ALLISON Gardner is co-director of the Glasgow Film Festival with Allan Hunter. She takes us through some of the 330 events taking place in venues across the city from February 21 to March 4

Can you tell us a little about the Opening and Closing Gala films?

As ever we try to start the festival with a truly great film and hosting the UK premiere (six days after its world premiere at Berlin) of Wes Anderson’s stop motion animation film Isle of Dogs is a fitting start to our festival, which has grown in international stature over the years.

Our closing gala film is the world premiere of Felipe Bustos Sierra’s heart-warming documentary about a group of former East Kilbride factory workers who are reunited to tell the story of how they played their part in standing up to the military coup in Chile in 1974. The film is a testament that individuals can make a difference.

What are some of the main themes explored in this year’s GFF?

Lots of the films this year do feature people taking action, changing their lives and the importance of community and helping to make positive changes, themes which are embedded in the ethos of GFF.

There’s an unusually high proportion of films by female directors this year, can you tell us about some of them?

Seven out of 10 of our Audience Award films are directed by women. Essentially we always choose films by their quality but look deeper to find great films by women. One of my favourites is Pin Cushion, directed by Deborah Haywood. It’s a gothic fairytale with very dark undertones that tells the touching story of a mother-and-daughter relationship.

Who are some of the special guests you hope to be hosting?

This year we will welcome a host of guests, including director/actor Karen Gillan, actor Bill Pullman who, as well as doing a Q&A after The Ballad Of Lefty Brown, will participate in an In Person event discussing his extensive career. Director Ben Wheatley will also participate in an In Person event discussing his career and his upcoming film.

As well as screenings, there are some live performances too. Can you tell us a little about them?

Live performances are always a part of GFF and have a special, unique atmosphere. I’d urge people to come to these as they are often never-to-be-repeated fantastic events. I’m looking forward to Divas, Dancing and Despots: Assunta Spina Live. The Badwills have composed a new live score to the 1915 silent Italian film Assunta Spina, plus there will be dancing all set in the magnificent St Andrews in the Square.

Are there films that you are personally especially pleased to be screening?

We have so many films, with 51 countries represented. I’d urge people to take a chance and see films they know nothing about. I guarantee they will come upon great cinema. With 13 world and European premieres and 77 UK premieres there is a huge selection of films screening here in Glasgow for the first time and you will be spoiled for choice. Choose five films and make our festival your festival.

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