‘My spectrum of taste is very wide indeed’

The new artistic director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Hannah McGill, shares her plans with Paul Dale.

Paul Dale Less than a year ago. you were a successful journalist. an award-winning writer . Hannah McGill What went wrong?! (laughing) Actually the Film Festival l‘irst approached me when l was a hack and asked me to be a programme consultant. which was wonderl'ul. At the beginning it was l.i//ie Francke |artistic director. l‘)‘)7—2()()l| who asked me. She then recommended me to Shane

20 THE LIST ‘-vf, .‘i'; No.

It may not be very apparent yet, but Scotland’s summer festivals are feeling seismic tremors. On the one hand there are new chiefs heading up two of Edinburgh’s prestigious festivals. On the other, there’s a new, upmarket music festival outside Glasgow from the people who bring us T in the Park. Together, they add up to a brave new cultural landscape taking shape in 2007. The List sat down with the Festival high heidyins to discuss their revolutionary plans.

Danielsen lartistic director. 2002—6]. it started with just helping them out at Cannes. and my role got bigger as the years went on and Shane and l l‘ound quite a lot of common ground. taste- wise. But Shane was very much a lone gunman. He liked to make the decisions himsell'.

PD In a recent interview you suggested that you might move the date of the Festival. Is there any truth in that‘.’

HM It wasn‘t an interview about moving the dates ol‘ the Festival! That was one question that was asked during the interview. and the editors made it the main thrust of the piece. Like any arts organisation. we regularly discuss all the possibilities open to us. and that is one thing that has been discussed throughout the Film Festival‘s history. But there are no imminent plans to move the date.

PD 1 think that‘s a great idea. in terms of

getting interesting movies.

HM There are pros and cons and it‘s something we‘d have to think about over a long period ol‘ time. It probably wouldn't happen during my tenure and it’s not actually a

decision for the artistic director: it‘s a matter for the board and the managing director. Nevertheless. the feedback from that interview has been interesting and it‘s an issue we want out there for people to discuss.

PD There is a view in some sections of the press that Shane Danielsen did a lot of damage to the Festival. How true is that'.’

HM The box ollice takings went tip every year under his tenure. He got fantastic lilms and great guests and it the people were buying more tickets then you can’t say that he damaged it. Shane is a person for whom I have massive respect. I love the work he did. He is a conl‘rontationaI individual. there‘s no denying it. but he is also an enormously knowledgeable scholar of lilm. He made a Festival that was very much his own.

PD Is there a ceiling which restricts you'.’

HM Financially“? I doubt there are instances where Shane‘s programme was constrained by lack of funds. He made the Festival he wanted to make and in terms ol‘ celebrity. he certainly delivered. A Film Festival that in one year can