Film Fest ticket sales down

The Edinburgh International Film Festival apparently suffered a 10% drop in tickets sales for 2010 (not my fault, I went to a pile of shows!). One of the factors being blamed is the very late launch this year, which I know really pissed off regular Film Fest goers like myself and others I know who go each year. The programme came out so close to the actual festival it didn’t leave much planning time – annoying for those of us who live in and around the city, a real problem for visitors who have to make their way here from much further afield. And when the programme did launch (with a website crash – again) we had barely a couple of days to go through it before the box office opened. Everyone I know was really annoyed at this, it simply didn’t give us enough time to plot out which films we most wanted to see then check times and dates to see if they clashed and work out alternates if they did and so on (plus the now traditional web box office crash again when tickets went on sale, bah). Pretty poor planning.

Sylvain Chomet and Hannah McGill, the Illusionist gala opening
(Sylvain Chomet with now former EIFF director Hannah McGill at the gala opening night screening of Sylvain’s wonderful The Illusionist at the 2010 Film Fest)

The Film Fest is blaming some of this on being late in securing some of the films because of the Cannes Film Festival being held in May, meaning they didn’t want to launch until they had everything confirmed. Which is fine except this is the same Film Fest who decided to move out of their decades long home of August, when the Edinburgh Festival is on, to be a standalone festival in June. Which you might recall me being quite put out about, I was totally opposed to that move, thought it was foolish and their reasoning flawed. One of their reasons was allegedly so it wouldn’t be too close to other major international film festivals and therefore competing too much for screenings of certain movies. Now they are blaming proximity to one of the most famous film festivals in the world for this year’s problems? Oh come on, make up your bloody minds, Film Fest, which is it? maybe you should just admit you got it wrong and move back to August again, then you can can also pick up on the extra visitors who are in the city for the Festival? And it would give the Film Fest some of its buzz back – while I enjoyed the movies the atmosphere is lacking the magic present during the main Festival in August, it’s jsut not the same. Oh and while we’re at it, please keep screenings restricted to CINEMAS! No more dubious vanity projects like gala screenings held in an old (and uncomfortable) theatre which was totally unsuited for film screenings.

You can find some of my reviews from this year’s Film Fest offerings here and here on the blog. (link via the BBC)