Glasgow Film Festival 2017 Highlights

Fancy chilling, quite literally, on the slopes at Snow Factor as you experience John Carpenter’s classic, The Thing? Or shaking your hips at a dance workshop after watching Dirty Dancing at Oran Mor? Perhaps a secret late-night screening of The Lost Boys is more your thing?  All that and plenty more are on offer at the 13th annual Glasgow Film Festival when it returns this February.

With the full programme now announced, film fanatics are in for a treat as the festival, which takes places from 15-26 February, is bringing exclusive anniversary screenings, nine world and international premieres and old-favourites to Glasgow with 310 events, showcasing 180 films from 38 countries.

GFF opens with its first of many European premieres, John Butler’s joyous coming-of-age story Handsome Devil on 15 February and closes on 26 February with the world premiere of David Tennant’s new biopic, Mad To Be Normal, about infamous Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing, which David Tennant and director Robert Mullan will be attending.

The story of Benny Lynch, the local hero widely considered as the greatest boxer Scotland has ever produced, will also be shown on the big screen when the world premiere of Benny takes place on 22 February.

Other local sporting legends will feature on screen in the international premiere of Canadian actor-filmmaker Jay Baruchel’s documentary, Celtic Soul, which follows his epic trip through Canada, Ireland and Scotland to see his beloved Hoops in action at Celtic Park.

Glasgow Film Festival audiences will also be the first to catch European premieres including: the charming road movie Folk Hero & Funny Guy (20 and 21 Feb) starring US indie favourites David Cross and Alex Karpovsky and Steven Ellison’s (aka Flying Lotus) dark and twisted directorial debut Kuso (24 Feb), featuring exclusive new tracks from Aphex Twin and Thundercat.

UK premieres taking place at the festival include Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro; Terrence Malick’s Voyage Of Time: Life’s Journey; Tim Sutton’s Dark Night and Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome. GFF audiences will also be the first in Scotland to watch some of the most hotly anticipated new movies including Paul Verhoeven’s multi Golden Globe winner Elle; Olivier Assayas’s supernatural thriller, Personal Shopper, starring Kristen Stewart; Sean Foley’s Mindhorn starring The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt and Lone Scherfig’s story of the creative brains behind Britain’s morale-boosting World War II propaganda, Their Finest starring Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy.

Homegrown talent will also be celebrated at the festival with the first Scottish screening of Edinburgh-based filmmaker Hope Dickson Leach’s debut feature The Levelling, Mark Cousins’; a special 20 year anniversary screening of the big screen adaptation of The Slab Boys, introduced by John Byrne; and the Scottish premiere of award-winning thriller Bodkin Ras, which was filmed in the Scottish Highlands and features a cast of non-professional actors from Forres.

As always, the festival has plenty of special events planned for its audiences at pop-up cinemas across Glasgow. From a 15th anniversary screening of Secretary at SWg3, held in association with Torture Garden Festish Club on 24 February, to a mystery venue pop-up cinema where audiences will be bussed to on the night for teen vampire chiller, The Lost Boys, there’s an event for all tastes.

Other special events include a swashbuckling adventure at Maryhill Burgh Halls with a 30th anniversary screening of family favourite The Princess Bride on 25 February, followed by a treasure hunt suitable for all ages to find hidden treats and live sword fighting in the enchanted forest. Also, 23 February wrap up warm and hit the dark slopes at Snow Factor for a 35th anniversary screening of John Carpenter’s classic horror The Thing.

If the soundtrack is the most important element in a film for you, definitely check out Lost In France. It explores the rise of Scotland’s independent music scene in the 90s and explores friendship, creativity and of course music. Make sure you stick around after the screening at the O2 ABC on 21 February for a live performance from Scottish talent including Alex Kapranos, Stuart Braithwaite, RM Hubbert and Emma Pollock, which will be broadcast live to cinemas across the UK.

FrightFest is also returning this year from 23-25 February with a record 14 films shown across 13 days, including ten UK premieres.
Kicking off with a special screening of A Cure For Wellness, an intense psychological ride from Gore Verbinski (director of The Ring) and ending with a screening of the daring and provocative Raw – about a first year vegetarian veteran student who develops an unhealthy taste for meat – which has been discussed non-stop in recent weeks, FrightFest sounds as shiver-inducing as ever.

Aside from the many premieres and special events held at the festival this year, there are also various strands celebrating different film genres including The True North: New Canadian Cinema strand, which focuses on re-discovered and emerging voices in Canadian cinema as Canada celebrates the 150th Anniversary of Confederation; the age-appropriate Modern Families strand which keeps youngsters entertained; Nerdvana brings the strange, wonderful and awe-inspiring to the festival with a host of interesting films; Crossing The Line features a selection of experimental cinema that pushes the boundaries of conventional film making; Window On The World showcases wonderful cinema from the 38 countries that are represented at this year’s festival and Stranger Than Fiction features a selection of unbelievable true stories, ranging from completely odd to rawly political.

With the Behind The Scenes strand audiences don’t just get to watch films, they can gain an insight into the world of film and understand more about the complexity of filmmaking and all events are free to attend. Sound designers Ronan Breslin and Paul Wilson will be deconstructing what makes a perfect film soundtrack; stunt co-ordinator Abbi Collins, who recently worked on Star Wars: Episode VIII, will discuss the evolution of a stunt and Dan Frye, who has worked on Game of Thrones and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will lead an interesting prosthetics workshop.

Aside from catering to film fans, the Glasgow Film Festival also presents the Industry Focus strand, which is returning for its second year from 22-24 February and will offer creators, producers and grassroots filmmakers the opportunity to attend masterclasses, networking opportunities and more.

The third annual Audience Award, sponsored by ScotRail, will be handed out at the closing gala on 26 February and one of ten emerging filmmakers will be presented with the prestigious award. Eligible films include Alankrita Shrivastava’s story of personal and sexual liberation in modern India Lipstick Under My Burkha, Maysaloun Hamoud’s look at three modern Palestinian women sharing a flat in vibrant Tel Aviv In Between, Rachel Lambert’s brooding family drama In The Radiant City and Thomas Q Napper’s British boxing drama Jawbone (25 and 26 Feb). Alankrita, Maysaloun and Rachel will all be in attendance at the festival to introduce their films to Glasgow audiences.

Allison Gardner, Glasgow Film Festival Co-director said “I love the delight that audiences take from our special events. There are some absolutely brilliant experiences this year and I can’t wait to feel the blood chill and the audience shiver as we head to Snow Factor for The Thing or revel in Cajun culture when The Big Easy screens at the Barras Art and Design. I am also thrilled at the way the Modern Families strand has grown within the Festival and this year’s highlights include the  outstanding animated features My Life As A Courgette and Rock Dog with Eddie Izzard providing the voice of a Tibetan Mastiff who dreams of pop stardom and our 30th anniversary screening of the swashbuckling The Princess Bride. The 2017 festival is going to be so much fun.”

Tickets are now on sale for Glasgow Film Festival Members and will available on general sale at 10am on Monday 23 January. Tickets are available online at, by calling the Festival Box Office on 0141 332 6535 or in person at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Rose Street.

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