Pictured above: Bella Ramsey, In Person at EIFF Youth 2019

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From programming and competitions to how-to guides and conversations with young film talent such as Jack Lowden, EIFF Youth, designed by and for 15–25-year-olds, is the youth programme of the Edinburgh International Film Festival which aims to help young people find their future in film.
This year, the exciting EIFF Youth offer of digital, on screen and in-person outdoor events, film screenings and career advice sessions - that will educate, entertain and inspire - is focused on the middle weekend of the Festival, 20-22 August.

EIFF Youth is funded through the PLACE Programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government through Creative Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported by Baillie Gifford, the Foyle Foundation, Gannochy Trust, Procam Take 2, Culture & Business Fund Scotland and Young Start. EIFF's Young Critics programme is supported by James and Morag Anderson.







EIFF Youth’s highlights include:
EIFF Youth New Visions Short Film Competition – Fri 20 Aug, 7pm | digital

Bringing the freshest voices in Scottish film to the global stage, the event showcases 9 short films which were submitted to the Competition earlier in the year – all carefully selected by the EIFF Youth team. Three awards are up for grabs with the winners announced after the screening in a special Q&A event. FREE on Filmhouse at Home and EIFF TV YouTube Channel. 3 winning films will receive a cash prize of £300 each to seed their next production as well as a day of work experience focused on cinematography from EIFF Partner, Procam Take 2. More information here.

21 21 21

To mark the 21st year of the 21st century, the EIFF Youth team have dived into the Festival’s archives to find the most compelling 21 films for younger audiences.

You can explore these recommendations from previous editions of EIFF or attend selected screenings throughout the Festival at outdoor events, online watch parties and on screen at Filmhouse or Filmhouse at Home. Full line-up available here.

In conversation with…

EIFF Youth will also see candid celebrity interviews with actor Jack Lowden, known to wider audiences from Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots, and the cast and crew of Our Ladies, Michael Caton-Jones’ coming-of-age comedy drama. Both available on EIFF TV YouTube Channel @EIFFTV

EIFF Youth meets Jack Lowden Fri 20 Aug 5pm

EIFF Youth meets Our Ladies Sat 21 Aug 7pm

Edinburgh & Lothians Schools Film Competition 2021 – Sun 22 Aug, 12pm | Online

The annual schools’ competition returns with a special online showcase celebrating local film making talent. Together with partners Screen Education Edinburgh and Arts and Creative Learning, City of Edinburgh Council, EIFF Youth team has invited young people from nurseries, primary, secondary and special schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians to submit their short films to EIFF’s annual competition. Shortlisted films are then chosen by the Youth Jury who will present their picks in this online screening and announce the winners across a range of categories. Full details of how to watch here.

EIFF Youth recommends

The team have chosen seven special films in the Festival programme as essential viewing for younger audiences. These include Hunt for Wilderpeople and Amélie as part of Film Fest in the City and Stop-Zemlia, Europa, Lauren Garnier: Off The Record, The Deer King and Mandibles in the main Festival programme. To browse the full Festival programme click here.

Digital assets

As part of this year’s programme, EIFF Youth will publish a variety of how-to guides to support young people in the film industry. Free to access on EIFF YouTube channel @EIFFtv, these include: How to get into Film & TV (Sat 21 Aug, 2pm) with young trainees who are working on Amazon Studio’s The Rig, How to green your production (Sat 21 Aug, 3pm) with Katy Murdoch of BAFTA Albert, How to get into Film Journalism (Sun 22 Aug, 2pm) with commissioning editors and freelancers sharing their top tips and How to get your music right(s) (Sun 22 Aug, 3pm) with music composer Simon Toner.

Marking EIFF Youth’s most accessible Festival yet, all EIFF Youth online events and outside screenings are free. All films showing in cinemas are £5 for under 25s, with a free Young Persons Membership. All online events are captioned and have BSL-interpretation where possible.

To browse the full EIFF Youth programme visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk/eiffyouth.

Yvonne Gordon, Head of Community Engagement and Learning at EIFF says: “Planning for August has been challenging this year, but it has given us lots of opportunities to try new things. We have produced our first retrospective project called 21 21 21, and innovated with digital engagement with our Instagram watch parties. Our hybrid model offers the best of both worlds – with big screen experiences in cinemas and outdoors, and online events that our audiences can watch when they want, where they want and how they want.

Our online events have the potential to reach many more young people than our usual in person sessions, and we are able to make them very accessible – they are free, they are subtitled and will also have BSL interpretation where possible.

“I want to thank all our funders and our Youth team, who have worked so hard over the last ten months, to bring our plans to life”.

Back for 2021

Regular elements of the programme are returning for 2021 but with some significant changes, either due to Covid-related restrictions, Festival date changes, or as part of EIFF Youth’s commitment to make the work more accessible and inclusive.


EIFF Youth HQ at the Cornerstone Centre is usually a bustling hub of activity during the Festival. In 2019 over 1200 young film fans attended and took part in exciting workshops, in-person events and networking opportunities. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, EIFF Youth HQ will be turned into a learning hub. The team has collaborated with groups of local young people and will be delivering bespoke filmmaking workshops especially for them in a Covid-safe environment. Topics include scriptwriting, scene building and live music scoring. The programme includes filmmaking workshops created with support from EIFF Partner, Procam Take 2. The leading digital cinematography and motion picture equipment rental facility will be providing professional cameras to allow young people gain hands-on filmmaking experience. Details to be announced on EIFF Youth social media channels.

In Schools

EIFF Youth will be delivering a series of outreach film workshops in the Autumn term for Edinburgh schools in partnership with Into Film, and will be streaming the Media Day direct to classrooms on 22 September. For more information, please contact education@cmi-scotland.co.uk.

EIFF Young Critics Programme

Celebrating its eight anniversary this year, the Young Critics Programme offers free professional mentorships for young film writers during the Festival. This year the opportunity has been opened to all young people in the UK aged 18-25. EIFF Youth is committed to making the programme more accessible and inclusive and therefore is prioritising applications from people with backgrounds underrepresented in film journalism.  

Re-named the EIFF Young Critics Programme, and run online, the project still has the same dedicated aim - to find new voices and nurture fresh talent - affirming the Festival’s continuing support for the future of film criticism. The young critics’ reviews will be published in the September edition of The Skinny and on the EIFF website here. The EIFF Young Critics Programme is supported by James and Morag Anderson.

EIFF Youth is co-designed with a group of young people aged 15-25 from Edinburgh. They have worked with the wider Festival team to select films for the programme, shortlist submissions for the New Visions Short Film Competition and the annual schools film competition, and created the 21 21 21 archive strand. They also contribute to promotion and marketing campaigns to help connect the Festival with younger audiences. During the Festival they will host events and Q&As.

EIFF Youth Team for 2021: Lucilla Luprano, Thomas Comber, Angelica Petherick, Tanatsei Gambura, Jacob Gandy, Kyle Bruce and Murray Kingsbury.

Screen Education Edinburgh Youth Jury: Isla Hunter, Laurie Campanile, Alice Garland, Maisie Pirrie and Alexander Lennen.



Follow EIFF Youth on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest news, updates and announcements: @EIFFYouth #yourfutureinfilm

The 74th edition of EIFF runs from 18 – 25 August 2021.