The ninth Glasgow Film Festival, supported by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, Event Scotland and Creative Scotland, ended tonight with the UK Premiere of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing attended by the cult icon and director himself. Boasting a programme of 368 screenings, panel discussions, live performances and special events, this has been the most ambitious Glasgow Film Festival programme to date, and garnered a record 39,106 total admissions – a 12% increase on 2012 figures.
Allison Gardner, Co-Director of Glasgow Film Festival, said, ‘This Festival is all about delivering magical events for our audience and from Jane Birkin on the eve of the Festival to Joss Whedon at the Closing Gala, it has been filled with unforgettable moments. I would just like to say a huge thanks to all of our partners and to our wonderful audiences who help make the Festival so special.’
From the start of Glasgow Youth Film Festival on Sunday 3 February to tonight’s Closing Gala, over 300 filmmakers, actors, writers, producers, musicians, performers and distributors visited the city. The guests ranged from actors including Gemma Arterton, James D’Arcy, Saoirse Ronan, James Cosmo, Eli Roth and David Hayman; directors, including Neil Jordan, Rob Savage, Regis Roinsard, Annie Griffin and Yasmin Fedda. Jane Birkin played the ‘avant-premiere’ of the Festival on Tuesday 29 January; Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, brought the house down when he selected ‘hilariously bad’ John Carpenter film The Ghosts of Mars as his Geek Night Surprise, godfather of Detriot techno Jeff Mills headlined the day-long Sonic Cineplex event at The Arches, and actor John C Reilly stopped by for lunch with the 15–18-year-old Glasgow Youth Film Festival programming team after they managed to make the Scottish Premiere of Wreck-It Ralph 3D their Opening Gala.
The Festival also made a star of Glasgow, using 27 venues across the city to host screenings and special events. Both Glasgow Cathedral and Glasgow Subway were turned into cinemas for the first time ever, for silent masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc with live soprano/organ soundtrack, and a screening of cult underground classic The Warriors, respectively. The Tall Ship hosted appropriately water-themed films Jaws, Dead Calm, Peter Pan and Whisky Galore; over 200 people packed into the elegant Grand Central Hotel ballroom for Entre chien et loup, a glitzy, surreal live-art event showcasing the city’s best artist filmmakers. The film Girl Walk //All Day was even projected onto the River Clyde Embankment as Glasgow Youth Film Festival brought in DJs and teams of dancers to recreate some of the film’s scenes live.
New programming strands this year included Game Cats Go Miaow!, curated by comedian Robert Florence, which celebrated the relationship between cinema and computer gaming, Top of the World Ma!, a retrospective of James Cagney’s movies, and Buena Onda: New Brazilian Cinema, presented in association with Boteco Do Brasil. Kapow!, the strand curated by comic writer Mark Millar, this year expanded out to look at cult programming and television: cast and crew panel discussions celebrating 50 Years of Doctor Who were among the first to sell out, while fans queued from 6.30am for a ticket to a Game of Thrones screening and Q&A with actor Rory McCann.
Glasgow Short Film Festival also enjoyed a phenomenally successful year; with the hotly-tipped Enraged Pigs taking the International Award and Pouters, by Glasgow-based filmmaker Paul Fegan, winning the Scottish Award, which is sponsored by Mother India.
Allan Hunter, Co-Director of Glasgow Film Festival, said: ‘We are so thrilled and humbled that audiences responded in such record-breaking numbers to our most ambitious programme ever. Glasgow Film Festival is the result of a huge team effort in which every single person plays a vital role. We cherish them all and look forward to working with partners old and new as we prepare to celebrate our tenth anniversary in 2014.’