Top five picks of Glasgow Film Festival 2017

The Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) launched their programme last night. And seriously, what a programme! There are over 310 performances to choose from at this year’s event – now one of the largest film festival’s in the UK. It is a festival that attracts massive audience numbers, which is probably a direct response to the fact that the organisers clearly love their audience and programme innovatively, yet without pretension.

The eclectic programme is divided into 17 strands – there’s everything from Dangerous Dames dedicated to Hollywood’s most badass film noir females and Pioneer showcasing first and second features from directors who display distinct talent and vision; to returning and ever popular strands, such as the Stranger Than Fiction (documentaries) and FrightFest (horror).

But for Audience Adventures, there is one major strand worth checking out – Special Events. These one-of-a-kind screenings offer an immersive experience for film-goers, with many taking place in pop-up cinemas within well-loved city venues.

Here’s my top five pick of this year’s GFF:

The Princess Bride at Maryburgh Halls (Feb 25)
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Enter an enchanted forest for a treasure hunt, fencing performances and a chance to rediscover this swashbuckling, hilarious adventure that is magical for children and adults alike.

The Thing at Snow Factor (Feb 23)
thing-the-1John Carpenter and Kurt Russell = always a winning combo! Dress warm and trust no one for this ski slope screening of an 80s horror classic, which sees a crew of researchers in the Antarctica picked off one-by-one in chilling circumstances and settings. Ice bar anyone?

Move at the Joytown Grand Electric Theatre (Feb 18)
movereA pop-up audio-visual experience which aims to transport its audience through time and space to celebrate Europe. Rarely seen archive film will be brought to life by musicians and dancers, with a party to follow in one of Glasgow’s most exciting new venues.

Raving Iran presented by Sub Hub at Barras Art and Design (Feb 19)
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Raving Iran follows two young men who continually risk their freedom in order to share banned Western music in their home of Tehran, culminating in one epic blow-out. The screening will be accompanied by Iranian street food, with more activities to be announced soon.

Secretary at SWG3
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This 15th anniversary screening of Secretary – a sweet romance between a dominant lawyer and submissive secretary – will be followed by a party featuring Torture Garden performers and a specially curated playlist. Dress up encouraged!

Other Special Event films on the line-up are: The Big Easy, Dirty Dancing, Surprise Film and The Wee Govan Pipers. There are also two sold out screenings in this strand, which went on sale at an earlier date, Lost Boys (sold out) and Lost in France (sold out) – both of which would have been in my top five if there had been tickets available. For more information visit glasgowfilm.org.

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Glasgow Film Festival 2014 programme launch

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.

Grand Budapest Hotel       Brochure

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.