EIFF launches youth programme

Talks, masterclasses and £5 tickets on offer for 15-25-year-olds

by Amber Wilkinson

Costume designer Nina Ayres will discuss her work on Game Of Thrones
Costume designer Nina Ayres will discuss her work on Game Of Thrones
Edinburgh International Film Festival has announced its full Youth Programme, aimed at engaging young audiences with this year's festival, which runs from June 19 to 30.

The initiative features film screenings, special events and master classes. This year's Youth HQ will be at the Cornerstone Centre, St John's Church in the city's Princes Street, which will act as a hub, hosting workshops, industry panels and careers advice sessions for 15 to 25-year-olds.

Events will include a VR filmmaking workshop with experimental film collective, The Othvrs; a podcasting masterclass with YouTubers, The Film Look; screen-writing sessions with award-winning writer Cat Hepburn (River City, Hollyoaks); and hands-on workshops on screen combat, horror make up, prop design and sound effects. Costume designer Nina Ayres will also take part in a Q&A, discussing her career path and work on shows such as Game of Thrones, The Crown and, most recently, The Last Kingdom (Season 2) and Outlander.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Edinburgh International Film Festival provides a platform for young people to engage with the screen industry – as filmmakers, curators and audiences – and this diverse Youth Programme exists to inspire the next generation of filmmakers, creating pathways to develop their passion. With a variety of workshops, masterclasses and seminars, it is encouraging to see PLACE funding being used to offer a unique chance for young people to learn from world-renowned industry experts.”

There will also be a Career’s Brunch with industry experts; a Film Course Fair for young people interested in studying film and media; a BAFTA Scotland Screen Audition workshop with Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) and Shauna Macdonald (The Descent); pitching workshops with BBC The Social; and across the Festival, young people can find out how to get into film criticism, acting, animation and more.

The Reel Talks lecture series also returns, including the topic Stream or Die? The Future of Cinema, an illustrated talk by Dr Zoë Shacklock (University of St Andrews). which examines the future of cinema and television in the Netflix era.

The Student Critics programme will also run throughout the Festival - with applications open until May 24 here.

EIFF Honorary Patron, actor, director and screenwriter, Karen Gillan (Avengers: Endgame) said: “I’m delighted to see this year’s exciting programme of events and screenings for young people with today’s launch of EIFF Youth – congratulations to the team at the Festival.”

Young Programmer, Murray Kingsbury said: “This is a great opportunity for all those interested in film, from masterclasses to workshops and Q&As with professionals. Come along for a great time, great fun, and great chances to have a chat with people who have worked on amazing films!”

Young voices in Scottish filmmaking will also be celebrated in short film competition Youth New Visions, which is open to young filmmakers, aged 14 to 25.

To attend EIFF Youth events, participants will need to register for a £5 EIFF Youth Pass at the official site. This pass provides free access to all HQ events in addition to giving access to £5 discounted tickets for many of EIFF films.

Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan, Vice Convener of Culture and Communities at City of Edinburgh Council said: “This year’s wide-ranging festival programme builds on the great work EIFF has been doing in developing and inspiring young people who have a passion for cinema. Not only does this programme allow young people to access international cinema, it gives them the fantastic opportunity to learn directly from expert filmmakers from around the world. This is a great example of what the PLACE programme, which was designed to enable festival programmes to be diverse and global, benefitting new participants and future generations, can fund. This jam-packed programme of exciting screenings, special events, talks and masterclasses fits the bill perfectly and I hope as many young people as possible take advantage of the opportunity and get involved.”

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