The producer of films including Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and The Beach has been announced as the new chair of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) – less than a year after administrators were called in.
Andrew Macdonald said he was now looking forward to “helping build long-term success” for the event, which was first staged in 1947 and is the world’s longest continually-running film festival.
The movie producer, who has previously collaborated with Danny Boyle on movies such as Shallow Grave, Trainspotting and its follow up T2 Trainspotting, will now recruit a board and executive team in a bid to take the EIFF forward.
His appointment comes as the event prepares to put on a “dynamic film programme” across six days in August.
It comes after the charity which ran the festival, the Centre for the Moving Image, called in administrators in October last year, at the time citing a “perfect storm of sharply rising costs, in particular energy costs”.
Arts body Screen Scotland, however, said Macdonald had been “one of the first to offer support when the previous organisation collapsed”, adding he had been “instrumental” in bringing people together to keep the event going.
Screen Scotland executive director Isabel Davis said: “That Andrew has agreed to be the chair of the new Edinburgh International Film Festival is a clear indication of the ambition we all share for the festival’s future.
“He was one of the first to offer support when the previous organisation collapsed and, with his customary vigour, Andrew has already been instrumental in bringing people together to build an exciting new vision for what Edinburgh International Film Festival can become.”
She continued: “Andrew’s internationally-acclaimed body of work speaks for itself and his long-standing relationship with Edinburgh and EIFF, his entrepreneurial mindset and producer’s can-do attitude makes him ideal for this role.
“We’re grateful that he’s prepared to give his time and energy to this exciting, if huge, project and look forward to working with him as he builds the team that will take on the direct running of the festival for 2024 onwards.”
Since 1997, Scottish-born Macdonald has headed DNA Films, producing and financing films including Beautiful Creatures, The Last King of Scotland, Notes on a Scandal, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, Far From the Madding Crowd and Sunshine on Leith.
More recently he has branched into TV work and was involved in the adaptation of Rumer Godden’s Black Narcissus for the BBC and FX Productions.
His appointment comes almost 30 years after his first film, Shallow Grave, received its world premiere at the EIFF in 1994.
Written by John Hodge and directed by Boyle, the film was a major box office success, winning the Bafta award for best British film and also launching Macdonald’s career.
He said: “Edinburgh International Film Festival played a huge part in my own early producing career, it’s held dear by film-makers and audiences, and admired by so many around the world.
“Working together with fellow film-makers, funders and festival experts on a proposition for the future of EIFF from 2024 has been altogether compelling and in this new role I’m looking forward to helping to build long-term success for EIFF in the years to come.”
His appointment was welcomed by Scottish culture minister Christina McKelvie, who said: “Edinburgh International Film Festival has been at the heart of Scotland’s cultural scene for 76 years and I’m delighted that one of our most successful and high-profile filmmakers, Andrew Macdonald, has been appointed to continue the next chapter in the festival’s story.
“Working closely with Screen Scotland, we’ve been proud to support this year’s special edition of the film festival recognising the value that it has to the country’s cultural, economic and societal wellbeing.”
This year’s film festival is being put on as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, under a one-year agreement between the organisation and Screen Scotland.