Paul Greenwood's Glasgow Film Festival preview

Glasgow Film Festival

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Christoph Waltz, Peter Stormare, and Ben Whishaw in Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem
Christoph Waltz, Peter Stormare, and Ben Whishaw in Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem

Glasgow Film Festival

THIS is a year of several significant anniversaries for Glasgow Film Festival and its home at Glasgow Film Theatre.

As well as being the 40th anniversary of the GFT, it's the 75th anniversary of the Cosmo, the original name of the cinema on the site in 1939.

And to complete the hat-trick, the Glasgow Film Festival celebrates its 10th edition, having come from humble beginnings to grow into one of the biggest and most respected festivals in Britain. It all kicks off on February 20th, promising ten days of exceptional and unique content encompassing most everything cinema has to offer.

In a nice piece of symmetry, the festival opener comes from Wes Anderson, the acclaimed director whose film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was the closing film of the first GFF in 2005. His latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, promises his usual blend of quirky characters and situations with an all-star cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton and of course Bill Murray.

And there's a strong Scottish flavour to the closing film, sci-fi thriller Under the Skin which stars Scarlett Johansson and Paul Brannigan from The Angels' Share. Johansson plays an alien who travels around Scotland killing men, and much of the film was shot in Glasgow utilising unwitting members of the public. The film's director, Jonathan Glazer, will be in town to discuss it.

All in there are 184 films and events to look forward to just in the main festival, which will showcase the best new films hailing from Chile, and the finest selection of films from around the globe. For many of these films, it will be the only chance ever to see them on these shores.

Indie treats fresh from Sundance include Blue Ruin and the Tom Hardy-starring Locke, plus the best new documentary portraits of such luminaries as Gore Vidal, Elaine Stritch and famed magician Ricky Jay, who will be appearing (and possibly disappearing) as a guest.

Further guests will include Oscar winning Hollywood legend Richard Dreyfuss, alongside the director of his film, Cas & Dylan, TV heartthrob Jason Priestley. And multi-talented Scottish comedian and actor John Sessions will be taking part in an In Conversation event.

Other big name filmmakers with new movies include Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem and Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo. Comedian turned director Richard Ayoade will be welcomed back with The Double following his debut film, Submarine, which screened at GFF three years ago.

As well as curating his own gaming strand, Burnistoun star Robert Florence has made his own film, psychological thriller The House of Him, shot in Glasgow in only two weeks for less than £1000.

Other sections include Glasgow Music and Film Festival, experimental strand Crossing the Line, Great Scots and perennial favourite FrightFest, a full weekend of horror.

And to celebrate the 75th anniversary, all the best film nominees from the 1939 Oscars will be screened, including such classics as The Wizard of Oz and Mr Smith Goes to Washington, each of which can be seen for only £5.

Festival co-director Allison Gardner believes it could be the strongest programme Glasgow Film Festival has yet offered.

"In terms of the breadth and depth of the programme, we're all very excited about this year's festival. It's a festival for the people of Glasgow, and the way all the great and unique spaces available in the city will be utilised for pop-up events is something we're very proud of."

These will include movies screened on The Tall Ship, Street Food Cinema at The Briggait where you can enjoy a movie and a meal at the same time, and comedy classic Young Frankenstein screened inside Kelvingrove Museum.

Tickets go on sale from Friday January 24th and full details can be found at www.glasgowfilm.org/festival

Arts and Entertainment

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