Edinburgh International Film Festival’s Youth Events Manager, Janine Koppe, talks about this year’s exciting youth programme.
Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has been a feature of the capital’s bustling festival scene since 1947. The world’s longest continually-running film festival, it has helped to put filmmakers such as Roberto Rossellini and Ingmar Berman on the map. It has welcomed Gene Kelly, Cate Blanchett and Clint Eastwood, among other film royalty. It has hosted the UK premieres of Blade Runner, Taxi Driver and the Usual Suspects to name but a few. In other words, when it comes to film festivals, EIFF punches well above its weight.
“Audiences get to experience the newest international films, retrospectives, shorts and animation from the best talent,” says Janine Koppe, Youth Events Manager at EIFF. “It’s a public film festival with a strong education programme, and this year, as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People, our youth education strand, The Young & the Wild, is bigger than ever.”
EIFF has been offering youth programmes for more than two decades. Past initiatives have included the Scottish Kids are Making Movies programme and Young Talents, which as Janine explains, had a huge impact on some local filmmakers, “Many of our former Young Talents have gone on to fantastic careers in the creative industries, such as Niamh McKeown and composer Simon Toner, whose short film Good Girls won gold at this year’s Belfast Film Festival Short Film Competition.”
Over and above EIFF’s youth outreach work, 2013 saw the creation of a dedicated youth strand, with young people being actively involved in the programming of the festival, “EIFF Youth Hub was created in 2014, which helped to give our youth work more of a profile,” says Janine. “Since then, it’s expanded hugely.”
The result of getting young people involved in programming is that they know what their peers want to see. It’s a programme for young people, by young people.
Fast forward to 2018 and The Young & the Wild, sponsored by Baillie Gifford, is offering a whole host of workshops and screenings to those aged 15-25. “We have lectures, masterclasses with filmmakers and screenings all aimed at this audience. We have so many hands-on workshops on offer this year that will allow young people with no experience to develop and make their own short films. That’s really exciting,” says Janine.
The Young & the Wild was co-designed by EIFF’s Young Programmers and the Youth Advisory Group. The result of getting young people involved in programming is that they know what their peers want to see. It’s a programme for young people, by young people, “The programme is challenging, entertaining and educational. It has something for any young person interested in film,” says Janine.
Scotland’s film sector is flourishing, which means that more young people are trying to forge a career in the industry. Janine sees part of EIFF’s role as creating connections to support young people in their aspirations to work in film, “A huge part of The Young & the Wild is to focus on connecting young people with the world of film – we can help young people get their foot in the door,” says Janine. “A great example of this is our New Visions short film competition, which will see a filmmaker aged 19-25 win work experience at the BBC.”
At the centre of all of this is The Young & the Wild HQ, based at the Cornerstone Centre at St John’s Church, Princes St. From 22-30 June, this venue will host a series of events including workshops in directing, animation, cinematography, screenwriting, special effects make-up, film journalism and much more. “We have a variety of events on offer this year, all of which will bring young people together over a love of all things film. It’s very exciting and thanks to Baillie Gifford, we’ve been able to make this happen.”
Looking to the future, Janine sees exciting times ahead for EIFF’s youth programme, “The youth programme has expanded so much in recent years and 2018 is pivotal – there’s so much excitement around this year’s programme. If the level of enthusiasm is anything to go by, I’m confident that this is the start of a programme that can only thrive in the years to come.”