First events for Glasgow Film Festival 2019 Announced

The first events of Glasgow Film Festival 2019 have been announced. The 15th annual Glasgow Film Festival will showcase some of the finest big screen offerings from Belgium and Hollywood and stage very special celebration screenings of two classic blockbusters.

Glasgow film fans are invited to adventure underneath Glasgow Central Station and attend the first official 20th Anniversary screening of The Matrix (22 and 23 Feb) in the subterranean caverns of Argyle Street Arches. With thanks to Warner Bros for their support, the event will feature mind-twisting immersive installations and a techno after-party. Audiences are encouraged to don black sunglasses and dark leather as they explore the deconstructed world of the ground-breaking film.

In a vast warehouse in North Glasgow no-one will hear you scream as audiences brave an encounter with the Xenomorph itself at a large-scale pop-up event showing of Alien (28 February). Featuring laser-tag adventures, comic books and themed cocktails, this is a must for all wannabe Ripleys. With thanks to Park Circus for their support, the 4K 40th anniversary restoration print of Alien will be released on 1 March 2019 across the UK.

1969: End Of Innocence is a retrospective devoted to American cinema from a pivotal year — a mixture of classics and rarities starring (among others) Jane Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine and Dustin Hoffman. These 10 films, which will be free to view, reflect a time when censorship laws were relaxed and American filmmakers and studios struggled to grapple with the social changes and political upheavals in a country that saw protests on the street, fierce opposition to the war in Vietnam, Nixon in the White House, the Manson killings, the Stonewall riots and the growing mobilisation of groups pursuing black power and feminism.

1969 saw the arrival of enduring counter-culture classics like Easy Rider, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Best Picture Oscar winner Midnight Cowboy, but it was a year when the old guard was still out in force with John Wayne a Best Actor Oscar winner for True Grit. 1969 was a cinematic year that still resonates with Hollywood’s biggest 21st century talents and one that Quentin Tarantino has chosen as the setting for his upcoming multi-star epic Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino and Kurt Russell.

Belgian Cinema: Both Sides Now is a timely look at the richness and diversity of contemporary Belgian filmmaking. A country whose cinematic output has constantly been underrated, despite world class filmmakers from Chantal Akerman to the Dardenne Brothers, this year’s Country Focus reflects the current healthy state of cinema in Belgium. Highlights include the Scottish premiere of Lukas Dhont’s extraordinary, award-winning Girl which has taken the film festival circuit by storm, Marta Bergman’s feature debit about a Romani woman who becomes a mail-order bride Alone At My Wedding / Seule à mon mariage and stop-motion animated feature This Magnificent Cake!, telling colonial stories from across the Belgian Empire. The festival will be welcoming a host of Belgian directors and actors and screening some much-loved Belgian classics in partnership with Flanders in the UK and Wallonie-Bruxelles International.

Tickets for Alien and The Matrix go on sale 12pm on Monday 26 November from The full programme for Glasgow Film Festival 2019 will be announced on 23 January. Tickets go on sale to GFF members and GFT CineCard holders from 12 noon on 24 January and then on general sale from 10am on 28 January.

Glasgow Film Festival is made possible by support from Glasgow Life, Screen Scotland, the British Film Institute (using funds from The National Lottery) and Event Scotland.

Allison Gardner, Festival Co-director said,

“For GFF19 the team have pulled together a brilliant series of events and both The Matrix and Alien will be the pop-up events of the year! As ever it's our audiences who add the fun and frivolities to our immersive events and they have never let us down and always exceed our expectations and ensure the events are fun. There are more events to be revealed and we are looking forward to sharing these on 23rd January."

Allan Hunter, Festival Co-director said,

“Hotly-anticipated Oscar contender Girl underlines the quality of films that are made in Belgium each year. Our country focus offers the chance to see a handpicked selection of the finest new features from Belgium ranging from the wonderfully stylish thriller Mother's Instinct / Duelles to actor Olivier Gourmet at the top of his game in Those Who Work / Ceux qui travaillent and the striking drama Angel at Sea / Un ange à la mer. It is a snapshot of a national cinema that never gets the attention and admiration it deserves, until now. Across the Atlantic, 1969 was a pivotal year in American filmmaking as censorship laws relaxed and Hollywood struggled to reflect the social and political divides within the country. Fifty years on, we celebrate the dawn of the new Hollywood with a season of films ranging from the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy to the hugely influential Easy Rider. It is a chance to see a fantastic selection of films for free and provides all the background you will need for Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming epic Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.”

Jennifer Armitage, Screen Officer at Screen Scotland said,

“This first taste of Glasgow Film Festival 2019 entices audiences with a timely retrospective that looks back at the state of American cinema, and society, 50 years ago in 1969, and a country focus that shines a light on Belgium, our close but relatively unexplored neighbour. Screen Scotland is a proud supporter of Glasgow Film Festival and the important role the festival plays, through strands such as these, in introducing classic films to new audiences and creating a platform for international cinema.”

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said,

“The Glasgow Film Festival is always keenly anticipated and helps maintain the city’s reputation for its love of cinema. Even with the full programme to come, it’s already apparent that the exploration of the diversity of Belgian cinema will be enjoyed by generations of film fans while a retrospective of 1969 will prove to be a huge draw. I am looking forward to Glasgow Film Festival and picking some personal highlights to go and enjoy.”

Ben Luxford, Head of UK Wide Audiences, BFI said,

“Now in its 15th year, the Glasgow Film Festival has firmly cemented its place in both audience’s and the Industry’s events calendar. We’re really pleased to support the festival with National Lottery funding so it can continue to reach and engage with a variety of audiences and develop upon its industry programme. We look forward to seeing you all there, snow or no snow.”

Glasgow Film Festival

The 15th annual Glasgow Film Festival will run from 20 February – 3 March 2019. The full programme will be launched on the evening of 23 January, with tickets on sale to GFF members and GFT CineCard holders from 12noon on 24 January and then on general sale from 10am on 28 January. The Opening and Closing Galas will be announced on 8 January. GFF Membership is available to buy now for only £10, offering four days of advance booking, and discounts. See for full information. Existing GFT CineCard members will automatically have GFF membership.

Notable guests visiting the festival in recent years have included Richard Gere, Alan Rickman, Joss Whedon, Terry Gilliam, John C Reilly, Saoirse Ronan, Richard Dreyfuss, Karen Gillan, Jonathan Glazer, Richard Johnson, Gemma Arterton, Ben Wheatley, David Tennant, Cliff Curtis, David Robert Mitchell, Carol Morley, Gemma Jones, Jason Priestley, Neil Jordan, agnés b., Armando Iannucci, Jack O’Connell, Dexter Fletcher, Peter Mullan, George Sluizier, Peter Capaldi, Ty West, Richard Ayoade, Eli Roth and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The 2018 festival opened with the red carpet UK premiere of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and closed with the world premiere of Felipe Bustos Sierra’s Nae Pasaran, which recently won the Scottish BAFTA for Best Picture.

Glasgow Life is a charity which delivers services to both citizens and visitors to the city, providing opportunities through culture, sport and learning.

Last year, more than 18 million attendances were recorded at venues, events and festivals – up more than one third since 2007. Some 2,600 staff and 2,200 volunteers deliver services across 160 Glasgow Life venues.

Glasgow Life has responsibility for: managing nine award-winning civic museums, including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Museum and the Burrell Collection as well as the Kelvin Hall; the Glasgow Club – Scotland’s largest health and fitness network – including landmarks such as the Emirates Arena and Tollcross International Swimming Centre; the Mitchell Library and 32 Community Libraries, as well as community facilities across the city and a significant learning programme; programming world-class music in venues such as the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, incredible art and exhibitions at Tramway and a number of cultural events, such as Celtic Connections, the Mela, the World Pipe Band Championships and the Merchant City Festival, among others; leading partners in the delivery of Glasgow’s Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023; positioning the city as a vibrant, first-choice destination for leisure and business tourists; managing the city’s destination marketing and implementing the award-winning PEOPLE MAKE GLASGOW brand; managing Glasgow’s Convention Bureau, which attracts more than 500 conferences to the city each year.

Glasgow Life helped to deliver the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, Davis Cup ties, the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships and the Total BWF World Badminton Championships 2017 and the inaugural 2018 European Championships – a major multi-sport event in partnership with Berlin. Looking ahead, Glasgow Life is supporting delivery of the European Indoor Athletics Championships 2019 and the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship. For more information, visit

The BFI supports, nurtures and promotes the art of film, television and the moving image. A charity, funded by Government and earned income, and a distributor of National Lottery funds, we are at the heart of the UK’s fast growing screen industries, protecting the past and shaping their future across the UK. We work in partnership with cultural organisations, government and industry to make this happen. We bring our world-class cultural programmes and unrivalled national collections to audiences everywhere, and promote learning about our art-form and its heritage. We support the future success of film in the UK by nurturing new voices and fresh ideas, enriching independent British film culture, challenging the UK's screen industries to innovate and defining Britain and its storytellers in the 21st century. Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.

Event Scotland is the national events agency. EventScotland is working to make Scotland one of the world’s leading event destinations. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. EventScotland is part of VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland.