This year's Glasgow Film Festival again confirmed that one of the best cities in the UK has one of the best film festivals. Now in its 11th year, the festival drew to a close on Sunday evening with the UK premiere of Ruben Östlund's Cannes-winning Force Majeure. It ended 12 days of screenings, presentations and events that have showcased some of the most exciting new films and some old classics too.
Kicking off on 18 February this year's programme featured 174 events, including 33 UK Premieres, 11 World Premieres, 10 European Premieres, 2 International Premieres and 65 Scottish Premieres. Special cinematic events were held in a different building every night of the festival, celebrating both Glasgow's architecture and its love of cinema, including a themed roller disco and screening of Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused.
Noah Baumbach's While We're Young was the opening night gala and after Frances Ha, Baumbach's profile has never been higher, so to screen the UK premiere of his latest film was a real coup. Other films screened in the opening week included Damián Szifron's blazing, Oscar nominated Wild Tales, Celine Sciamma's Girlhood and Oliver Assayas' Clouds Of Sils Maria, for which Kristen Stewart recently became the first American actress to win a César award. David Robert Mitchell was in attendance for a Q&A after a screening of his brilliantly unsettling horror, It Follows.
Frightfest dominated the final weekend, giving a platform for some of the most exciting new genre films, including the highly acclaimed Iranian vampire film, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. However, if like me, you're of a more sensitive disposition and don't have the stomach for horror, then there was still plenty on offer, including cult classics, The Goonies and King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters.
For the first time in the festival's history, it ran an Audience Award, voted for by the festival attendees and featuring 10 films made by first or second-time directors in contention. Over 1,100 votes were cast for the award, and the eventual winner was Tom Browne's Radiator. Festival director Allan Hunter said: "I only hope distributors will take encouragement from the public passion for Radiator and the Audience Award and bring the film to the wider audience it clearly deserves."
A packed schedule all added up to the festival seeing over 40,000 admissions for the second year in succession, despite fielding 23 fewer events this year, with a 7% increase in admissions per event. Force Majeure was a worthy closer, with a sold-out audience alternately squirming in their seats and struggling to contain their laughter. It's a brilliantly observed story of a family on a skiing holiday, whose unity is rocked by a shocking event. Beautifully composed and acted, it's out in April and not to be missed, much like next year's Glasgow Film Festival.