The Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012 is now well under way. If, like myself, you plan to feast on as many flicks as possible, here are five tips to help maximise your EIFF experience
1. Plan your viewing
It’s easy to behave like a kid in a candy store when you look through the listings. So much choice, what do you see? Unless you’ve got deep pockets or are able to take full advantage of a delegate’s pass; it’s possible to spend fortune and still miss out on the titles you would have enjoyed the most. So read the listings thoroughly and highlight the titles that interest you. Then work out which ones you can make schedule-wise and budget-wise. Inevitably you’ll miss out on a few films you wanted to catch, which is always annoying. But careful planning will ensure you see as many of your choices as possible. This is more than a little ironic coming from someone as unorganised as myself! Failure of planning has already led to me missing a title on the first day of the festival.
2. Book tickets in advance
There are few things more frustrating at a cinema than going to the box office in what you think is plenty of time only to find the showing you wanted to see is sold out. Major screenings and premiers at the festival can sell out hours before the curtains rise. The best solution is booking online at edfilmfest.org.uk then collecting your tickets from the Filmhouse box office.
3. Know the venues
Three cinemas are being used for festival screenings; The Filmhouse on Lothian Road; The Cameo on Home Street and Cineworld at Fountain Park. Although they are relatively close together, if you get confused and go to the wrong cinema you most likely won’t have time to make it to the right one before your film starts. I found this when I turned up at The Filmhouse only to find I should have been at Cineworld…
4. Be adventurous
We all have favourite genres, directors and actors/actresses. When browsing the screenings on offer, the tendency is to pick out films that fit our personal tastes. However, the EIFF is the perfect opportunity to try something different. For example, this year there’s a programme called ‘Philippine New Wave’ that highlights the creativity of young independent filmmakers from the Philippines. When will you ever get the chance to see any of the titles included again? Even if on paper some films might not initially excite you, there’s a good chance that if you go see them, you’ll be introduced to new favourites. The latest addition to my list of favourite directors is ‘David Zellner’ as a result of taking a gamble and seeing ‘Kid-Thing’.
5. If you have a delegate’s pass, milk it for all it’s worth
These beauties give free access to press screenings and industry events, plus discounts on tickets to regular public screenings. Hang out in the Traverse Theatre where the press office is located, to keep your finger on the pulse and stay up to date with announcements. The Filmhouse Bar is a great place to relax and meet fellow delegates (I hate the term ‘networking’), and they serve decent food. Of course, earning your daily bread will probably hinder your ability to use your pass as much as you’d like.
Speaking personally, it’s gutting entering my workplace knowing that I’m missing out on so much. Those fortunate to know in advance that they’ll have a pass next year would be best to book some annual leave over the 2013 festival.
Above all, enjoy yourself. Soak up the unique atmosphere, see so many films your eyes hurt and support this wonderful event with all your heart and soul.