FOR the first time since it began in 2005, films directed by women will open and close the Glasgow Film Festival.

Alice Winocour’s new space drama Proxima and How To Build A Girl, written by Caitlin Moran and directed by Coky Giedroyc, will be shown in the UK for the first time at the 16th festival, which will announce its full programme at the end of January.

Actress Eva Green gives a “career-best performance” as an astronaut torn between her duties preparing for a mission aboard International Space Station and the needs of her young daughter in Proxima, which opens the festival in a gala presentation on February 26.

The film, which also stars Matt Dillon and acclaimed German actress Sandra Huller, is screenwriter-director Winocour’s first since winning the Cesar Award in 2015 for her work on Deniz Gamze Erguven’s Mustang, which depicted five orphaned sisters growing up in a remote Turkish village.

Shot in real training facilities at the European Space Agency, Promixa will especially resonate with parents, says Glasgow Film Festival co-director Allan Hunter.

“We are delighted to be opening and closing the 2020 Glasgow Film Festival with work from hugely-talented female directors,” Hunter says. “What better way to start that celebration than opening the festival with the UK premiere of Proxima, the latest film from writer/director Alice Winocour.

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“Produced by Isabelle Madelaine and Emilie Tisne, it features a career-best performance from Eva Green as an astronaut undertaking the gruelling preparations for a year-long mission aboard the International Space Station. The growing tensions between her professional ambitions and personal responsibilities will strike an emotional chord with every parent.”

Tickets for Promixa go on sale on Monday from midday, as do those for How To Build A Girl, which closes the festival on March 8.

Based on Moran’s semi-autobiographical bestseller of the same name, How To Build A Girl sees Booksmart star Beanie Feldstein shine as Johanna Morrigan, a Wolverhampton teenager who reinvents herself in London as a savagely successful rock journalist and aspiring “lady sex-pirate”.

Coky Giedroyc directs a cast that includes Game Of Thrones actor Alfie Allen, Paddy Considine, Chris O’Dowd and Emma Thompson.

The coming-of-age comedy was adapted for the screen by Moran and John Niven, the Scot behind Kill Your Friends, a black comedy also set amid the excitement and big bucks of 1990s Britpop.

“I wanted to set it in the early 1990s because that was the last time working-class culture was supreme,” Moran told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis back when How To Build A Girl was first published in 2014.

Moran continued: “I wanted to write about a girl who followed her will, her desire, who learned from her mistakes and wanted to be noble and good rather than pretty – and had a really good time.”

“This year we close the festival on International Women’s Day and we are delighted to host the UK premiere of How To Build A Girl, based on Caitlin Moran’s cherished, semi-autobiographical bestseller,” says GFF co-director Allison Gardner.

“The film is a hilarious and moving tale of Wolverhampton teenager, Johanna, brilliantly played by Beanie Feldstein, making her way in the world. Along the way she takes life lessons from her heroes Sigmund Freud, Sylvia Plath, Julie Andrews and David Bowie, to try to navigate the unfairness of the world. I loved every minute of it.”

Moran says she’s looking forward to the gala screening in Glasgow.

“It is the greatest thrill of my life to finally unleash Beanie Feldstein as the noble, swashbuckling sex pirate Johanna Morrigan at the Glasgow Film Festival – and to have the honour of closing this joyous cinematic explosion means the whole audience can come straight to the nearest pub with me, and celebrate the hotness of Alfie Allen as John Kite. Unless Glasgow’s gone off that kind of thing since last time I was there. Which I doubt.”

Tickets for Proxima and How To Build A Girl go on sale from midday on January 13. Tel: 0141 332 6535. The full programme for Glasgow Film Festival is announced on January 29