See Glasgow Differently: Glasgow Film Festival celebrates the Cinema City in 2015.

regal_opening_colour_smallIn the 1930s, Glasgow was known as the ‘Cinema City’, as it had the highest ratio of cinemas per head of population anywhere in the world. Back courts behind tenements, former ice-skating rinks and warehouses were converted into picture houses; beautiful, purpose-built cinemas still grace the city’s architecture to this day, although often their glory days are long behind them. Nowadays, the Cinema City is still hooked on the silver screen, but in a slightly different way: Glasgow’s beautiful Georgian buildings, bridges and hills have doubled up as scenery in Hollywood films like World War Z, Cloud Atlas, House of Mirth and Fast & Furious 6; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie stopped off in the city while filming and Scarlett Johansson practically took up residence here during the shooting of Under The Skin. 

In 2015, Glasgow Film Festival will celebrate Glasgow’s ongoing love affair with the movies, both on and off-screen, with a new programme strand, Cinema City. The festival is also delighted to announce a new partnership with award-winning travel specialists McKinlay Kidd, offering a special holiday experience as part of the Cinema City strand. To complement the festival programme, McKinlay Kidd will be launching the new See Glasgow Differently holiday, which will provide visitors with an opportunity to see the city through a cinematic lens. The specially-designed travel experience will be tailored for visitors to take in the rich cinematic history behind Scotland’s biggest city, from the locations of those modern-day Hollywood blockbusters to the way cinema culture has impacted on Glasgow’s architecture.

Special events will run throughout the festival programme, taking in everything from city tours, ceilidh dancing, and of course film screenings. A specially-curated exhibition, Jeely Jars and Seeing Stars, at the city’s stunning Mitchell Library, collects together cinema-going memories spanning eighty years from Glaswegians aged 19 to 93; The world-famous O2 ABC venue is transformed for a one-night sonic cinema experience for A Night At The Regal, celebrating its former life as the ABC Regal, one of the city’s oldest silver screens. Screenings in the programme include world premieres of David Hayman Jr’s directorial feature debut, gritty Glasgow drama Wasted Time, and William McIlvanney: Writer Resurrected, a documentary following one of Glasgow’s best-loved authors, with the great man himself in attendance. We’ll also be reuniting the cast and crew of the city-set drama Small Faces for a twentieth anniversary screening and discussion. Meanwhile, audiences can discover both the city’s hidden cinemas and its secret shooting locations on a series of walking tours.


See Glasgow Differently Holiday

Throughout the year by special arrangement.

This tailor-made holiday will help festival-goers get under the skin of Cinema City and discover some of its hidden cinematic gems. From historical cinema architecture to iconic film locations to the secret inspiration behind some of the great cinematic stories, as well as access to some exclusive events during the Glasgow Film Festival, this unique holiday experience will prove why Glasgow truly is the Cinema City.

From £379 per person, based on two sharing a double/ twin room for three nights bed & breakfast in a five star city centre hotel, including a half day privately-guided tour, afternoon tea and tickets for a film at GFT (or Glasgow Film Festival if in season), plus McKinlay Kidd’s detailed recommendations on how to see Glasgow differently, tailored to specific interests.

For more information visit or call 0844 873 6110

GFF_JeelyJars_4sheet_smallJeely Jars and Seeing Stars: Glasgow’s love affair with the movies

Thu 12 Feb – Sat 28 Feb, Mitchell Library Glasgow Room, Free

The centrepiece of this year’s Cinema City strand, this brand-new multimedia exhibition will run throughout the festival in the iconic Mitchell Library, one of the city’s treasured architectural marvels. Through eighty years of audience memories, archive footage and photographs, cinematic artifacts, movie memorabilia, first-hand stories, and free talks, Glasgow Film celebrates more than a century of cinema going history in the city. For full details on all the events visit

Early Cinema Talk

Sat 21 Feb, Mitchell Library (The Blythswood Room), 2pm

A talk from Glasgow University’s Early Cinema Group looking at the geographies of the cinema trade

The Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN

Exploring Glasgow’s Cinema History

Wed 25 Feb, Mitchell Library, 2.30pm. Free

Join the Mitchell’s librarians and archivists to explore some of our fascinating and unique material about Glasgow, its cinemas and its love of film. View samples of cinema plans, licensing records, photographs, ephemera, reviews and listings to help build a picture of Glasgow’s cinema history.

Places are limited. To book, please call 0141 287 2999 or ask at the Granville St Reception desk.

The Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN

Glasgow Film Festival

Cinema-going in Glasgow through the ages

Thu 19 Feb, 6.30pm, CCA, Free

A panel event exploring ordinary people’s memories of Glasgow’s rich cinematic history. Local historians and architects gather for this imaginative and informative discussion, featuring archive imagery and stories that celebrate cinema going in the city, as well as some of the most famous cinema buildings from both past and present.

CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD

Glasgow Film Festival


A Night at the Regal: Lost Map, Joe McAlinden, British Sea Power

Thu 19 Feb, 6.30pm (doors), O2 ABC

This year, GFF takes over the O2 ABC (formerly the ABC Regal) for a night of live sonic cinema events paying tribute to both the venue’s cinematic history and its musical present, co-curated with Lost Map Records (whose artists Monoganon and eagleowl will present a series of innovative compositions to film and video). The night will also feature EDIT, a collaboration between musician Joe McAlinden and artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (20,000 Days on Earth). Incorporating music and film, EDIT offers a journey of discovery that seeks out an emotional truth in this new work and includes a live vocal performance by McAlinden. Headlining the event are pioneers of esoteric post-rock soundscapes British Sea Power, who will perform their score by Penny Woolcock’s evocative feature-length archive film From the Sea to the Land Beyond. Charting a century of the British coastline through unique footage of factories, furnaces, piers, seaports and remote Scottish isles, this will be the first time the score has been performed in Scotland.

02 ABC, 300 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G2 3JA

 Glasgow Film Festival

cinema city ceilidh anelCinema, City, Ceilidh!

Sat 21 Feb (19.00), St Andrews in the Square

GFT, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow G3 6RB

Showcasing archival footage illustrating the diverse and beautiful cinemas, stars, and people within Glasgow, our Cinema City Ceilidh will be a freewheeling night of singing and dancing. A celebratory party to mark the diversity of Glasgow’s film-loving past.

1 St Andrews in the Square, Trongate

Glasgow Film Festival

William-McIlvanney-012_sml_film_panelWilliam McIlvanney: Living With Words (World Premiere)

Mon 23 Feb, 6.30pm,

GFT, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow G3 6RB

Universally revered as the ‘Godfather of Tartan Noir’, William McIlvanney is one of the most recognisable names in Scottish literature. The influence of his hard-bitten Glasgow detective Laidlaw can be seen in gritty Scottish dramas from Rebus to Taggart. His landmark Laidlaw novels have now returned to print and earned him a new generation of admirers, whilst Docherty was recently voted one of the top ten Scottish novels of all time. Living With Words, produced by Gill Parry, offers an intimate portrait of one of Glasgow’s best-loved authors in his own words and those of family and colleagues, including his brother, celebrated sports writer Hugh McIlvanney. A welcome profile of a writer whose passionate sense of Scotland and socialist ideals have made him inspirational. McIlvanney himself, along with other well-known Glasgow faces, will be present at the world premiere screening and post-film discussion.

Glasgow Film Festival

Cinema City Walking Tours

Thu 26 Feb (18.30), Glasgow West End & Sat 28 Feb (14.00), Glasgow City Centre,

Cinema historians Gordon Barr and Gary Painter of Scottish Cinemas takes audiences on a two-hour guided walk, telling the story of the full range of Glasgow’s unique and architecturally diverse cinema history, from converted warehouses to the finest thirties art deco super-cinemas, highlighting cinemas that were, cinemas that are, and cinemas that might have been.  Limited places must be booked in advance by emailing (starting point will be emailed to you nearer the time).

small facesSmall Faces

Sun 1 Mar, 2.10pm, GFT

A vivid coming-of-age classic, Gillies MacKinnon’s award-winning account of growing up in 1960s Glasgow is one of Scotland’s most celebrated films. Co-written by Gillies and his brother Billy, it focuses on feisty teenager Lex (Iain Robertson) as he finds himself drawn deeper into the city’s dangerous gangland culture by his thuggish older brother Bobby (J S Duffy) and ruthless gang leader ‘mental’ Malky (Kevin McKidd). We’re set to welcome members of the cast and crew for this extra special 20th anniversary screening of a true Scottish classic.

Director: Gillies MacKinnon. Cast: Iain Robertson, Kevin McKidd, Joseph McFadden, JS Duffy, Laura Fraser, Colin McCredie, Ian McElhinney

GFT, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow G3 6RB

Glasgow Film Festival

wasted time_panelWasted Time (World Premiere)

Sat 28 Feb, 2.00pm, GFT

Accused of a crime he did not commit, Tommy decides to take the blame and serve a sentence at Glasgow’s Barlinnie prison, presuming his family will be looked after. However he finds himself at the mercy of prison life whilst his family are left to fend for themselves. When he is finally released he is forced to pick up the pieces of his life and face the reality of his situation. A wrenching story about how spending time in prison affects those both inside and outside of the walls, this unique production mixed professional and non-professional actors, some of who were serving time and have used acting as a road to rehabilitation.

Directors: David Hayman Jr, Moe Abutoq. Cast: Robert Johnstone, Brian McCardie, David Hayman

GFT, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow G3 6RB

Glasgow Film Festival

Glasgore! Horror/Cult Cinema Discussion Group GFT
Jewish Film Club Carl Lutz: The Forgotten Hero CCA Sun 18 January 2015

This section: Cinema, Glasgow Film Festival 2015

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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