Former critic ready for second term at Edinburgh

There’s a lot riding on the slim young shoulders of Hannah McGill, the 31-year-old former film critic for Scotland’s Herald newspaper who is embarking on her second lap as artistic director of the Edinburgh Intl. Film Festival.

But if she’s feeling the pressure, she doesn’t show it. Despite having to program her second fest just 10 months after her debut effort, she says she’s found it easier this time around.

The new June date means there’s no longer a last-minute scramble at Cannes to nail down her final films. After a leisurely trawl around Sundance and Berlin, McGill’s lineup was done and dusted in time to announce her slate a week before the Cannes madness began.

Maybe, too, she’s relaxing into the job. Despite a natural diffidence that makes her reluctant to hog the spotlight, McGill has an undefinable star quality, a combination of sharp intelligence and old-fashioned glamour that will stand Edinburgh in good stead as it seeks to raise its profile in its new June slot. Not for nothing was she nominated as most stylish female in the Scottish Style Awards.

But McGill is in it for the movies, not the show. Her personal faves in this year’s selection include docs “Man on Wire” (“a beautifully made film about the ludicrousness and beauty of human ambition”) and “The Order of Myths” as well as retrospectives of Jeanne Moreau and Shirley Clarke, and her new Under the Radar sidebar of cult pics.

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