What is EIFF Connections?

EIFF CONNECTIONS offers development designed for you.

Previously known as EIFF Network we are now EIFF CONNECTIONS. Applications for 2016 are now closed!

Every participant or participating team will be developing feature projects and EIFF CONNECTIONS will work with each team who will be supported and mentored individually.  All developments are different: some participants will be writing a screenplay; some will be learning how to package, pitch and finance a film; some will be putting together a creative team and some will be doing all of these.

An industry mentor will work with each participating individual or team.  An experienced mentor may be assigned to more than one team. Mentors will not run a project but will support and guide participants to run it themselves.  They will suggest areas of focus; identify questions to ask and possible answers; suggest targets and deadlines; give feedback; and recommend other people you might be in touch with.  If mentors think it is appropriate they can arrange for participants to meet and talk with other film professionals.  They will also encourage you to talk to other participants.

Our mentors are working industry professionals and have included:

  • Peter Ettedgui, producer & screenwriter (LISTEN TO ME MARLON, KINKY BOOTS, UNMADE BEDS)
  • Clio Barnard, filmmaker (THE ARBOR, THE SELFISH GIANT)
  • Tristan Goligher, producer (45 YEARS, WEEKEND, iFeatures 2013),
  • Celine Haddad, senior executive (Creative England, Pathe);
  • Mia Bays, producer (BACKSTREET BOYS, SCOTT WALKER, Film London Microwave)

Kate Leys runs CONNECTIONS with Holly Daniel at the EIFF.  Kate is in touch with all the mentors, all the time.  She is available to speak to throughout the year and is always available to give script feedback.   Holly and CONNECTIONS-Coordinator Becky Brazil are on hand to support, answer questions, listen, liaise and organise.

EIFF CONNECTIONS runs as a complement to the varied number of development opportunities taking place across the UK delivered through the BFI Net.Work. If you are not sure which initiative is best for you please get in touch and we can help inform your decision.

Development will be further supported throughout the year by a wide range of industry professionals including agents, producers, sales agents, screenwriters, festival programmers, script editors, directors, distributors and executives.  These might meet participants individually, they might take part in our exclusive online Q&As (answering participants’ own questions) or they might be available to talk to informally at CONNECTIONS events.

Feedback will take the form of guidance rather than instruction; you are developing your project, your voice matters and you will be driving the process.

In June 2016 all CONNECTIONS members will be invited to attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival and be given a complimentary delegate pass and hotel accommodation.  This will allow them access to industry events and screenings throughout the Festival, in addition to exclusive CONNECTIONS events.

EIFF CONNECTIONS builds your connections with the film industry and puts you in touch with the people and organisations you need.  The project runs a private dedicated website for participants featuring exclusive discussion forums, blogs, a resources page for relevant industry updates, an online message board, guest speakers, email feedback and more.  Participants can list their biogs, contact details, project information, CVs and showreels.  A virtual network is always available to you: nobody needs to suffer from last minute scheduling or lost earnings.

EIFF CONNECTIONS doesn’t tell you what to do.  It doesn’t have a fixed theory or a fixed timescale.  It’s a project based on the working film industry in which all projects are different; all developments are different; and professionals work together to share information.


What past participants said about their experience:

The process moved forward my confidence in decision making. From ‘it could happen’ to it is happening, first stage development is in place, we have an exec producer, we have a profile.

Both me and the project benefited from not only the expertise of the mentor, but the voice they offered up creatively.

It was great as it helped me focus on one project, guiding me from inception through to a working treatment – which has now been optioned. The process opened up a plethora of industry contacts including producers whom I now have a working relationship with.

I hoped to finesse both my project and my creative self, and Network helped me achieve that, and more.

This is not a scheme to help you “become a filmmaker”. It is tailored for those who are already proactive in their filmmaking strategy and might benefit from specific guidance, or sometimes something as simple as some quick knowledge. It showed me that making independent films wasn’t quite the lonely path that I had always thought!


We asked last year’s participants what were the most valuable things they’d learned during the process: 

Film is all about people. The team, connections with other industry people and  – fundamentally – the connection you build with your audience.

Be clear. If it’s not on the page it doesn’t exist.

Always keep coming back to the story you want to tell.

The question: why haven’t you made your film yet?

Great films come out of characters literally and metaphorically running away from things.

Politely seeking advice from industry professionals, is, more often than not, met with rewarding results.

Kate’s comment about filming not being a way to cover up a problem in a script – it’ll merely serve to amplify it.

Listen to people.  And don’t push things that aren’t ready.”

Lean on the people around you to make the best film possible. Never be self-conscious, and always be prepared to explain yourself – because if you can’t, then perhaps there’s a better option out there.  And the people around you can help find it.

EIFF CONNECTIONS is a collaborative project between Edinburgh International Film Festival and story editor Kate Leys, supported by Creative Scotland and by the Creative Skillset Film Skills Fund.