The Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) celebrates its 10th birthday this year. In the space of a decade, it has grown from humble beginnings to become one of top three film festivals in the UK.
And the 2014 programme, which was launched last night, looks set to be the Festival’s biggest and best to date! Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is the Opening Gala film, marking the first of 60 UK premieres lined up for the 11-day Festival. Jonathan Glazer’s adaptation of Michel Faber’s novel, Under the Skin, will bring the Festival to a close – a perfect choice considering much of the film was shot in Glasgow.
This year’s relevant and varied focus strands include: Cinechile, exploring the resurgence of film-making in Chile; Game Cats Go Miaow, ideal for gamers, who love their movies; and 1939: Hooray for Hollywood, showcasing Hollywood’s golden year, with screenings of each of the best picture Oscar nominations from that year, including the likes of, The Wizard of Oz, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Stagecoach. 1939 was also the year that The Cosmo Cinema opened on the site where the Glasgow Film Theatre now stands, providing a double cause for celebrations.
But the strand that I’m most excited about is Events and Pop-up Cinema, which will see screenings take place in dramatic venues across the city. The Festival has a reputation for curating unique ‘total cinema’ experiences. Previous years have seen The Warriors screened in the depths of Glasgow’s Underground, The Passion of Joan of Arc in Glasgow Cathedral, and Jaws in the hold of a moored boat. And this year, there is an abundance of choice for those looking for some extra special magic from their cinema-going experience.
Here are my top five picks of unusual events to see at this year’s GFF:
- Potholing Expedition Seeks Recruits – Brave audience members will be going underground to watch a mystery film screened in a newly opened space deep underneath Glasgow Central Station. My bet is The Descent and if it is, eeeek, this will be terrifying!
- Tron: Off the Grid – Former industrial warehouse, turned arts venue, The Glue Factory, will be transformed into a retro-futuristic arcade for a screening of 80s classic Tron. Remember this is the 80s, so bring cash, both for the bar and for the arcade machines.
- Street Food Cinema: Goodfellas – GFF are teaming up with the Street Food Cartel to create a pop-up cinema/cafe in the stunning Briggait, Glasgow’s former fish market, turned arts space. They are screening four films with complementary menus – Ratatouille, Withnail and I, When Harry Met Sally and Goodfellas. Scorsese’s epic gangster tale with glorious pasta and red wine wins for me!
- Cargo Cinema, ACTION! The Launch Party – This is a preview of one of the specially commissioned Festival 2014 shows (Glasgow’s cultural festival coinciding with this summer’s Commonwealth Games). The innovative arts collective 85A will lead the evening, which comprises visual art, short films and live music.
- Cinema City Treasure Hunt – This interactive game can be undertaken at any time during the Festival, as you simply download the Walking Heads Cinema City Treasure Hunt app and then set off exploring Glasgow’s cinema and film history. Solve the riddles of the tour and then attend the live quiz finale to find out if your team has won.
These are just five of the unique events taking place at GFF 2014 but I urge you to pick up a copy of the programme now and get your highlighter pen out, as there are 187 events to choose from.
Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday (January 24th) from glasgowfilm.org.