Glasgow Short Film Festival hosts Vertical Cinema's first Scottish outing

Glasgow Short Film Festival hosts Vertical Cinema's first Scottish outing

Dutch creators Sonic Acts turns film on its head, by using 35mm vertically

Ever wondered why all the films you watch are in landscape? Eddie Harrison chats to the founder of Vertical Cinema, an experimental film format that receives its Scottish premier at this year’s Glasgow Short Film Festival

Glasgow’s Short Film Festival moves to a new, post-Glasgow Film Festival slot in 2015, with a high-end selection of short film screenings and events in mid-March. One of the most intriguing is Vertical Cinema (Wed 11 Mar), in which Glasgow’s Briggait will be pressed into service to screen a series of ten specially commissioned works by experimental filmmakers, projected on 35mm celluloid with a custom-built projector in vertical cinemascope.

‘This is a collaboration with five Austrian and five Dutch film-makers, each making their own custom-made experimental film or animation,’ says Vertical Cinema founder Lucas van Der Velden, who devised the show with Dutch creators Sonic Acts. ‘We wanted to look into different ways of approaching this set up, so we decided to use 35mm, but filming vertically. Some of the films were created on digital, some using celluloid, and one has imagery created by laser projection. The overall effect is to challenge the audience to think about how we experience the world through cinema.’

When Cinemascope and Panavision widened the cinema frame in the 50s and 60s, one critic described the widescreen format as ideal for ‘funerals and snakes’. While we now expect cinema films and television broadcasts to be wide rather than square, Vertical Cinema aims to turn such expectations on their heads.

‘We are stuck in an existing infrastructure in the West where all of our (commercial film) screenings are digitised, so there’s no room for experimenting with the technology itself,’ says van Der Velden. ‘What we’re doing is we’re mixing analogue technology with new digital projection.’ ‘Things look different when viewed this way; for example, one filmmaker filmed a building from a distance using time-lapse, and you’re way more aware of the city, and the sky, and how over 24 hours the sky gets dark and light again. It’s a daily phenomenon, captured in a way that you’ve never seen before.’

‘It’s great for us to have Vertical Cinema’s Scottish premiere,’ says Glasgow Short Film Festival programmer and director Matt Lloyd. ‘Moving to March means that we can fill the void when the Glasgow Film Festival finishes in February, attracting more industry figures and talent-spotters, as well as our growing audience. It’s one of a number of exciting events we have, but Vertical Cinema is a real one-off and we’re delighted to welcome them to the city.’

Vertical Cinema takes place at the Briggait, Glasgow, Wed 11 Mar. For more details, see

More highlights from Glasgow Short Film Festival 2015

Festival director Matt Lloyd tells us what he's looking forward to.

'Jennifer Reeder is an independent film-maker from Chicago, whose latest film A Million Miles Away premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. We have the UK premiere of that, as well as some older works which demonstrate the mixture of dreamlike visual, occasional kitsch, and genuine emotion in her work; it’s somewhere between Miranda July and David Lynch.'
CCA, Thu 12 & Sun 15 Mar

'There’s also a Daniel Wolfe masterclass; his feature-film debut Catch Me Daddy is screening at GFF, and he’s very much an in-demand director for people like Plan B, Chase and Status, The Shoes, and he did Paulo Nutini’s ‘Iron Sky’ promo. He’s a real stickler for detail in his films.'
CCA, Fri 13 Mar

'Let Glasgow Flourish features two programmes of archive films about the city’s regeneration; we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of Clyde film, in which unemployed people in 1985 made quietly angry films about how they felt sidelined by the march of progress.'
CCA, Sat 14 & Sun 15 Mar

'A Wall is a Screen is a guerilla mobile screening, which is to say, it’s a walking tour organised by a Hamburg team. The free event takes audiences out on to the streets to see short films projected on walls in a location-specific style.'
Starts at CCA, Sat 14 Mar

'Strange Electricity; Finnish ultra-minimalist techno label Sähkö’s in-house documentary, screening on its 20th anniversary, is followed by live sets from Jimi Tenor and Golden Teacher, and a DJ-set from JD Twitch. The screening is sold out, but there are still tickets for the after-party.'
The Glue Factory, Sat 14 Mar

Glasgow Short Film Festival runs from Wed 11–Sun 15 Mar.

Glasgow Short Film Festival

The largest competitive short film festival in Scotland celebrates diverse forms of cinematic expression that transgress the boundaries of conventional narrative film. The online 2021 festival will feature competitions and many special programmes, alongside some new specially curated programmes, filmmaker interviews and…

Vertical Cinema

A mind-blowing new way of looking at film – literally. Vertical Cinema is ten specially-commissioned pieces which are projected (vertically, of course) with a custom-built projector in vertical cinemascope. As for what to expect from the films – a mix of abstract cinema, experiments, found footage and live laser action.