The much celebrated Michael Powell Award has been a beacon for almost 30 years, highlighting excellent British filmmaking talent. Previous winners have included:

  • Shane Meadows for Somers Town (EIFF 2008)

  • Pawel Pawlikowski for My Summer of Love (EIFF 2004)

  • Derek Jarman for Blue (EIFF 1993)


The following awards are currently given at EIFF:

The Michael Powell Award logo

Michael Powell was one of Britain’s most original filmmakers, with a career spanning 60 years. The Michael Powell Award was inaugurated at EIFF in 1990 to honour imagination and creativity in British filmmaking and is regarded as a mark of prestige both within and outside the UK film industry.

The Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film

Judged by the Michael Powell Award Competition jury, this award is intended to celebrate and promote the great tradition of the art of film performance in the UK.

The Award for Best International Feature Film

EIFF seeks to represent global trends in cinema by introducing important new films and new filmmaking directions. This award is intended to highlight filmmaking from outside the UK that is imaginative, innovative and deserving of wider recognition.

The Audience Award

EIFF’s Audience Award, a popular award with the public, filmmakers and distributors alike, was reintroduced in EIFF 2013 after a two-year hiatus.

The award is voted for by cinema-goers attending public screenings. Embracing the Festival’s ongoing commitment to engage audiences in discussion of the art and the future of cinema.

Eligible films are selected from across the EIFF programme by the Artistic Director.

The Award for Best Short Film

This award affirms EIFF's long-standing support of directors of short films and is intended both to recognise the outstanding achievements possible within the short format and to offer encouragement for the feature filmmakers of the future. Films in the competition are drawn from the Shorts, Black Box, and Animation strands of EIFF.

The McLaren Award for New British Animation

Supported by the British Council

First given in 1990, this award provides a focus for new British short animation and recognises the spirit of creativity. The award, named in honour of Norman McLaren, the renowned Scottish-born animator, is decided by audience vote.

The Award for Best Documentary Feature

This award, which was re-introduced at EIFF 2014 after a three-year hiatus, recognises the immense strength of documentary filmmaking in pioneering new ways of imagining the world while insisting with urgency, creativity and vigour on the vital relationship between film and reality. Feature-length documentaries around the world are eligible for the award.

Eligibility for all awards will be at the Artistic Director's discretion.