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Focus on marking popular venue's rich past

CULT movie director Quentin Tarantino memorably used the F-word to express his great love of one of Scotland's best-loved arts institutions.

MUCH-LOVED VENUE: The Glasgow Film Theatre is celebrating special landmarks.
MUCH-LOVED VENUE: The Glasgow Film Theatre is celebrating special landmarks.

For the rest of us, celebrating 40 years of Glasgow Film Theatre can be done in a little less exuberant manner.

On the site of the former Cosmo cinema, which opened 75 years ago, GFT welcomed a public hungry for arthouse films in 1974 with a screening of Fellini's Roma and continued to grow and expand its programming with a remit for movies beyond the commercial mainstream.

On May 4 the anniversaries are being celebrated with a special screening of Sundance and Cannes award winner Fruitvale Station, directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Michael B Jordan.

The 1930s building, designed by renowned local architects James McKissack and WJ Anderson and influenced by the work of Dutch modernist Willem Marinus Dudok, now includes the 142-seat cinema two and recently opened 60-seat cinema three. Much of the design of cinema three and the revamped foyer has been inspired by the Cosmo's art deco and art moderne styles.

Opened by George Singleton, a member of one of Glasgow's well-known cinema chain families, and Charles Oakley, chairman of the Film Society and Scottish Film Council, the Cosmo was Scotland's first arts cinema and only the second purpose-built arthouse in Britain. The men would be proud of attendance figures in the 21st century, reaching nearly 180,000 in the past year.

Work continues at a pace on the next phase of refurbishment. Due to be finished next year it will see the reinstatement of the butterfly staircase, harking back to the building's original design. A not for profit organisation, most of GFT funding coming from ticket sales, the bars and private hires, core public partners include Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council with additional investment from Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (People Make Glasgow), EventScotland and the British Film Institute for Glasgow Film Festival.

"The success over the decades of GFT's history would not have been possible without our funders, staff, volunteers and, of course, audience - who are at the heart of everything we do," said chief executive Jaki McDougall.

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