The Edinburgh International Film Festival has become the first beneficiary of the UK Film Council's Film Festival Strategy to support UK Festivals of national and international significance. Edinburgh will receive $3.8m (£1.88m) of funding over a three-year period until 2010.

The announcement is a major boost for a Festival that is undergoing significant changes as it moves from an August slot in the calendar and seeks to re-establish itself as a Festival of discovery devoted primarily to celebrating exciting fresh talents and exploring new trends in filmmaking.

Edinburgh was established in 1947 and held each August alongside an explosion of arts events in the Edinburgh International Festival. The 2008 Festival will be held in June and stand alone for the first time.

The Festival's artistic director Hannah McGill has already announced that the 2008 retrospectives will be devoted to Jeanne Moreau and filmmaker Shirley Clarke.

Edinburgh claimed admissions of 51,793 in 2007, down on the previous year's 60th edition total of around 59,000, and a box-office of $485,880 (£242,000).

In 2007 it also received a commitment from Scottish Screen for an additional investment of $500,000 (£250,000) per year for the three-year period of 2007-2009.

The Festival has launched a number of industry initiatives in recent years adding an award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film in 2007 alongside Trailblazers a collaboration with Skillset that provides a launch pad for work by selected recent graduates of the Skillset academies.

Despite hosting a very modest number of world premieres annually Edinburgh has now declared a bold ambition to become the world's 'must attend' Festival of discovery and will use the extra funding in areas of education, training and industry networking opportunities. It will also focus on the development of film and filmmaking in the digital age.

The 2008 programme will be launched on May 7.

The Film Council will make further announcement over the coming months on the distribution of funding from the $9m (£4.5m) Festivals budget with the London Film Festival expected to be another major beneficiary.