Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) will return for its 17th edition from 24 February to 7 March 2021 with a new hybrid format. In-cinema screenings at GFF’s home, Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), will run alongside a brand-new online streaming platform, Glasgow Film At Home, allowing us to safely bring the festival to new audiences, as well as inviting back our dedicated Glasgow Film Festival fans. Allan Hunter, Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director, spoke with The Fountain about what we can look forward to from the festival and what he reckons we can look forward to from cinema in 2021.

TF: Great to hear that GFF2021 will be happening this year, can you tell us more about this festival?

The 17th Glasgow Film Festival will take place from 24 February to 7 March 2021. Over the years the Festival has become one of the biggest and friendliest film events in the UK. We know it can’t be business as usual in 2021 but we wanted to embrace that challenge and explore the opportunities it provided. We are currently finalising a programme jam-packed with UK premieres that underlines our reputation as a true Festival of discovery.

TF: What shape does this take, is it a digital space or a physical space to admire and wonder at the films as part of GFF2021?

It will be both. We plan to operate live screenings at the Festival’s cherished home at the Glasgow Film Theatre and there will be an online platform so that everyone has the chance to join in and watch films. Everything is being planned to take account of audience safety and to operate within the government guidelines that apply at the time.

TF: What inspired you to use the hybrid approach?

The hybrid model seems the wisest option in very unpredictable times. It will allow us to prepare for all possibilities and guarantee that the show will go on. It has been very successfully adopted by many of the major festivals around the globe including Toronto and London. It is also a chance for people who, for whatever reason, cannot make it to Glasgow this year to still take part. This approach means they don’t have to completely miss a Festival they love. It also carries the potential to reach an even bigger audience that will be able to experience the Festival for the first time from anywhere in the UK.

TF: What do you think we can expect from cinema in 2021 in amongst these uncertain times?

I think there will be such an appetite for long-denied communal experiences that cinema will be a great source of comfort and joy once we have reached safer times. Films really come alive in front of an audience. Watching everyone jump out of their seat at Jaws or beam with pleasure at Gene Kelly dancing through the puddles is something that I think we all can’t wait to share and experience together once more. Also, there might be a chance to change a model that seems to depend so much on big American blockbusters. Maybe there will be room for a whole range of voices in 2021.

Glasgow Film Festival returns from 24 February to 7 March 2021. Glasgow Film At Home will showcase films and content year round. Find more information here