That Friday feeling

GFF Diary days 9&10: Jessie Buckley, Claire Pijman, whisky and Frightfest

by Jennie Kermode

Jessie Buckley onstage after Wild Rose
Jessie Buckley onstage after Wild Rose Photo: Ingrid Mur

By day nine, some people’s Glasgow Film Festival experiences were coming to an end, but there was still a great deal going on. Daytime screenings included one for Argentinean thriller Rojo, which we recently discussed with director Benjamin Naishtat, whilst the evening included Complicity, a story about an illegal Chinese immigrant in Japan which drew a lot of praise from viewers, and LGBT history documentary Are You Proud? Multiple award nominee Eighth Grade proved an audience favourite whilst Alpha, The Right To Kill impressed and disturbed in equal measure.

Robby Muller: Living The Light Q&A with Claire Pijman
Robby Muller: Living The Light Q&A with Claire Pijman Photo: Pete Copeland

Also screening that night were Bhonsle, the story of an ordinary man caught up in a racist war, and musical epic The Song Of The Tree about a feud among nomads. The première of Wild Rose, which brought a tear to many an eye, was followed by a discussion with star Jessie Buckley, Nicole Taylor, James Harkness and Tom Harper, then a live performance at the Grand Ole Opry at which Jessie sang country and western songs in front of a painted backdrop of cacti and mountains. Meanwhile, some foolhardy film fans travelled to a warehouse where they played laser tag and had to flee from a xenomorph at a special 40th anniversary screening of Ridley Scott classic Alien.

The fist half of the ever-popular Glasgow Frightfest kicked off the next day with a screening of Level 16 – see what director Danishka Esterhazy told us about it – and also featuring The Dead Center, which we discussed with director Billy Senese, who was in attendance to talk to fans. The events was busy as always and the audience included May Miles Thomas, the BAFTA-winning director of Voyageuse, as well as Videoman director Kristian A Söderström and artist Graham Humphrey. Elsewhere there was an afternoon screening of Love Movie but unfortunately the planned talk with writer/director Emma Rose Simon and star Lana Cooper had to be postponed.

After a busy first week of the festival, supplies at some of the venues were beginning to run low, with popcorn and some kinds of alcohol in short supply, but sponsors Bruichladdich, Glenmorangie and Tomatin stepped in to ensure that there would be no shortage of whisky for the tasting session that followed a screening of Scotch – A Golden Dram. The evening also included screenings of Tyrel (about a young man called Tyler who discovers he’s the only black person at a party in the woods), Living The Light – Robby Müller (about the legendary cinematographer, whose credits include Paris, Texas) – with director Claire Pijman in attendance – Buy Me A Gun (which sees a girl growing up in a Mexican town where women are disappearing) and bizarre French comedy Keep An Eye Out! There was also a retrospective opportunity to enjoy Zombieland, though attendees had to take their own twinkies.

Christina Lindberg talks Black Circle
Christina Lindberg talks Black Circle Photo: Max Crawford

It’s tricky to report on everything that happened that night because we’re under strict instructions not to talk about the special screening of Fight Club that took place in Parkhouse Business Park that night, but we can probably get away with revealing that there was a chance to watch graffiti artists at work and a spectacular demonstration of stage fighting.

Frightfest also included a wildly popular screening of Agatha Christie meets The Evil Dead Thirties-style romp Here Comes Hell, with the full cast in attendance – read what director Jack McHenry and star Margaret Clunie told us about the mishaps and mayhem involved in its creation. Swedish exploitation star Christina Lindbergh attended for Black Circle, a warning to those of you who have forgotten the Eighties moral panic about the dangers of playing records backwards – and the evening came to a close with Giant Killer Ant, which does what it says on the tin.

With the final part of Frightfest and the final gala screenings yet to come, we have a lot more news to bring you, so watch this space for our final 2019 diary entry.

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