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Bringing players into the fold

THE worlds of film and games collide at this year's Glasgow Film Festival with the launch of the inaugural gaming strand, curated by Scotland's self-styled "god of games" Robert Florence.

Florence, of TV sketch show Burniston and game review series videoGaiden, brings his own brand of wit and humour to the festival with a skewed look at the cross-over between two industries which are increasingly sharing the same space among people's strata of entertainments.

Events in the Game Cats Go Miaow strand will look at where the hook-ups between both media lie, while still finding time to blast pixelated monsters to death and host a manga-themed dress-up parade – less high-brow pursuits, certainly, but much more fun.

"It's fantastic that they're introducing the gaming strand," says Florence, below.

"The organisers understand that film does not exist in a vacuum and is part of this great amalgamation of popular culture.

"There's a section of the audience at the festival who go to see films and are also heavily into gaming, and it's good to see that reflected."

At the top of the roster of events is a showing of James Cameron's classic film Aliens (GFT, February 18, 8.45pm), preceded by a live review of the new shooter Aliens: Colonial Marines, which lets players take the part of either the heroes from the movie or their xenomorph foes.

Special guests on the night include comic-book writer and journalist Kieron Gillen and Tom Bramwell, editor of Eurogamer.

"We'll be playing the game and having a chat about it," explains Florence. "It's one of those weird things – I don't think there's been an Aliens game that's captured the spirit of the movie yet.

"Maybe this one will be different. That said, the [subsequent] films haven't really captured the feel or the atmosphere of the originals either, so there's a lot to go for.

"I've been told the 70mm print is a thing of beauty, so we're delighted to be showing it."

Those who like their action a little more macabre will be able to indulge themselves with a celebration of the dark fantasy genre later in the week, with a discussion based around the hit Dark Souls RPG, followed by a screening of the rather underrated fantasy epic Solomon Kane (CCA, February 21,6.30pm).

The creative and free-thinking world of independent game developers gets explored in a screening of Indie Game: The Movie (GFT, February 19, 4.20pm; CCA, February 22, 7pm), while gamers are invited to a night of comedy, consoles and chewing the fat at Rab's Video Game Empty (CCA, February 22, 9pm).

Bringing games to a film festival is an unorthodox move, but Florence believes it's something that's been long overdue.

"The games industry is huge and it makes a lot of money, but it's still ghettoised in the way it gets covered by the mainstream press compared to the film industry," he insists. "Nowadays we're seeing film directors who come from a gamer background.

"Duncan Jones, who made Moon and Source Code, is a massive gamer who makes films during the day and games at night.

"That's something we will see more of as both industries move forward. In the past, directors, such as Steven Spielberg, who were the driving force behind most Hollywood blockbusters, were influenced by comic books and the sci-fi serials of their childhood.

"But now we're starting to see film directors who cut their teeth on games when they were young bringing that experience into movies. It's a healthy thing to happen."

See www.glasgowfilm.org/festival for details of the Game Cats Go Miaow strand, including Surprise Anime Film and the Cosplay Parade at 5pm at GFT today.

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