As the Glasgow Film Festival returns from today (15) until 26 February, VisitScotland is encouraging movie-goers to go on a ‘set-jetting tour’ of the city – discovering the locations behind the films.
Now in its 13th year, the annual festival boasts nine world and international premieres, 65 UK premieres and 67 Scottish premieres.
Among these is music documentary Lost in France, charting the rise of Scotland’s independent music scene in the 1990s led by cult label Chemikal Underground, and the 20th anniversary screening of The Slab Boys, which cast and crew are due to attend.
The theatrical adaptation of the John Byrne stage play is one of many films to have been shot in Glasgow, with a number of big-screen productions filmed across Scotland’s biggest city in recent years, including the sequel to the cult phenomenon Trainspotting.
Set-jetting is a popular pastime with visitors seeking out the locations of their favourite films. Research shows that 40 per cent of visitors to the UK are inspired to come here after seeing it on film or on television.
Below are just a few examples of where visitors to Glasgow can step into a real-life film set:
The Douglas Hotel, Clydebank and Glasgow University – as seen in T2 Trainspotting (2017)
The hotel doubles for the Port Sunshine pub while the exterior of Glasgow University becomes an unnamed Edinburgh school in the Danny Boyle-directed sequel.
Royal Exchange Square – T2 Trainspotting
The famous statue of the Duke of Wellington, complete with cone-adorned head, is also seen in T2 Trainspotting.
Glasgow Cathedral, Pollok Country Park and George Square – Outlander (2015/16)
It may not be a big-screen production, but it is certainly a big hit with international viewers. The television drama series, based on the bestselling novels by Diana Gabaldon, has been served well with locations across Scotland, including Glasgow, which has been used to recreate London (season 1) and France (season 2).
George Square – World War Z (2013)
The big-screen adaptation of Max Brooks’s post-apocalyptic World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, saw George Square double as Philadelphia during the rise of the undead.
The Buchanan Galleries – Under the Skin (2013)
Buchanan Galleries was one of the locations frequented by Scarlett Johansson’s man-stalking alien in human form in Under the Skin – but don’t let that put you off the fantastic array of shops.
Barrowland Ballroom – The Legend of Barney Thomson (2015)
Trainspotting star Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut features numerous locations in Glasgow – UNESCO City of Music – with the iconic Barrowland Ballroom doubling as a bingo hall. Carlyle stars as a barber turned serial killer in this comedy thriller, which also features Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone.
Blythswood Hill, St Vincent Place and University of Glasgow quadrangle – Cloud Atlas (2012)
Renamed ‘Spring Street’ in the science-fiction movie, starring Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, Blythswood Hill’s steep descent made it a perfect substitute for the hills of San Francisco in the adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel. The Anchor Line restaurant in St Vincent Place and one of the University of Glasgow’s quadrangles also make appearances.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum – The House of Mirth (2000)
Glasgow frequently stood in for New York in Terence Davies’ adaptation of The House of Mirth, starring Gillian Anderson as socialite Lily Bart, with Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum doubling for the Big Apple’s Grand Central Station.
City Chambers – Heavenly Pursuits (1986)
The impressive City Chambers is a master of disguise as the Vatican in the Scottish comedy, Heavenly Pursuits. The Chambers were also recently seen as the Russian Embassy in the BBC television adaptation of The Secret Agent, starring Toby Jones.
Glasgow Necropolis – Death Watch (1980)
Starring Romy Schneider, Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton and Max von Sydow, the French sci-fi film, Death Watch, set in a time when death from disease has become a rarity, saw Glasgow represent “any city of the future” with the Victorian cemetery near St Mungo’s Cathedral featuring prominently.
For more set-jetting opportunities, see Set in Scotland published by VisitScotland https://www.visitscotland.com/ebrochures/en/set-in-scotland/
To find out more about Glasgow Film Festival, go to www.glasgowfilm.org/festival
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