Actors Celia Imrie and George MacKay, and writer Caitlin Moran are among the star names lined up to appear at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival.
Mackay is expected to be at the premiere of The True History of the Kelly Gang, in which he takes on the lead role of Ned Kelly.
Moran will be there to support How To Build A Girl, a film adapted from her autobiographical novel.
And Imrie will at the world premiere of her latest film, Love Sarah.
The festival’s full programme features nine world premieres and 102 UK premieres.
Escape from Pretoria, starring Daniel Radcliffe, and Dirt Music, with Kelly Macdonald, will have their UK premieres.
Now in its 16th year, the Glasgow Film Festival is old enough to be established, but young enough to still feel like the rebellious teenager.
Audiences cross over from the earlier youth festival, and with roots in the city’s buzzing music culture, it has an informality and liveliness which make it the envy of older events.
That’s not to say that GFF doesn’t enjoy a red carpet premiere, or a famous guest or two – Richard Gere, Karen Gillan and Michael Palin have appeared here in the past – but they’re just an added bonus.
The focus has always been on new films, new filmmakers and new ideas, not in the words of co-director Allan Hunter “everyone queuing for the same blockbuster.”
There are plenty of firsts.
Among them is the eagerly anticipated screen adaptation of Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos – about a group of rowdy Scottish schoolgirls travelling from Fort William to Edinburgh for a choir competition. Our Ladies is directed by Michael Caton Jones and stars Marli Sui, who also features in the new Scott Graham film Run, which is set in Fraserburgh.
World premieres include Flint, the latest documentary from Montrose-based filmmaker Anthony Baxter and Pictures from Afghanistan, the latest film from Robbie Fraser, which follows the veteran photojournalist David Pratt.
Even as it’s grown, the festival has maintained a laidback approach to both filmmakers and audiences. Access to the opening night party has always been for everyone, whichever side of the screen they’re used to being on, and those used to a more pampered appearance seem to enjoy the change.
Although the festival has expanded into other cinemas, it has attempted to maintain that low key atmosphere. It’s for film fans, rather than fans of celebrity.
This year, they’ve moved the festival slightly later, and they’re not alone. The Baftas and Oscars have both moved forward, and Berlin Film Festival has moved later, creating a possible pathway for films from Sundance, to Berlin to Glasgow.
There’s also an established relationship with studios and distributors which makes it easier to persuade first time filmmakers to return with their second or third films.
The festival has always supported female filmmakers – but rather than simply discuss the issues preventing women being equally represented in the industry, they’ve chosen to lead by example. This year, for the first time, they’ll open and close with films directed by women: Proxima, which is directed by Alice Winocour and How to Build a Girl, which is directed by Coky Giedroyc.
And since the new dates means the festival draws to a close on International Women’s Day, every film on 8 March, will be directed by, written by or star a woman. It includes the final instalment of the groundbreaking 14-hour documentary Women Make Film, which explores the history of female talent behind the camera.
The Glasgow Film Festival will run from 26 February to 8 March.