The Edinburgh International Film Festival will for the first time have a theme for its retrospectives and key events. In its 61st year (August 15-26), the festival will have a screenwriting focus: Cinema and the Written Word.

The theme was selected by Hannah McGill, who recently took over as Artistic Director of the EIFF. Screenwriting-related offerings will include panels, masterclasses, and discussions with film-makers and writers.

'The screenwriting theme extends our enduring remit to look beyond the image on the screen in order to explore the structures and individuals who put it there and make it fascinating,' says McGill. 'For me, it's an intriguing shift that writers like Charlie Kaufman and Peter Morgan suddenly have more currency than some directors and that script development is such a focus of the international industry.'

The EIFF has confirmed that past partners including Event Scotland, Scottish Screen and the City of Edinburgh Council are continuing funding for the 2007 event. Standard Life will continue to sponsor the audience award from 2007 to 2009. The EIFF is the longest continually running film festival in the world.