This is it.
Today marks the start of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and I couldn't be any more excited.
Make no mistake this is a film festival that ranks right alongside the "big boys" of Cannes and Sundance.
There are films that will surprise, shock, upset, provoke, amuse, titilate, excite, exhaust, entertain, elevate and a million other things.
The EIFF is not a festival that is insular...this is a festival for film makers and film fans. The "industry" are here, of course, but truly this is a festival where the audience is the most important thing. While the press get the chance to interview stars and directors so too do the audience as nearly every screening is accompanied by a Q&A with someone connected to the film. You can sit in the bar of the Filmhouse and find yourself right beside the lead actor, the director, the producer of the film you've just seen.
Last year I managed to see 18 films in just 11 days...while working full time. It was exhausting but it was worth every late night, every mad dash and every penny. I saw films that became important to me (most especially a wonderful film about returning soldiers called "Isolation" which was one of my favourite films of the year) and I saw films that became significant in the "market" ("Moon", "The Hurt Locker" and "Spread" were all on show).
If you are here in Edinburgh please make the effort to go along and see something...take a chance on something you wouldn't normally go and see, see a documentary from somewhere exotic, catch a horror from Scandinavia, throw yourself into the midst of the "Under the Radar" selections. The EIFF is YOUR festival...seriously, it is friendly, welcoming and more fun than should be allowed.
I can't wait for my first film.