I very much enjoyed the four days I spent at the recent Glasgow Film Festival. I also enjoyed learning about the rest of the festival events I couldn’t attend via the entertaining Twitter feeds from other festivalgoers.
Looking back over the screenings I selected it’s clear that most of the ones I chose were from established directors and/or prizewinners at other international festivals. That wasn’t necessarily my intention, more the result of my preference for foreign language titles showing at Glasgow Film Theatre on my four selected days. I really like GFT as a venue and I chose a hotel less than 5 minutes walk away. But there was so much more to this festival and popular strands included horror, special events, videogaming/’Nerdvana’, music films, Australian films, Glasgow’s film history, documentaries etc. some showing in interesting venues around the city. It’s usually a good sign when so much is going on and you find it difficult to choose. I’d seen the wonderful Girlhood (France 2014) at the London Film Festival but if I’d known some of the young actors in the film were going to attend the screening I would certainly have watched it again. Other Q&As and festival guests looked promising as well.
Overall my impression is of an audience-friendly festival with a strong selection of some of the best festival films of the last year plus new titles and a good mix of other screenings. In terms of festivals I know reasonably well, I would say that Glasgow’s fest is most similar to Leeds in the number of screenings and the spread of different strands in non-traditional venues. GFT’s central position is a big advantage in this comparison. I heard at least one person suggest that Glasgow is now preferable to Edinburgh as a festival venue. That sounds like fighting talk but since I’ve not attended Edinburgh I can’t comment.
I’ll certainly be trying to return to Glasgow in the next few years and I heartily recommend the festival to anyone looking for a boost during February/March.