Watch out, Edinburgh: Since debuting in 2005, the Glasgow Film Festival has shot up as the UK's number-three film event, luring 28,000 viewers last year and growing faster than its cinema siblings.
Glasgow has taken to the Festival like Craig Ferguson has taken to late night.
Year six kicks off on February 18, 2010, with a gala screening of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's MicMacs, and wraps 10 days later with the world premiere of the Glasgow-filmed chiller Legacy. In between, 200 films, tributes, panels and parties will unfold in some two dozen venues around the Scottish city.
The brainchild of the Glasgow Film Theatre, GFF was created as a "best of fest," skimming the Cannes, Sundance and other festival cream for this pre-theatrical run — or any run at all. As opposed to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, whose "international" moniker suggests more of a focus on industry and discovery, films and filmmakers come to Glasgow for its cinephilic audiences, per GFF co-director Allison Gardner.
With little more than $300,000 to play with, Glasgow has a fifth of Edinburgh's kitty. And that's not counting EIFF's half-century lead to catch up to. Jigging its way to ticket-holders' hearts, the Glaswegian upstart has swung such buzzy venues as a roving caravan and vintage abattoir.
Programming and stars are two other grooves in GFF's repertoire. James Earl Jones is taking out a moment from his London stage performance for a "conversation with," and Emma Thompson joins Richard Jobson in discussing The Journey, a short film about human trafficking he directed and which she executive-produced. From Time to Time summons Oscar laureate Julian Fellows for a Q&A on adapting Lucy M. Boston's family novel for the screen.
Other celebrities in Glasgow include Scotsman Kevin MacDonald, whose Touching the Void and The Last King of Scotland will come under dissection in his "Director's Cut" talk; and the cast and crew of Gregory's Girl. Directed and written by the Oscar-winning Bill Forsyth, Scotland's most successful film is slated for a 30th-anniversary reunion. Though Scottish actor Tilda Swinton won't be in attendance, her star vehicle, I Am Love, counts among the 50 or so UK premieres on the lineup.
Drawn from 800 world submissions, Festival fare cleaves into 15 strands, from youth and music to a retrospective of films starring Cary Grant and a tribute to Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. A favorite strand, "FrightFest," is a weekend of shivers courtesy of England's biggest horror fantasy film festival. Tim Sullivan's 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams is but one of its over-the-top and under-the-radar titles.
Scotland's audience-friendliest festival has yet to give Edinburgh cause for concern. Yet, with "ambassador" Gerard Butler now drumming up business for the Glasgow Film Office, and with the GFF on a roll, industry wags are taking new notice of Scotland's capital of commerce, finance — and cinema?
Glasgow Film Festival
Feb 18 - 28, 2010
12 Rose Street
G3 6RB Scotland
+44 (0)141 332 6535