About 20 Trailblazers will be named, of which half will be selected from the new UK films in the 2007 programme and half will be graduating students from the Skillset Screen Academies selected by artistic director Hannah McGill and her programming team. Their graduation work will be screened at the festival as well.
McGill said: 'Skillset have long been valued supporters of EIFF, and I'm delighted to be working with them on a project that both organisations find both timely and exciting. We've long billed ourselves as a festival of discovery, but we want to make that remit explicit, and to shout about the people that we discover.'
The performance award will be decided by the Michael Powell award jury. Winners don't have to be British but do have to appear in a UK film.
EIFF Managing Director Ginnie Atkinson said, 'In spite of the illustrious guest list, the EIFF has never maintained a continuous acting award. With a new Artistic Director on board, this an ideal opportunity to inaugurate this prize.