And action: Glasgow Film Festival up and running

21 February 2019

Photograph: Calam Pengilly

The Glasgow Film Festival got underway last night for the 15th edition of its “celebration of cinema.”

The public turned out in force to watch the UK premiere of Mid90s, actor-turned-director Jonah Hill’s feature directorial debut. All three auditoria sold out: a combined total of 562 seats.

Guests arrived at the GFT on Rose Street just before 7pm. Among those on the red carpet were radio DJ Edith Bowman, actor Sean Biggerstaff and Rachel Jackson, who stars in Beats, the closing film at this year’s festival.

Allison Gardner, one of the festival directors said: “I’d really encourage people to come and take a chance and see something outwith their comfort zone, really try that, it’s good for your soul.”

Gardner said she was not a fan of the spotlight and deflected praise onto the 150 or so volunteers that “help the festival run smoothly.”

From left to right: Allan Hunter, Edith Bowman and Allison Gardner. Photograph: Calam Pengilly

Jeremy Crichton, 25, a volunteer with the festival in the past three years offered his services in the hope that it would lead to a career in the industry, saying that for him it was “baby steps in the vague direction of the elusive ‘career.’ ”

He said: “It’s a small enough festival that you feel like a genuine part of it, a reason that it happens at all. I don’t know if anyone makes money from it or if they barely cover their costs with funding and sponsorship and tickets and so on. But it doesn’t feel like this big corporate thing.”

He added: “I think Glasgow Film just really care about their audience and giving them a fantastic range of new films and film experiences.”

Volunteers have been extremely important to the success of Glasgow’s visitor economy. Glasgow Life, a partner of the festival, is responsible for managing such attractions as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Museum and over 30 community libraries among others. The charitable organisation recorded more than 18 million visitors to its venues, events and festivals last year. Across their venues they hire 2,600 members of staff and 2,200 volunteers.

The Glasgow Film Festival operates as part of Glasgow Film, a not-for-profit educational charity. Gardner said: “For me that is an important difference, any money that we earn over and above our balance budget goes back into new projectors, new sound systems, better seats or developing cinema three. There’s no shareholders and for me that’s a huge thing.”

The 2019 Glasgow Film Festival runs from 20 February-3 March and features seven world premieres, 102 UK premieres and 337 individual screenings, talks and events.

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