Keanu Reeves is one of our most cherished film stars, thanks to his work on- and off-screen.
Throughout his lengthy career Keanu has been known to play heroes on the big screen from Neo of The Matrix, to FBI agent Johnny Utah in Point Break and of course the legendary John Wick.
He also regularly stars in more indie films such as A Scanner Darkly, The Neon Demon and Siberia.
Keanu has dedicated his life to doing amazing things for others from simply hanging out with a homeless man to give him some company, to running a private foundation which funds cancer research and children’s hospitals.
It’s no wonder then a festival to celebrate all things Keanu Reeves is happening. To be honest, I’m surprised it wasn’t a thing before!
The wonderful minds at Matchbox Cineclub, who describe themselves as ‘an independent exhibitor for cineoutcasts, orphans and outliers’, have organised KeanuCon, the world’s first Keanu Reeves themed festival.
As Keanu himself would say, ‘woah’.
Taking place on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 April 2019 at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow, KeanuCon will celebrate ‘the most triumphant Wyld Stallyn himself and trace his career from babe to baba yaga’.
Showing a range of Keanu’s work, fans will be able to enjoy blockbusters such as Speed and both Bill & Teds, as well as lesser known movies including Permanent Record and his directorial debut Man of Tai Chi.
KeanuCon also promises special guests, a live performance from the Wyld Stallyns and the UK premiere of Keanu’s latest film Destination Wedding.
Speaking to UNILAD, KeanuCon’s co-founder, Megan Mitchell, explained due to Reeves’ general awesomeness the festival just made sense.
We’ve been organising Cage-a-rama (Europe’s biggest and longest-running Nicolas Cage film festival) for a while now, and he’s a very polarising figure in popular culture, you either love him or you hate him.
But Keanu seems to just inspire love – he murders to avenge puppies and brings about world peace, what’s not to love?
Keanu has such a rich filmography, from stoner teen to demon hunter, but in every film there’s an undeniable emotional honesty that I personally connect with.
Mitchell is bang on the money when she asks ‘what’s not to love?’
A young Mitchell was first introduced to Keanu when she watched a VHS of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but he truly stole her heart with Man of Tai Chi, saying the noble art has never looked so good’.
She admitted though at the festival the highlight for her is the Bill & Ted special double bill event:
We’re showing ten films over two days so we’ve a lot to squeeze in, right from his earliest on-screen appearance right through to the UK premiere of his latest film Destination Wedding. The personal highlight for me will be the Bill and Ted Double Bill, with a Wyld Stallyns gig, because I’m sure the audience will get a real kick out of it.
We wanted to showcase Keanu in all stages of his career, ‘From Babe to Baba Yaga’, as we’re putting it, so the programme reflects this. There’s a few films we would have loved to include but couldn’t due to licensing issues, but keep an eye out for KeanuCon 2!
Oh don’t worry, I will be getting KeanuCon 2 in my diary as soon as it’s announced.
As Mitchell mentioned earlier, Matchbox Cineclub also organised the Nicolas Cage festival ‘Cage-a-rama’ which she says ‘will continue until [she] has converted all the non-believers’.
The full programme for the weekend is:
One Step Away (Robert Fortier, 1985)
Permanent Record (Marisa Silver, 1988)
My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991)
Speed (Jan de Bont, 1994)
The Matrix (Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, 1999)
John Wick (Chad Stahelski, David Leitch, 2014)
Man of Tai Chi (Keanu Reeves, 2013)
Constantine (Francis Lawrence, 2005)
Challenge Death with Dice Roll Cafe
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Stephen Herek, 1989)
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (Peter Hewitt, 1991)
Wyld Stallyns live
Destination Wedding (Victor Levin, 2019)
While weekend and day passes are sold out, you can buy tickets for single screenings or events here.
Go enjoy KeanuCon, and be excellent to each other!
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.