Edinburgh International Film Festival

While the Edinburgh Fringe festival may be the largest and one of the longest-running arts festivals in world, a quick look at the overwhelmingly extensive program may have the more avid film fanatic in a bind. Sure, Fringe is a fantastic festival, but its scope is so broad that it can be argued that the emphasis on film isn’t substantial enough to quench the thirst of the average film aficionado.

Edinburgh International Film Festival is therefore quite possibly the perfect accompaniment to its comparatively broad-scope competitor. While it cannot offer the tens of thousands of performances and 300+ venues that Fringe has up its sleeve, EIFF boasts the title of being the world’s longest continuously-running festival dedicated solely to film. With an ethos that centres around touching and changing peoples’ lives through the watching, making, and understanding of film. The inclusivity, diversity focus, encouragement of innovation, and integrity that has flourished as a result, is nothing short of spectacular.

2018’s Edinburgh International Film Festival is set to be the most impressive yet, and this page hopes to provide you with as much vital information about the festival as possible.

When and Where

Edinburgh International Film Festival: Highlights and Key Performances

First, let’s cover the essentials. 2018’s festival takes place between Wednesday 20th June and Sunday 1st July.  It will be packed full of films from domestic filmmakers, as well as showcasing a remarkable diversity of productions from all over the world. The festival begins with an international premier of Puzzle on the 20th, until its conclusion on the 1st of July where you’ll find several UK premieres as well as a European and a World Premiere. If you haven’t yet brushed up on the programme, it is recommended that you do this as soon as possible, since some screenings are already sold out and tickets for others are selling fast.

As for the festival’s location, the sheer number of films on offer at the festival means that screenings and other events will be taking place across a multitude of facilities within the city. The primary venue is of course the Edinburgh Filmhouse, but you can also expect to split your time between Cineworld, Odeon, Festival Theatre, Vue, Summerhall, and Leith Theatre. There are also one-off events that will make use of The Lyceum, Central Hall, St Andrew Square and the Cornerstone at St John’s Church.

Highlights and Key Performances

Edinburgh International Film Festival: Highlights and Key Performances

There are dozens of screenings to choose from during the festival, but some screenings are sure to be anticipated more than others. Without a doubt one of the most anticipated screenings is pixar-animated Incredibles 2. Add to this the ever-intriguing In Person events that will feature, among others, director David Hare, comedian Rob Brydon, and actor George Mackay.

The festival will open and close with the aforementioned premier of Puzzle, as well as Swimming With Men. The yearly People’s Gala in 2018 will feature a film directed by Stephen Moyer (his directorial debut), The Parting Glass.

Best of British

Steel County

The Best of British segment of the festival also continues this year and will include exclusive premiers including Simon Fellow’s Steel Country, Old Boys, Two for Joy, comedy drama Eaten By Lions, and Mandie Fletcher’s Patrick.

American Dreams

Putting the “International” in “International Film Festival”, visitors can expect to enjoy some new, intriguing films from American independent film makers. Unicorn Store is Brie Larson’s directorial debut and stars Samuel L Jackson and Joan Cusack. You will also find Nick Offerman starring in Hearts Beat Loud, noir thriller Terminal, comedy Humor Me, Ideal Home with Paul Rudd and the unrivalled Steve Coogan.

Fans of Jon Hamm will also revel in The Negotiator, which despite sounding like a Wesley Snipes action-fest is in fact a 1980s-set spy thriller starring Hamm himself. If that isn’t enough American flavour for you, there’s also the updated 2017 version of Papillon starring Charlie Hunnam and Mr Robot’s Rami Malek.

European Perspectives

European Perspectives

This segment at 2018’s festival features a selection of films focused on delivery passionate storytelling. This includes Leave Me, detailing the experiences of young Syrian lives in the wake of the conflict happening in their country. You’ll also find Honour and a Bicycle, Mélanie Laurent’s Diving, What Will People Say by writer-director Iram Haq, French comedy C'est la vie! and atmospheric drama The Secret of Marrowbone starring George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth and Matthew Stagg.

World Perspectives

World-Cinema works about in the World Perspectives strand of the festival. This segment includes Chinese drama An Elephant Sitting Still; award-winning The Heiresses, political drama No. 1 Chung Ying Street, Girls Always Happy, and Brazilian comedy Loveling. There are works from further afieldf, too, such as Australian comedy Flammable Children starring Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce, The Butterfly Tree, and Ben Elton’s Three Summers starring Robert Sheehan and set at an Australian folk music festival.


This strand will delight anyone that wants to be challenged as well as having their thoughts provoked through the medium of documentary film making. Expect some big hitters such as Whitney, the a documentary about the life and times of superstar Whitney Houston, as well as George Michael: Freedom - Director's Cut narrated by George Michael himself. You can also expect Almost Fashionable: A Film About Travis, as well as The Eyes of Orson Welles, Hal and Life After Flash, an exploration into the life of actor Sam J. Jones.

Programme and Tickets

If you want to be sure that you don’t miss out on any screenings that would take your fancy, it would be wise to scour the programme of the event, was well as checking out the What’s On page at https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/whats-on. The What’s On page allows you to check on the availability for each of the screenings that are taking place, and also allows you to book tickets for these screenings. You can also book in person at the individual venues where the screenings are taking place. The website also has information about the accessibility of the venues, since levels of accessibility can differ depending on location.