The reception celebrates the Festival's international filmmaker guests and offers the chance to experience some traditional delights. This includes the Beating Retreat, where the presentation of the quaich to the Pipe Major was made by guest of honour, Saudi-Arabian film maker Haifaa al-Mansour. Haifaa al-Mansour is the director of Mary Shelley, which received its UK premiere at this year’s Festival. She is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and is regarded as one of the country’s most significant cinematic figures. Her feature film, Wadjda, was the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and the first Saudi film to be nominated for an Oscar.

A host of other international guests were also in attendance including American director Jennie Livingston (Paris is Burning), actor, director and producer Joe Dante (Gremlins) and representatives of Telefilm Canada who has supported this year’s Focus on Canada strand, highlighting EIFF’s international reach and profile.

Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop’s speech drew further attention the enormous potential of Scotland in the screen industry noting the recent appearance of the iconic Royal Mile in Avengers: Infinity War and Mount Suilven in Edie, which premiered at the 2017 EIFF, as well as the Festival’s continued focus on championing Scottish talent both in-front of and behind the camera.

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Government’s Expo funding which is focused on developing new talent and is supporting a wide range of industry activity at this year’s Festival: EIFF Talent Lab, Works in Progress showcase and Distribution Rewired. In addition, Scotland’s Year of Young People has helped EIFF to expand their youth activity, The Young & the Wild, with representatives of EIFF’s Young Programmers and Youth Advisory Group in attendance at the Castle, getting the opportunity to meet filmmakers from across the world.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Over the years, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has rightly gained increasing international recognition. While priding itself on being the longest-running Film Festival worldwide, it continues to present a fresh and innovative programme of activity, opening up debate on themes that are very relevant to today’s Scotland. This year’s programme is no exception: with new features from 48 countries across the globe, the proposals in this year’s line-up confirm Scotland is a country that looks out to the world.

"I am delighted that the Film Festival received £104,000 in 2018 through the Scottish Government Festivals Expo Fund, which has enabled the best new and emerging filmmakers to develop their skills, knowledge and awareness of all stages of the filmmaking process.

“As we celebrate 2018 Year of Young People, the Festival puts our young people front and centre with a series of special events and screenings in the Young and the Wild strand, while tackling gender equality by highlighting the work of creative and inspiring women.”

Ken Hay CEO of EIFF said: “The annual Scottish Government hosted reception at Edinburgh Castle is a true highlight for the Festival’s international guests each year. The Scottish Government’s ongoing support for the Festival through the Festivals’ Expo Fund has been transformational for the Festival, for the pipeline of talent coming through EIFF’s Talent Lab, and for the film sector in Scotland. Thank you.”