Glasgow festival favourites are preparing to take place virtually this year, due to current lockdown restrictions.

It was announced today that the annual Glasgow Film Festival is going entirely online rather than the hybrid approach as originally planned.

Organisers had hoped to screen films at the Glasgow Film Theatre and at 23 partner cinemas across the UK, as well as streaming online.

But coronavirus had different ideas - with lockdown measures forcing cinemas to close.

In December, all of mainland Scotland was placed into Tier 4 – the highest level of coronavirus restrictions.

And on Monday, additional measures were introduced until at least the end of January.

Since cinemas can only open in Tiers 0-2 in Scotland (Tiers 1-2 in England), which is not expected to happen for some time, the festival will now take place online only from February 24 to March 7.

Plans to show in-cinema screenings will be reviewed if changes to restrictions allow cinemas to reopen.

Allison Gardner, chief executive of Glasgow Film and co-director of Glasgow Film Festival, said: “While we are very disappointed not to be screening this year’s Glasgow Film Festival in cinemas, the hybrid nature of GFF21 (Glasgow Film Festival 2021) means we are still able to offer the majority of the premieres originally included in the programme for people to watch at home.

“Audiences can look forward to the same high quality of choice as they’d normally expect from GFF, as well as the opportunity to see the best new, independent films from Scotland and around the world.”

Meanwhile, globally-celebrated Celtic Connections is back for 2021 in a week's time, and will present over 30 online performances across 19 days. 

HeraldScotland: Mischa MacPherson in Kelvingrove Gallery | Image Gaelle BeriMischa MacPherson in Kelvingrove Gallery | Image Gaelle Beri

READ MORE: Major Scots music festival won't be stopped by Covid-19 as it goes online

World class concerts will be available to view online with some of the biggest names on the Scottish music scene and beyond appearing on screens across the world as part of the winter festival.

Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro and Deacon Blue stars Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh will form part of an all-star line-up in the first online Celtic Connections, alongside vocal trio The Staves, Rachel Sermanni and Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire.

Jamaican musician Brina and The Ando Glaso Collective will also feature, with Scottish indie group Admiral Fallow giving a one-hour concert and Elephant Sessions contributing a 75-minute gig from The Ironworks venue in Inverness.

HeraldScotland: Katherine Priddy in Glasgow's Fruitmarket | Image Gaelle BeriKatherine Priddy in Glasgow's Fruitmarket | Image Gaelle Beri

Specially commissioned projects and performances were filmed across many of Glasgow’s much-loved venues, available to view in a one-week window for pass holders.

Traditionally, the festival welcomes over 100,000 attendees to Glasgow, a UNESCO City of Music - but this year will be very different.

Nonetheless, organisers hope to appeal to the wide international audience they usually see attending the festival.

Already, festival passes have been purchased in 35 countries already.

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: "The concept for a digital-first Celtic Connections was borne out of a desire to promote wellbeing and optimism amongst fellow musicians as much as it was about still being able to offer entertainment to our loyal Celtic Connections audiences during the dark nights of January.

“The resounding feeling that has come out of the recording days is a space for musicians to come back, to play again, to feel part of the community that they helped to create.

HeraldScotland: PROJECT SMOK in St Lukes | Image Gaelle BeriPROJECT SMOK in St Lukes | Image Gaelle Beri

"The last time a lot of the contributing artists performed was at Celtic Connections 2020 and now they are back playing as part of the festival one year on after what has undoubtedly been the hardest year of their careers.

"We feel incredibly proud that as a festival, along with our funding partners, we have allowed for this safe space for them to play again, embrace their creativity and ultimately give them hope that there is a future for them within this industry.”

You can find out more about Celtic Connections' full programme here

Tickets for GFF's online premieres will go on sale on January 18.

HeraldScotland: The Staves in Kelvingrove Gallery | Image Gaelle BeriThe Staves in Kelvingrove Gallery | Image Gaelle Beri