Emma McCorkell at Organic Marketing to lead festival public relations.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) board has announced plans to reinstate the Michael Powell award for British films, and to keep the festival in its current June slot.

The 66th festival will run June 20-July 1, 2012.

There had been much debate about whether the festival should remain in its new June slot (which started in 2008) or move back to its historial dates in August as part of the larger group of Edinburgh festivals.

As recently reported, the festival has new management — Ken Hay is now acting CEO of parent organisation Centre for the Moving Image (after Gavin Miller stepped down last month) and Chris Fujiwara has been appointed as the festival’s new artistic director (he will relocate to Scotland in December).

In another change, the festival has appointed Emma McCorkell at London-based Organic Marketing to lead festival public relations. She had worked with EIFF in her previous job at Rogers & Cowan. The festival had come under criticism in 2011 for taking on Scotland-based Burt Greener Communications, which had no film industry experience.

Ken Hay said, “The ‘June or August’ debate has been at the forefront of discussions since the end of this year’s Festival and is a matter on which the board has sought broad consultation.  The film industry, including press, distributors and sales agents, have all been part of the conversation to ensure a decision that is correct and will provide the very best future for the Festival.  With the dates now final, our newly appointed Artistic Director, Chris Fujiwara, will work with his programming team to create a fantastic line-up for 2012.”

John Trafford-Owen, Head of Theatrical Distribution, StudioCanal, noted, “We look forward to continuing our relationship with EIFF in June, a time of year that creates the ideal platform for late summer and autumn launches as demonstrated so successfully this year when we were able to open the festival with John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard.

The Powell Award, for Best New British Feature Film, was launched in 1998 and ran until 2011 when it wasn’t awarded. Past winners include Anton Corbijn’s Control, Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, and Pawel Pawlikoswki’s My Summer of Love.

Chris Fujiwara said, “I’m delighted that The Michael Powell Award will be back for 2012. The award has been an integral part of the Festival for years; it has seen some inspirational filmmakers enjoy its benefits and is crucial to the Festival’s creative vision.” 

Leslie Hills, CMI Board Chair, added: “The Board is working very hard to ensure that the future of the Festival is secure and by appointing both Chris and temporarily Ken at this critical time, we feel sure that we will see the Festival thrive.”