Glasgow Film Festival reveals 2024 programme

This year’s GFF opens with much-anticipated new thriller Love Lies Bleeding starring Kristen Stewart, and closes with the world premiere of a new documentary on Glasgow comedian Janey Godley

Article by Jamie Dunn | 24 Jan 2024

Glasgow Film Festival (28 Feb-10 Mar), now Scotland’s biggest celebration of cinema, marks its 20th edition this year. But that's not the only anniversary to be toasted in 2024. The festival's HQ, the beloved Glasgow Film Theatre, is celebrating its 50th birthday, while the building in which the cinema is housed, the Cosmo, turns 85. It’s also something of a new era at GFF, with the festival’s astute co-director Allan Hunter stepping down last year. In his stead, several new programmers – Chris Kumar, Tomiwa Folorunso, Natasha Thembiso Ruwona, Heather Bradshaw and Rosie Beattie – have joined the team or moved up the ranks to join director Allison Gardner on programming duty. 

This new team have put together a tantalising programme, blending homegrown premieres with hugely anticipated international titles, fun cinema events and sharply curated retrospective lineups. There’s even a new strand titled GFF After Hours which promises “a curated programme of events for festival goers and delegates to relax, chat about films and enjoy the festival outwith the theatre”, details of which will be announced closer to the festival. 

Glasgow Film Festival 2024: The Opening and Closing films

Janey Godley performing on stage in front of a blue background.
Janey Godley on stage, in a still from John Archer's Janey.

GFF's 2024 lineup is sprinkled with big names, not least Kristen Stewart, who stars alongside Katy M O'Brian in the queer psychodrama Love Lies Bleeding, which is currently going down a storm at Sundance Film Festival and will open GFF on 28 February. It’s the second film from the talented young filmmaker Rose Glass, whose blistering horror debut Saint Maude had its Scottish premiere at GFF in 2020.

The festival will come to a close with a homegrown film: John Archer’s Janey. The doc follows Glasgow comedian Janey Godley on her Not Dead Yet tour, which she embarked on in the wake of being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Interweaving stories from her life with footage from the tour and interviews with the likes of Nicola Sturgeon and Jimmy Carr, the screening should provide a moving and hopefully hilarious end to the festival.

Scottish Talent at Glasgow Film Festival 2024

Ewan McGregor and Clara Mathilde McGregor in Bleeding Love
Ewan McGregor and Clara McGregor in Bleeding Love.

As ever, there’s a fine selection of Scottish filmmakers being showcased at GFF this year. Another world premiere is Tummy Monster from Glasgow director Ciaran Lyons, which sounds mighty intriguing. It’s described as “a hallucinogenic dark drama” and features Beats star Lorn Macdonald, who we're told plays a self-centred tattoo artist who gets embroiled in a bizarre psychological battle with an international popstar. Lyons was behind one of the strangest works to come out of Scotland's short film scene in recent years, the freaky folk horror The Motorist, so colour us intrigued. 

Kevin Macdonald returns to GFF with his documentary about the rise and fall of fashion icon John Galliano, titled High and Low. Ewan McGregor fans will be pleased to hear he features in two films in the programme. First, he stars alongside Ellen Burstyn and Rhys Ifans in the surreal comedy Mother, Couch. And in road movie Bleeding Love, about a young woman embarking on a trip to New Mexico with her estranged father, McGregor stars with his real-life daughter, Clara McGregor.

Another family affair at GFF is that of the Archers. John Archer’s doc Janey closes the festival, but also in the mix is the UK premiere of Bill Douglas: My Best Friend, from Jack Archer, John's son. The film tells the story of the lifelong friendship between the great Scottish filmmaker Bill Douglas and Peter Jewell, his confidant and creative muse. We’re also looking forward to a sneak peek at the second season of BBC Scotland’s excellent queer micro-drama Float, written by playwright Stef Smith. All six of season two’s ten-minute episodes will have their world premiere when they're screened together at GFF before heading to BBC Scotland and iPlayer later in the year. 

There’s also a world premiere of the restored Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet, Murray Grigor’s fantastic but little-seen 1976 documentary, which was remastered after the only surviving 16mm print of the film turned up on eBay. 

More Glasgow Film Festival highlights

A group of people look down a corridor, in a still from La Chimera.
The cast of La Chimera.

Another film that caught our eye at yesterday’s launch is Bucky F*cking Dent, and not just because of the naughty title. It's based on the novel by X-Files legend and recent Skinny Q&A star David Duchovny, who also stars, writes and directs this comic drama about the reunion of an aspiring novelist (played by Logan Marshall-Green) and his dying dad (Duchovny). Look out too for Alice Rohrwacher’s "fantastical, genre-defying gravedigging romantic musical" La Chimera, starring Josh O’Connor. In addition to screening at GFF, La Chimera will play simultaneously across the UK at cinemas in London, Cardiff, Newcastle, Bristol, Nottingham, Sheffield, Dundee and Inverness.

Other buzzy titles heading to GFF from the festival circuit include Bertrand Bonello’s sci-fi romance The Beast starring Léa Seydoux and George MacKay, and Matteo Garrone’s Io Capitano, which is described as "a vibrant and powerful drama about the hopefulness, resilience and brutality of a migrant experience". Io Capitano has been nominated for this year's Best International Film Oscar, as has fellow GFF programme pick The Teachers' Lounge. Germany's Oscar hopeful, it follows an idealistic young teacher who decides to get involved when one of her students is suspected of theft. 

The great Polish director Agnieszka Holland returns with the powerful Green Border, which follows the plight of refugees who are shunted back and forth across the no man’s land between Poland and Belarus. Arthouse favourite Franz Rogowski stars in Disco Boy, a gripping French drama about an undocumented immigrant who signs up for the French Foreign Legion and becomes increasingly psychologically troubled. There's also the latest from Romanian maverick Radu Jude, who screens his satire Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World. 

The Dead Don’t Hurt, meanwhile, is an epic new western starring Viggo Mortensen (who also directs) alongside Vicky Krieps and Danny Huston.

Retrospectives and immersive screenings

A man grips a railing outside a bar, in a still from After Hours.
Griffin Dunne in Martin Scorsese's After Hours.

There will be special screenings marking the anniversaries of a couple of Scottish classics: Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave, released in 1994, and Lynne Ramsay's Ratcatcher, released in 1999. There’s also the daily morning retrospective, titled Our Story So Far. These free screenings will take audiences back in time with ten classic films from respective years of GFF, GFT and the Cosmo's inceptions.

Scotland collective Invisible Women will celebrate the 50-year career of pioneering actor Dolores del Río, who became both a defining performer of the Mexican Golden Age and one of the first Latin American stars to crossover into Hollywood. Other classics in the mix are Martin Scorsese’s screwball caper After Hours (screening as part of GFT’s ongoing Scorsese of the Month season) and a 35mm screening of Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 crackerjack crime feature Pulp Fiction

All this, plus GFF’s legendary immersive screenings are back with events built around John Waters's riotous crime caper Female Trouble and Victor Flemming’s Technicolour fantasy The Wizard of Oz.

These are just a few of the titles that caught our eye, but GFF director Allison Gardner has some sage advice for navigating this year's programme: 

 "Our motto is ‘Cinema For All’ and we strive to bring the best films from around the world to Glasgow," says Gardner. "My advice to everyone is to choose films you know nothing about and take a chance; you might discover a hidden gem (and the programme is positively bursting with them!) that will stay with you forever. Here’s to the next 20 years.”

Glasgow Film Festival runs 28 Feb-10 Mar

Tickets to the opening and closing galas go on sale at 11am on Thu 25 Jan;
Tickets to all events go on sale to GFT Cinecard holders at 11am on Friday 26 January and on general sale at 11am on Mon 29 Jan at