Film Studies & the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Become a film industry insider with exclusive festival access

Film Studies and The Edinburgh International Film Festival Dr David Sorfa from Summer School UoE on Vimeo.

Dr David Sorfa explains what you can expect from the the Film Studies course. All the participants will have an opportunity to attend the film premiers at the Film Festival.

This course is full. If you would like to put your name on the waiting list, please contact us by an email.

Film Studies and the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) introduces students to central concepts of film study and includes exclusive access to the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Weeks One and Two will introduce you to film theory including film criticism, genre, national cinemas, director-centred approaches, identity, socio-politics and related philosophical issues. 

In Weeks Three and Four, you will have the unique opportunity to apply the knowledge you have already gained to to a variety of selected festival films and events, beginning with the Opening Night Gala. With your Student Delegate Pass, you will have access to fiction feature films, documentaries, film retrospectives, industry and In Person events, including UK or World premieres at the EIFF. The timetable for this part of the course is packed full of  the festival events, screenings and tutorials, and due to the full on nature of the programme during the festival there will be clashes with Summer School the social programme, so you may have to miss some of the activities. However, the Film Festival Student Delegate Pass more than compensates  in value for the Summer School Social Programme activities. 

After each screening, you will take part in tutorials where you can apply key concepts in film theory and criticism when discussing the film. 

You will also have the opportunity to work with local students at the Festival in Week Three, who will be participating in the An Insight into the EIFF course provided by the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Open Learning. 

Writing workshops throughout the course will give you the opportunity to develop your film criticism and journalism. 


The University of Edinburgh also runs Postgraduate programmes of Film Studies. 

Course Format

Week 1: Introduction to Film Study

the first week of the course will introduce you to formal concepts useful for the study of film, including narrative, narration, editing, mise-en-scene, sound and cinematography. It will concentrate on films set in Scotland, particularly The Angels’ Share (Ken Loach, 2012) and Whisky Galore! (Alexander Mackendrick, 1949). 

Week 2: Film Criticism, Theory and Philosophy

The final week will provide an overview of some theoretical approaches to film study and analysis as well as introducing essential ideas related to film-philosophy, such as ethics, identity and the status of reality. The focus on Scottish cinema will continue with considerations of Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002) and Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013) but will also consider some of the films screened during the EIFF.

Week 3: Attendance at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Students will combine with local students on the Open Studies course 'An Insight into the Edinburgh International Film Festival' offered in partnership with EIFF. Participants will receive a Student Delegate Pass and attend events at EIFF, followed by discursive tutorials. 

During the time spent at the festival, a short series of public lectures and guest talks provide further theoretical insight into film studies and criticism, while daily tutorials facilitate in-depth analysis of the films through tutor-led class discussions.

Week 4: Press Screenings and Writing on Film

Students will continue attending press screenings and events with the festival course tutors. In addition to tutorials and lectures, writing workshops will prepare them for the final course assessments.


  • 1 x 2500 word critical essay (50%)
  • 1 x Film Review (1000 words) (25%)
  • 1 x Profile Article (director, actor, screenwriter, etc. ) (1000 words) (25%)

Course Organisers

Martine Pierquin teaches Film Studies in the adult education programme at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked with the Edinburgh International Film Festival for over ten years, taking groups of students to the festival. She has published on French director Jean Eustache  (The Cinema of FranceSenses of CinemaSight & Sound).  Her current research is on film education.

Dr Pasquale Iannone is a film academic and critic. He teaches film at the University of Edinburgh and is a regular contributor to Sight & Sound as well as various BBC radio programmes. His research interests include film aesthetics (in particular film sound and music), Italian cinema, videographic film and moving image studies and the filmic representation of childhood.

By the end of the course students will be able to

  • Understand stylistic and thematic developments in contemporary cinema
  • Be conversant with some major approaches to film criticism, journalism, philosophy and theory
  • Analyse individual films using particular theoretical approaches
  • Produce a film review
  • Write critically about film in an academic tone

A number of fee packages are available for the Summer School. Full fee information can be found on the Fees page.

All fee packages include tuition costs, the social programme, and your chosen accommodation type. Full information on our accommodation options can be found here.

Costs are provided per week. To calculate your total cost, select your package type, then multiply this cost by the number of weeks in your course.

e.g. A student selecting a Silver package for a 4-week course in July would calculate:

£757 x 4 weeks = £3028

To secure your place at the Summer School, you will be required to pay a deposit of £250 which can be reclaimed towards your fee package. This includes a non-refundable £50 application fee.

Please note that study in the UK may incur additional costs e.g. visa application fees.

If you submit your application and deposit before 31 January 2017, you can claim our special early bird rate. We also offer a range of special rates for students at our valued partner institutions. Please see our Fees page for more details.