Spotlight on: Film festivals
In addition to the plethora of film seasons on offer throughout the year at Scotland's art house cinemas, the country boasts not one but two great annual events: the Glasgow Film Festival, which operates out of the Glasgow Film Theatre and will be held 12-22 Feb, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, which is headquartered in the Filmhouse and will run 17-28 Jun. The GFF is the relative newcomer, now coming into its fourth year and enjoying rapidly expanding crowds of cinema-goers. By contrast, the EIFF is very well-established - coming into its 63rd year, it's the world's longest continually running film festival.
What both events share, however, is a passion for movies that encompasses retrospectives (this year of Bette Davis in Glasgow and Jeanne Moreau in Edinburgh), big blockbusters, the best of new international cinema, cult classics in the making, weird and wonderful documentaries, and cutting edge animation and music films. And being festivals, the pastime of watching movies is elevated with glitzy parties and famous guests (legendary American independent filmmaker John Sayles came to Glasgow, while Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller turned up in Edinburgh).
What's really cool about both events, though, is many of the films won't be seen in UK cinemas again for up to a year or more (or possible never again). You can say you saw 'em first.