A CINEMATIC revival for one of Glasgow’s oldest picture houses, the transformation of an art gallery into a glittering ballroom dance hall and a special Buster Keaton tribute led by comic Paul Merton are among highlights of the city’s annual film festival next year.
Organisers have lifted the lid on the first events in the tenth anniversary programme for an event which now attracts an audience of more than 40,000 and deploys venues across the city.
The line-up for the festival – which has a following for its “pop-up” screenings in unusual places – will also include a two-day celebration of cat videos and the revival of a silent horror classic with a new soundtrack.
Kelvingrove, Glasgow’s most famous gallery, will be renamed “Kelvin-groove” for a special screening of Baz Luhrmann’s debut hit Strictly Ballroom.
The event will feature an hour of expert dance demonstrations and audience participation before the cult classic is screened in the attraction’s “great hall” as part of a strand of Australian cinema at the 2015 festival.
Allison Gardner, the festival’s co-director, told The Scotsman: “Kelvingrove has a real majesty about it. We used it last year for a screening of Young Frankenstein which was very well received. We just thought of that beautiful big floor with dancers on it and it just felt right for Strictly Ballroom.
“People do seem to love our pop-up events, which we’ve been doing pretty much since the festival started.
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“We’re blessed in Glasgow as we’ve so many really good venues to use and it’s part of the fun of the festival for me. I’m a great believer that we’re there to enjoy ourselves – cinema doesn’t have to be serious.”
Another of the city’s leading attractions, the Gallery of Modern Art, will host the Cat Video Festival, a free event showcasing quirky online footage of cats, with archive footage dating back to 1901.
Paul Merton of BBC1’s Have I Got News For You? will join forces with award-winning silent film pianist Neil Brand for a celebration of Keaton, one of Merton’s biggest comedic inspirations since he saw his masterpiece The General at the age of 13. For the first time, the festival will use the former ABC cinema on Sauchiehall Street, which has a movie-going heritage stretching back to 1896, when it hosted Scotland’s first public film screening.
Brighton indie rock band British Sea Power will provide a live soundtrack to the documentary film From The Sea To The Land Beyond, which charts 100 years of life on the UK’s coastline, while new Scottish bands Monoganon and Eagleowl will also perform as part of a night celebrating the venue’s film and music heritage.
The gothic surroundings of Pollokshaws Burgh Hall, on the city’s south side, will host the premiere of a new organ soundtrack to the 1928 French version of classic horror story Fall of the House of Usher, which has been created by the Irish composer Irene Buckley.
Allan Hunter, the event’s other co-director, said: “This is only the tip of the iceberg – we’re going to announce a different pop-up event for every night of the festival at our programme launch in January.
“The programming team have really let their imaginations run riot this year, so we think audiences will be pretty excited by what’s in store.”
Tickets for a number of special events at the festival, which runs from 18 February- 1 March, are on sale now.
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