Event reinstates Michael Powell Award

EDINBURGH — The Edinburgh Film Festival has confirmed that it will stay in June next year, instead of moving back to its old August date.

The 2012 edition will also reinstate the Michael Powell Award for best new British feature, which was controversially dropped for this year’s event.

The 66th edition of the fest will take place from June 20 to July 1.

The decision was announced by Ken Hay, the acting CEO of the fest’s parent the Center for the Moving Image, and Chris Fujiwara, the fest’s recently appointed artistic director.

“The ‘June or August’ debate has been at the forefront of discussions since the end of this year’s festival, and is a matter on which the board has sought broad consultation,” Hay commented.

“The film industry, including press, distributors and sales agents have all been part of the conversation to ensure a decision that is correct, and will provide the very best future for the festival.”

The fest was founded in 1947 as part of Edinburgh’s world-famous arts festival in August, but moved to June in 2008 in a bid to claim a higher profile as a standalone event.

But the fest has struggled in its new slot with declining ticket sales, and faced widespread industry criticism that it’s too close to Cannes to be an effective launchpad. However, a move back to August would have presented significant financial and logistical challenges for the cash-strapped fest.

The return of the Michael Powell prize was welcomed by Shane Meadows, who won the award for “Somers Town” in 2008. “The award can be a major boost to a filmmaker’s profile and I’m delighted to hear of its re-instatement at the festival for 2012,” he said. The fest has also re-appointed veteran film PR Emma McCorkell of Organic Marketing as its head of press. McCorkell ran the press office for several years until 2010, but was dropped for this year’s edition in favor of an Edinburgh PR company with no film experience.

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