Listen carefully and you can almost hear the drumroll building from the west coast. In just over two weeks, Scotland’s biggest city will be hosting the 14th Glasgow Film Festival, which has grown from just 6,000 attendees in 2005 to one of the three largest film galas in the UK today.
As every year, the organisers have pulled out all the stops to serve up a bumper programme of great cinema from all over the world, including some incredible special events and a plethora of engaging Q and A’s with directors and stars after the screenings. In anticipation of the cinematic feast, our writers have handpicked the films and threads they’re most looking forward to checking out in a fortnight’s time.
Agnès Varda, the female pioneer of French cinema, aged 89, is back, collaborating for the first time with young photographer JR in Faces Places, a documentary about creating mural images out of ordinary people. The pair take the side roads to small French towns in a camera-van (a mobile photo booth), stopping wherever they feel to shoot individuals and let them speak their minds spontaneously. It is always exciting to watch great artists at work, and I expect a funny, humanist, and poetic study of faces and places.
The Crossing the Line strand has a vibrant and eclectic mix of experimental films, artist moving-image work and boundary-pushing cinema. Every year the Glasgow Film Festival presents the Margaret Tait Award, which is given to an artist who works in experimental film. The winner in 2017 was Sarah Forrest and she will be screening a new work on Monday 26 February and also a short selection of her previous films, during the Margaret Tait Contextual Screening – Recital event on Thursday 22 February.
Actress Karen Gillan has written and directed her own feature film, The Party’s Just Beginning, and it will be making its world premiere at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. The Scottish star will also be in town to promote the film, billed as “a fiercely honest tail of loss, grief and survivor’s guilt”. I’m looking forward to seeing what the new director has to offer as well as the chance to spot some familiar locations – much of the filming took place here in Glasgow.
GFF18 is a particularly strong festival, but above all I’m excited about The Unfilmables at St Luke’s. The thought of Mica Levi and Wrangler scoring two “films that never were” as part of a live event is simply irresistible. 120 BPM and Love, Simon are two queer films I’m also looking forward to seeing; the latter will be particularly refreshing as it’s an LGBT film that doesn’t originate from Hollywood.