Glasgow Film Festival 2017 closes on a high note
Actor David Tennant and writer/director Robert Mullan attend premiere of Mad to be Normal, Photo: Glasgow Film Festival Photography
Record audiences and packed schedule helped boost local businesses
The 13th Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) closed on Sunday, with co-director Allan Hunter calling it the “most successful year yet.”
The GFF ran from 15-26th February and showcased more than 310 films and events, comprising nine international, 65 U.K., and 67 Scottish premieres at what is now one of the largest film festivals in Britain.
Festival goer, Eva Riordan said: “The GFF has been one of the highlights of the year for me. I’ve enjoyed the vast range of films and events on offer and I think festivals like this are crucial to enhancing Glasgow’s reputation as a cultural and cosmopolitan city.”
A number of screenings were credited for adding to the event’s success, including: the world premiere of Andrew Gallimore’s Benny, the story of local boxing hero Benny Lynch; Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, about a shoot-out between two gangs of criminals; Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper, a ghost story that takes place in the fashion underworld of Paris; and Hope Dickson Leach’s The Levelling, about a father and daughter forced to confront past grievances in the wake of family tragedy.
The appearance of high-profile stars such as David Tennant also heightened the GFF’s profile. Tennant closed the festival with the international premiere of his film, Mad to Be Normal, depicting the life of infamous Scottish psychiatrist, RD Laing.
Other notable festival guests included: Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh), Simon Farnaby (Horrible Histories), Ben Wheatley (High Rise), Michael Smiley (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Jack Reynor (What Richard Did), and Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side).
There were also several special events, such as the screening of science-fiction horror film The Thing on Snow’s Factor’s ski slope, treasure hunts to accompany a showing of The Princess Bride, and a unique screening of cult-classic The Lost Boys at M&D’s theme park, which stood in for the Santa Cruz amusement park that features prominently in the film.
Screenings were also shown at traditional film theatres across the city, as well as pop-up cinemas at SWG3, Òran Mór, and the Barras Art and Design.
Each year, GFF helps to increase tourism in Glasgow, providing a vital boost to local businesses. Organisers are undertaking the final count but record audience numbers are anticipated.
Umer Ashraf Malik, managing director of iCafe, said: “I welcome the GFF, as the extra tourism has increased our footfall and profits so it definitely benefits local businesses. We are already looking forward to GFF18 and plan to extend our opening times to align with later screenings to maximise our exposure.”
Reflecting on the success of the festival, event director Allan Hunter said: “It has been a real thrill to witness how enthusiastically audiences have embraced the entire programme. They have also warmly welcomed a bumper list of guests from Ben Wheatley and Jack Reynor to Macha Grenon, Quintin Aaron and our Audience Award winner Alankrita Shirvastava.”
Hunter added: “Their support provides us with endless encouragement as we look to the Festival’s future.”
Next year’s Glasgow Film Festival will run from 21st February to 4th March and the programme will be released in January 2018.