The Big Preview: Glasgow Film Festival 2024

Like the city it calls home, Glasgow Film Festival is a looser, friendlier counterpart to its big-name counterparts, but there’s no shortage of world premieres, special events and Hollywood stardust…

Words: Sam Law

Glasgow Film Festival isn’t much like other red carpet showcases. Wilfully unpretentious, wonderfully off-kilter and awash with the grit and good cheer of Scotland’s largest city, it’s an incredible platform for film-makers looking to air their wares away from the baffling noise and stifling formality of its cinematic contemporaries. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of celluloid magic to go around, mind. And 2024 promises a particularly packed 12 days and nights…

Love Lies Bleeding

Leading the charge, British visionary follows the 2020 screening of her stunning directorial debut Saint Maud with an Opening Gala for follow-up romantic thriller Love Lies Bleeding, which follows Kirsten Stewart and Katy O’Brien on an iron-pumping orgy of violence through the American Southwest. Lord Of The Rings icon Viggo Mortensen will be in town alongside Orkney-born co-star Solly McLeod to promote feminist revisionist western The Dead Don’t Hurt. Festival favourite George Mackay will be back to present fascinating sci-fi romance The Beast in which he co-stars alongside the brilliant Léa Seydoux for a love affair through time set in 1910, 2014 and 2044.

The Dead Don’t Hurt

On top of that, Glasgow’s own Oscar winner Kevin Macdonald will be in attendance for a career retrospective and to introduce his new documentary High & Low on fashion icon John Galliano and the UK premiere of Made in England: The Films of Powell & Pressburger, which celebrates Macdonald’s grandfather Emeric Pressburger and his filmmaking partnership with Michael Powell. And modern British visionary Ben Wheatley will be around to introduce a 15th-anniversary show of his classic kitchen-sink gangster debut Down Terrace, which the uninitiated shouldn’t miss.

Of course, this is a festival very much about the films. Marking the 20th-anniversary of the festival and 50 years of the magnificent Glasgow Film Theatre which sees a majority of showings, we’re getting plenty of them. 11 world and international premieres. 69 UK premieres. 15 Scottish.

Toplining along with the aforementioned Love Lies Bleeding, the closing gala Janey follows Scottish comedian Janey Godley on her final live tour following her cancer diagnosis. Will Gilbey’s ‘all-American action-thriller debut’ Jericho Ridge should be a highlight, and all the more impressive given that he shot it in Kosovo with a cast of British TV actors. Twisty South Korean thriller follows newlyweds Hyeon-Soo and Soo-jin, whose new marriage is seriously disrupted by Hyeon-Soo’s increasinly menacing sleepwalking. And, like a lo-fi reboot of The Goonies, Weston Razooli’s semi-magic-realist Riddle Of Fire should be a feelgood hit as it follows a trio of kids with overactive imaginations on an afternoon-long odyssey while their mother is stuck in bed with the flu.

You’ll Never Find Me

Then of course, there’s the annual Glasgow Frightfest. From Thursday night’s UK debut of Josiah Allen & Indianna Bell’s psychological thriller You’ll Never Find Me and Friday morning’s bow for creeptacular French horror The Soul Eater to the closing salvo of musically inclined Irish horror All You Need Is Death and Alan Scott Neal’s gruesomely vibrant directorial debut Last Straw, there’s more than enough to keep the gorehounds going. And that’s not even mentioning the UK premier of Mike Hermosa’s fabulously bonkers, blood-spattered creature feature The Invisible Raptor.

As always, mind, some of the most special screenings are reserved for Scottish cinema. Bill Douglas: My Best Friend is another of the new Scottish films appearing: a loving look at arguably the country’s finest fimmaker, Bill Doughlas. We’ll get 25th-anniversay and 30th-anniversary celebrations , respectfully,for Lynn Ramsay’s Ratcatcher and Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave. But the real jewel in the collection this year is a mega-rare screening of Big Banana Feet: Murray Grigor’s verité film following Billy Connolly on and off stage as he tramps round Ireland in 1975. A rarely-seen classic and perfect celebration of Glasgow’s beloved Big Yin on the brink of stardom.

Billy Connolly

Whatever films you sit down for, though, expect a warm welcome and memorable time at the tail-end of Scottish winter, with plenty of good whisky – and better conversation – in the bars in-between.

Glasgow Film Festival runs from 28 Feb to 10 March. Get your tickets now at

Sam Law

Freelance writer and editor based in Glasgow, Scotland. Major fan of punk rock and cult cinema. Can normally be located at the nearest midnight movie marathon or in the mosh pit…