Glasgow Film Festival 2015 highlights
An overflowing GFF programme boasts plenty to get excited about. Here are some of our top picks
The programme for the 11th Glasgow Film Festival has been announced. From gala screenings to themed screening parties, the best in world cinema to a brand new audience award, and unique venues to keyboard cats, 2015's lineup is chock full of great selections and creativity. We've canvassed the programme and picked out some of our favourite screenings and events at the festival, which takes place from Wed 18 Feb – Sun 1 Mar.
Opening and Closing Galas
Films: While We're Young and Force Majeure
GFF programmers certainly know how to launch a film festival. While We're Young hits all the right buttons for an opening night crowd-pleaser: European premiere, Ben Stiller on hallucinogens, Naomi Watts at a hip-hop dance class, Adam Driver being Adam Driver and writer/director Noah Baumbach hitting it out the park with a feel-good, cross-generation comedy. For the Closing Night Gala we get the UK premiere of acclaimed-Swedish relationship drama Force Majeure (unfortunately not Oscar-nominated), which is certain to inspire uncomfortable laughter during and great debate after.
Films: 52 Tuesdays, Appropriate Behaviour, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Life in a Fishbowl, Mardan, Radiator, Tender, Theeb, When Animals Dream, The Wonders
2015 sees GFF take an exciting step forward with its first Audience Award, offering attendees the opportunity to vote on a shortlist of ten films. All the filmmakers are either first or second-time directors, which is a caveat we love and recognises the need to support up-and-coming filmmakers. The challenge for you will be to see all ten films in contention. This strand promises to be a doorway to emerging talent from around the world.
Strewth! Films of Oz strand
Films: 52 Tuesdays, Fell, The Little Death, Mad Max 2, The Mule, Strictly Ballroom, Tender, Wake in Fright
What better way to psych yourself up for Tom Hardy in this summer's suitably bonkers Mad Max reboot (surprise film candidate? see below) than basking in the glory of Mad Max 2: Road Warrior... on IMAX! And Mad IMAX really is just the tip of the excellent Oz film strand, which boasts genuine lost classic Wake in Fright and several daring dramas that superbly capture the strength and personality of Australian filmmaking today.
The best things happen at Drygate
Films: The Goonies, Dazed and Confused, King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
We're not sure words can adequately convey how excited we are about all the action at the Drygate Brewery, guaranteed the coolest place to be seen at the festival. All three films above are programmed as part of the Nerdvana strand, with GFF promising provision of treasure maps for The Goonies, a gaming arcade for the pop up screening of King of Kong, and a dress-like Wooderson (or some lesser character) roller disco screening of Dazed and Confused with a themed food menu. We get older, the movies stay the same age.
Girls on film
Films: Ingrid Bergman retrospective, 52 Tuesdays, Clouds of Sils Maria, Dreamcatcher, The Falling, Girlhood, Still Alice
Up and down the programme, GFF is strong on female directors, leads and issues – in fact you really are spoilt for choice. While the Audience Award happens to be a 50-50 male-female spilt by chance rather than choice, this just exemplifies the programming diversity. Films that immediately caught our eye include 52 Tuesdays, Girlhood, Still Alice (featuring Oscar-nominated Julianne Moore) and the bonafide 'wow' cast of Clouds of Sils Maria, which stars Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Films: Small Faces, Wasted Time, William McIlvanney: Living with Words
Cinema historians will adore this exploration of a 100 years of movie-going in Glasgow, which includes a period in 1930 when the city had more cinemas per head than anywhere else in the world. The strand's centrepiece Jeely Jars and Seeing Stars is a brand new exhibition at the Mitchell Library bringing together memorabilia, archive footage and oral histories by filmlovers across generations.
Themed film nights
Films: Murder on the Orient Express, Strictly Ballroom, Working Girl
Now we're not saying we have a stockpile of power suits or sequined dance costumes just waiting for the right occasion, but we can't wait to breakout our sequins for the Strictly Ballroom at Kelvin-groove screening party, and our shoulder pads for Working Girl Power Suit Yourself karaoke night. Even more exciting might be the 'total cinema' experience of Murder on the Orient Express 1930s Murder Mystery Party at Trades Hall.
Internet Cat Video Festival
Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present to you: cats – the undisputed heavyweight champions of the internet, now on the big screen. Hosted by the Gallery of Modern Art (because where else!), the march to world domination continues for our feline companions with this Scottish premiere across two full days celebrating the rise of the planet of the cats.
GFF15 Surprise Film
Let the detective work begin. We've already started trawling through film guests for clues, checking the upcoming schedules of favoured distributors and indulging ourselves in wild speculation. Here's a quick breakdown of recent surprise films: Calvary (2014, E1), Spring Breakers (2013, Universal), Jeff Who Lives at Home (2012, Paramount), 13 Assassins (2011, Artificial Eye), Greenberg (2010, Universal). All of which leads us to conclude Star Wars The Force Awakens will be the surprise film... we can dream, can't we?
Stay tuned for more highlights
Glasgow Film Festival tickets go on sale Mon 26 Jan.