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The Sean Connery Foundation sponsors new features competition prize at Edinburgh International Film Festival

Feb 14, 2024

The Sean Connery Foundation has come on board the 2024 Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) to establish The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence, a £50,000 award to a single filmmaker as part of a new features competition prize at the centre of the relaunched festival.

The Sean Connery Prize for Feature Filmmaking Excellence creates an exciting platform to showcase today’s most talented filmmakers by linking their success to the legacy of Scotland’s most famous global star. From August 15-21, 10 world-premiere feature films will compete for the cash prize, to be determined by audience vote. Criteria for submitting films to the Festival can be found at www.edfilmfest.org and submissions are now open.

Paul Ridd, EIFF festival director said:

‘Sean Connery was a vital patron of EIFF, consistently showing up to support new talent and gracing countless red carpets. He loved Edinburgh and he loved the festival. We are thrilled to establish the prize to honour this iconic Scottish star and we are immensely moved by the generosity of The Sean Connery Foundation, an organisation which shares our respect for cinema history and excitement for its future.’

Stephane Connery, Sean Connery Foundation chair has said:

‘From the moment we launched the Sean Connery Foundation, we have been focused on expanding opportunities for talented young people from Scotland to access rewarding careers in the film industry, particularly those who face disadvantage. Investing in a revitalised Edinburgh International Film Festival is another piece of that puzzle, providing a local showcase for global talent, where young Scots can find inspiration, mentors, and role-models to fuel their own film-education journey. My only wish is that Sean could join us to award the prize himself; he would have loved it.’

Jason Connery, Sean Connery Foundation ambassador has said:

‘Dad made it a priority to attend the Edinburgh Film Festival. He knew first-hand what it meant to work hard and struggle for opportunity. He also knew how hard it is to make an extraordinary film. With this prize, we link his legacy as a talent who rose from humble means to achieve global success with the next generation of artists forging that same path, and we do it by supporting the film festival he so loved, in the hometown he cherished.’

EIFF will also inaugurate a short film competition with a cash prize of £15,000. Prize title is to be revealed soon and submissions are now open.

Spanning 7 days, the relaunched EIFF will honour 70+ years of festival history, showcasing the very best talent in filmmaking in a re-energised format that is rooted in a local Scottish context whilst embracing the international diversity of creative expression.

Trainspotting

The EIFF’s August fixture now runs in parallel to a host of creative festivals taking place in Edinburgh, including the Edinburgh International Festival and renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which sells millions of tickets to cultural connoisseurs from around the world. The EIFF will encourage general audiences, film buffs and industry professionals to make the trip this summer to Edinburgh, which is universally recognised as a place of beauty, history, discovery and adventure.

Helmed by festival director Paul Ridd and newly appointed festival producer Emma Boa, the team aims to create a world-class showcase for independent film and filmmaking talent. Former acquisitions executive Ridd is supported by an expanding Board, including chair, Andrew Macdonald of DNA Films, producer of the iconic Edinburgh-based film Trainspotting; Peter Rice, former chairman of General Entertainment at Disney and President of 21st Century Fox; and Amy Jackson, producer of last year’s BAFTA award-winning indie, Aftersun. EIFF 2024 is supported by Screen Scotland.

More information will be released on the shape of the Festival, venues and more key strategic partners in the coming months.

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