1981, it’s always been a convention-breaking and fringe venue and now it has opened up its programme to film for the first time this year.

bedlam exterior

The Bedlam’s location at the junction of Forest Road and George IV Bridge means it’s always thronged with culture vultures come Fringe-time and we’ve been asked by the Film Programme Director, Alice Johnstone, to put together a hi-energy, edgy, fringe-friendly programme and so we’ve been over our programme for last year and picked out the Fringe-iest goddam films we could find from last year and – we’re pretty sure no-one’s going to fall asleep during these shows!

Our first night at the Bedlam is on Tuesday, 9th August and we’re screening the stunningly-realised and highly surreal German horror, 90 GRAD NORD by Detsky Graffam – winner of Best Film at the Budapest Short Film Festival. There’s Benjamin Cappalletti’s pacy and urgent French sci-fi thriller, SKAL, some light relief is provided by Luke Patton’s superhero comedy THE DYNAMIC DOUBLE STANDARD and a somewhat chauvinistic superhero which won Best Comedy Short at the Rhode Island International Film Festival!


There’s also Bjorn Hartel’s deliciously dark comedy SCRABBLE, about a murderously unhappily married couple and we close the night with another screening of the Scorsese-influenced Mexican thriller, CONTRAPELO, by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, the film was Oscar nominated and is a perfect example of building tension and ratcheting up the suspense in a short film.

Our second night on Tuesday 16th August opens with Olly Williams taut, fast-paced and darkly ironic heist thriller, THE FLY and is followed by one of several films from last year’s ESFF featuring oddball couples, Marco Gadge’s very funny, Harold and Maude influenced road movie comedy, HE AND SHE. Joe Pavlo’s exemplary work on VFX for big budget features is put to good use in his self-directed action/comedy/sci fi thriller DOWNSIZER, a film which resonated strongly with our audiences (and staff!) last year and you’ll have to come along to see why!


A personal favourite from last year was Adam Woodhall’s very funny, black comedy
DARK NET, which features a stand-out performance from Johnny Vegas as well as a clever, ‘Get Carter’ references and some great work from the supporting cast and the show closes with another odd couple comedy drama in Joseph Hsu’s THE LOBSTER KID in which a young,n Taiwanese begger hopes to escapes from an exploitative gang with the unlikely assistance of a monk.


We’ll be publishing more info about the programme over the coming week and in the meantime, see the link here for tickets and more info about the Bedlam’s Fringe Film programme!





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Due to a fair number of requests from busy young screenwriters, we have agreed to extend the deadline for our Script Pitch challenge for young, Scottish-based screenwriters till August 21st!
The winner & runner-up will each receive 1 ticket to the 2017 London Screenwriting Festival including flights to London as well as industry mentoring.
Eligibility: All screenwriters based in Scotland, aged 18-25 at the time of submission, are eligible for entry.

For more details, see our web page:

Scipt Pitch Competition

script pitch image

Edinburgh Short Film Festival Script Pitch Competition

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The top 5 things to help your film at festivals & the top 5 things to avoid (probably)

The top 5 things to help your film at festivals & the top 5 things to avoid

A little while ago, Lee at Shore Scripts asked us to pass out the Skinny on what makes festival programmers get to like your films and what kind of things it’s best to avoid, so we put our heads together and by common consensus, we can positively recommend the list here, but there’s no doubt that numero uno on the top 5 things to do is:

1)  Check Your File/disc/drive! Seriously, the number of films we get missing bits of the film, is beyond counting, so the golden rule here is, if it hasn’t been checked then it probably won’t play!

2)  Make sure your film is as good as it can be. Nothing beats having a really great short. Don’t rush post-production because of deadlines, remember you can always submit it again next year! It’s always worth spending as much time on your film as you can, it’ll pay off when you do finally send it somewhere.

3)  Follow the Guidelines as closely as possible- usually there’s a good reason for some seemingly arcane instruction, so if you aren’t sure then it’s always best to ask – just drop the festival an email and they’ll clear up any queries for you.

4)  Make sure you have some back-up promo material for your film, stills, posters etc, different sizes and resolutions, or an EPK if you can. We can really use those if you get selected.

5)   Select your festival carefully, think about where you’d like your film to play and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each festival on your list.

And on the other hand, for Pete’s sake, don’t….

  • Skimp on the sound mix! There’s nothing (much) more annoying than a good film ruined by a dodgy sound mix and too much DIY Foleying, so steady on there, you foley tigers and ask yourself if you really need that dripping sfx in every dungeon scene?
  • Forget to check your subtitling if it’s not in English and make sure the credits, titles and captioning are all correct!
  • Rely on your production values, make sure you have something to say and the film will take the viewer on a journey. Lots of films can look pretty good these days so don’t assume a big production will solve all your problems.
  • Send through lots of press material and images before your film has been selected for exhibition (though as per above, it’s great if you have a variety of this if and when your film is selected!
  • Get discouraged if your film doesn’t make the final cut. It really doesn’t mean you’ve made a bad film. Very often the final decision on programming is made on very fine margins

Hope this is useful and good luck!


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Edinburgh Shorts Script Pitch Competition Now Open!


We’re delighted to announce a new competition we’re holding aimed at young, Scottish-based screenwriters which we’re hoping will give our young, talented film creatives a leg up into the industry!

We’re working with the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund and Screen Academy as well as the Scottish Screenwriters group and Scottish Film Talent Network, to hold a Script Pitch Challenge for Scottish-based screenwriters, entrants will submit an original, short screenplay (5 pages maximum length not including title page) properly formatted to industry standards.

The winner & runner-up will each receive 1 ticket to the 2017 London Screenwriting Festival including flights to London as well as mentoring and access to online screenwriting courses!

Eligibility: All screenwriters based in Scotland, aged 18-25 at the time of submission, are eligible for entry.

No teams or joint applications, no adaptations allowed.

For more details, see our website:


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