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Glasgow may be Scotland’s second city but the Glasgow Film Festival, now in its eleventh year, is second to none. Nobody knows how to party like the Scots, and supported by the British Film Institute and Film Forever, the Glaswegians certainly aren’t letting the side down with this year’s festival.
Kicking off proceedings at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Wednesday night is the UK premiere of the Coen Brother’s freewheeling, star studded, comic spectacular Hail Caesar! starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum.
Set in the 1950s and the last days of the Hollywood Studio System, when actors were Gods and there was always someone around to pick up the pieces and clean up their messes, Hail Caesar! is a fictional account of real life studio ‘fixer’ Eddie Mannix (played by Josh Brolin). Roman epic Hail Caesar is set to be Capitol Pictures’ biggest release of the year, but when star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) goes missing and the studio receives a ransom demand of $1,000,000, Eddie Mannix begins to wonder if he’s finally found a problem he can’t fix.
With such a wide and varied programme, it is difficult to pick out the highlights of this year’s festival. Spread out across the city, and taking on all kinds of venues, from the prestigious Glasgow Film Theatre to a big screen in the back of a van, the Glasgow Film Festival encompasses cinema in all its forms, both wonderful and weird. Split up into 16 different strands, or themes, including: Window on the World, showcasing the best in world cinema; Local Heroes, championing the cause for home grown British filmmaking talent; Nerdvana, celebrating comics, cult films and all things geek; the Glasgow Film Festival really does have something for everyone.
There is a chance for everyone to get involved with the Audience Award. Introduced last year, the Audience Award gives viewers the chance to vote for their favourite from a shortlist of films. Last year’s winner Radiator, directed by Tom Browne, went on to secure national distribution following the festival. Voting slips are provided at all eligible screenings and the winner will be announced at the closing gala on 28th February.
Along with over 100 films being screened over the 12 day festival, there are also a number of special events and talks focusing on the industry, behind the scenes and much more, a number of which are free.
Closing the festival on Sunday 28th February at the Glasgow Film Theatre, will be the UK premiere of stop-motion drama Anomalisa, a haunting tale of the constant desire for human companionship and the fleeting nature of happiness, directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, based on Kaufman’s 2005 play of the same name. With voices provided by David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan, Anomalisa follows the story of self-help guru Michael Stone (Thewlis) as he travels to Ohio to promote his latest book. Distant and withdrawn, Michael perceives everyone he sees as being exactly the same, even his wife and child, until he meets a unique young woman named Lisa Hesselman (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Michael declares her to be an anomaly and names her Anamolisa.
So, whether you like big name productions, rare gems, home grown treasures, or anything else to do with film, the Glasgow Film Festival seems like it has something for everyone.
Further information, including full programme listings and ticket sales can be found here (x)