Grab the popcorn as Glasgow Film Festival opens next week

Lights, camera, action... Directors Allan Hunter and Allison Gardner launch the festival.
Lights, camera, action... Directors Allan Hunter and Allison Gardner launch the festival.

A host of stars from the silver screen will descend on the city next week for the 15th annual Glasgow Film Festival.

Sir Michael Palin, Carol Morley, Matt Bomer, Carlos Acosta, Alice Lowe, Simon Amstell and legendary music video director Lance Bangs will attend the celebration of cinema will host 337 individual screenings, talks and events, showcasing seven world premieres, 102 UK premieres and 49 Scottish premieres from 54 countries.

The festival is hosting the first big screen outings of seven new features.

Many were made right here in Scotland and look set to follow in the success of last year’s world premiere closing gala, the smash-hit BAFTA-winning Scottish documentary Nae Pasaran.

World premieres from home-grown talents include BAFTA-winning director Matt Pinder’s new feature documentary Harry Birrell: Films of Love and War, which plunders the treasure trove archives of Scottish amateur filmmaker Harry Birrell to present one man’s view of the 20th century; debut feature director Marilyn Edmond’s Connect, an ambitious attempt to confront the issue of suicide amongst young men in Scotland; Do No Harm is director Stephen Bennett’s compelling exploration of the legacy of Scottish-born psychiatrist Dr Ewen Cameron and the experiments that contributed to systems of modern-day torture across the globe.

Returning crowd favourite FrightFest will also offer up two spine-tingling world premieres, with Automata, a bold and original work from Scottish auteur Lawrie Brewster and ‘Downton Abbey meets The Evil Dead’ in Jack McHenry’s pitch-perfect Here Comes Hell!

There is also International and European Premieres to enjoy.

Festival favourite Karen Gillan delivers another star turn in the international premiere of wrenching US drama All Creatures Here Below; director Andrew Peat returns to Scotland for the European premiere of Scotch – The Golden Dram, a handsomely crafted documentary charting the story of the Scottish whisky industry through its most famous distillers and ardent enthusiasts; The Science of Ghosts from director Niall McCann, is an imaginative and humorous riff on the musical biopic featuring Irish singer-songwriter Adrian Crowley, whilst theatre director Simon Sharkey will introduce Run Free, the story of his working in a ghetto in Kingston, Jamaica, teaching young boys parkour and physical theatre over a period of four years for the National Theatre of Scotland, Manifesto Jamaica and the British Council.

A total of 49 must-see films make their Scottish debut at this year’s festival.

Scottish premieres include US stand-up comedian Bo Burnham’s eagerly awaited directorial debut, Eighth Grade; fellow comic Simon Amstell’s feature directorial debut, the fresh and endearing rom-com Benjamin; Only You, charting a beautiful romance that begins on Hogmanay on the streets of Glasgow; Papi Chulo, the new feature from John Butler that sees a heartbroken weatherman (played by Magic Mike star Matt Bomer) strike up a friendship with an elderly Mexican labourer; Prophecy, an unprecedented insight into the mind of acclaimed Scottish artist Peter Howson as he works on his latest masterpiece; and the astonishing immersive documentary about the raw power of water, Aquarela (supported by Creative Scotland), screened on Dolby Atmos at Cineworld for full, jaw-dropping effect.

Allison Gardner, Glasgow Film Festival co-director, said: “Over the years at GFF we have excelled with our Special Events and this year is no exception.

“The Blair Witch Project at a Secret Location is sure to scare and thrill and don’t forget ‘The first rule about fight club is: you do not talk about fight club’ so you’ll just have to get along and participate...

“As ever our Sound & Vision strand is filled with music of all types from Classic to Jazz and a brilliant live event hosted by Lost Map records featuring Monoganon and Free Love performing to footage of Eigg filmed by Slow Tree.

“This heady strand is topped off with films such as Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell starring Elisabeth Moss as a self-destructive rock star and Brady Corbett’s electric Vox Lux. This year our Audience Award – GFF’s only award – features six (out of 10) films that are directed by women with strong and vibrant films telling a variety of stories.”

Allan Hunter, Glasgow Film Festival co-director, said: “The festival is peppered with exciting discoveries from around the world that range from action-packed Indian crowd-pleaser The Man Who Feels No Pain to elegant Vietnamese period piece

“The Third Wife, knockout coming of age tale Float Like a Butterfly from Ireland and the gorgeous Kyrgyzstan musical The Song of the Tree.

“I can’t wait for audiences to delight in Louis Garrel’s romantic A Faithful Man, embrace Patrick Wang’s Altman-esque epic A Bread Factory and shudder at The Vanishing with Peter Mullan and Gerard Butler.

“The cherry on the cake is our tribute to the great Elaine May that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.”

To view the full programme and for more information, visit