Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

The Honest Truth: Yes we Cannes… How organisers moved movie festivals online

© SYSTEMAmir El-Masry, left, leads the cast of Limbo, filmed on North and South Uist.
Amir El-Masry, left, leads the cast of Limbo, filmed on North and South Uist.

Glasgow Film Festival is one of the most popular events in the movie calendar. But with cinemas closed, how will it adapt? Co-directors Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter tell Murray Scougall the Honest Truth about organising a film festival during a global pandemic.

How difficult a year has it been for the film industry and why was it important for you that GFF still went ahead?

Allan: It’s been hugely challenging for all aspects of the industry but the thing with GFF is to look at circumstances and find the opportunities. The festival is online, so we embraced it as an opportunity that people who can’t normally come to Glasgow for whatever reason can get a taste of the festival. It’s about looking at the positives and thinking we can still put on a good programme.

Usually both of you would attend film festivals around the world to choose the programme. How different was it this year?

Allison: Although the likes of Cannes and Toronto’s festivals were cancelled in-person, both were online so it wasn’t difficult to access films. But the rose wine I was serving myself during Cannes wasn’t as good as I’m used to during the festival!

Allan: The only thing different was we were viewing the films from home. The programme is smaller this year – 62 compared to 180 – but maybe that has made the quality threshold even higher. We had to be really passionate about a film to pick it.

Were the number of film submissions you received affected?

Allan: I don’t think they were, it was roughly the same. There’s been less places to show films, so at some point there comes a glut of productions looking for a showcase.

The question for filmmakers was do they wait for a theatrical release to come over the horizon or do they decide to get it out and seen somewhere that will give it a sympathetic launch? I think we’ve been lucky and have really good quality.

Will the audience interaction of the festival be maintained?

Allison: There will be introductions from the film-makers and Q&As with the films.

We also hope to set up virtual bar rooms to talk about the films afterwards, because usually both of us would be wandering around the cinema and hearing from people on what they have liked and not liked.

It will be a different experience this year, but I hope we can still hear what the audiences have to say.

Will there be limits on the number of people who can watch the screenings?

Allison: Yes, there’s a cap on the number of public attendees, which has also been the case at other festivals. We’ve talked a lot to London Film Festival and feel we’ve made sensible decisions.

Which films would you most recommend to audiences?

Allison: An audience Marmite film might be Black Bear, one of those films you’ll either really go with or think that it’s not your thing. I thought it was tremendous.

Allan: I can’t wait for audiences to see Limbo – my film of the year for 2020. It’s about a Syrian refugee asylum seeker on the Outer Hebrides and the life he has there while waiting for his application to be processed.

It’s a film that breaks your heart and puts it back together again. It looks beautiful. I would also recommend Sweetheart, which receives its world premiere with us. It’s a coming-of-age tale about a teenage girl on a family holiday that she doesn’t want to be on. It’s fresh, funny, British, and full of promise from both the actor and director.

Glasgow Film Festival runs from Feb 24–Mar 7. The full programme can be viewed at