Anomalisa - 'A film that beautifully captures the clumsiness of human interactions' Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
The press launch of 2016’s Glasgow Film Festival took place in the retro-chic confines of the CitizenM building. Kirstin Innes took the mic to a bristling crowd of festival members, youth contributors, press, and a sprinkling of famous names.
This year's festival is host to over 300 events, with 173 films being screened, amongst them UK premiers such as opening and closing Galas Hail, Caesar! and Anomalisa, as well as a panoply of other features including Jean-Marc Vallee’s Demolition, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s Evolution, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Oscar Nominated Mustang and Ken Russell's’ bizarre cult classic Altered States.
Scott Talyor from the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau delivered a witty, pun-filled speech that ticked off the film-buff boxes - quoting The Big Sleep, The Godfather, and Forrest Gump - and informed the audience of the festival's growth over the last 12 years, from an attendance of 6,000 guests to 40,000, with a quarter of current guests being tourists, bringing in a diverse crowd of cinema lovers and industry across the world.
Subsequent guest speakers Natalie Usher of Screen at Creative Scotland and Stuart Turner of Events Scotland were enthusiastic about the introduction of Industry Events and Sustainable Events respectively, and remarked on the diversity and wide scope of the GFF.
Festival Co-Directors Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter went on to deliver information about the schedule of the festival, with Allison delivering a searing 23 minutes from announcement to the selling out of Opening Gala Hail Caesar! With accessibility being a key aspect of this years festival, the directors were happy to announce that the GFT’s retrospective series this year would be totally free. Focusing on Hollywood “Dream Teams” audiences will be invited to see films from such memorable couples as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, and Doris Day and Rock Hudson, featuring in classics like The Big Sleep and Pillow Talk.
In keeping with this, the Modern Families thread of the festival will be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Beauty And The Beast, and many other films, all either free or available via the Festival for a Fiver Scheme. Topping the run off is Disney’s 55th feature film, Zootropolis - a computer animated caper set in a world entirely populated by anthropomorphic animals.
Off the back of the success of Wild Tales, a talking point at last year’s festival, the programming team have turned their eye to Argentina as this years focus in Roads to the South a selection of films hailing from that country, including taut thrillers The Fire and The Clan, as well as an unflinching reworking of 1960’s classic La Patota and joyous documentary Living Stars.
As always, the festival is dedicated to screening unique events around the city of Glasgow itself, aiming to expand into unexpected venues with screenings of Sonja Hendrici and local hero Aidan Moffat’s film Where You're Meant To Be in the Barrowlands (the first feature film to be screened there) as well as Baz Luhrman’s giddy spectacle Romeo + Juliet at the Kelvingrove Gallery.