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GLASGOW — If Edinburgh is the aristocrat, Glasgow is the working-class hero.

While Glasgow is the center of Scotland’s film and TV industry, Edinburgh is its major tourism draw and the site of its only major film fest — a world-class summer arts event established more than 50 years ago.

But Allan Foster wants to change that.

An energetic film historian-writer, Foster wants to bring the world’s films — mainly its Third World ones — to Scotland’s largest city as the Glasgow World Film Festival, scheduled for an October 2004 launch.

Although still in the early stages of arranging sponsorship — “We’re looking at the lineup to find commercial sponsors that fit with us,” says marketing director Aine O’Halloran — Foster reports that many agree the time for a major Glasgow fest has come.

The former shipbuilding center is home to BBC Scotland, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, Scottish Screen, filmmakers like Peter Mullan (“The Magdalene Sisters”) and myriad production companies.

“There’s so much Scottish talent that doesn’t get a platform in Edinburgh,” says Foster, who plans to heavily feature local filmmakers.

With heavy industry disappearing from Glasgow over the past few decades, the city has worked hard to shed its rough image and reinvent itself as a welcoming, multicultural European city.

“When you get off the train in Edinburgh, the beauty is right there to see. But Glasgow takes a little more work,” says Foster, who hopes his event will capture the spirit of the city, and that its underdog status will appeal to the more adventurous festgoer.

O’Halloran, who is former director of the Dublin Intl. Film Festival and founded the Belfast fest, believes that Foster’s “idea of an (event) similar to the Toronto fest — a really good spread of films, giving a good platform to indigenous filmmakers” will appeal to Scotland-based sponsors. BBC Scotland has already signaled support, although it is unclear what that will involve; the Glasgow City Council also has pledged to help. Plus, Foster has been trying to line up support from Scottish stars like Ewan McGregor.

O’Halloran is sanguine about finding coin in this tough economic climate — the budget is set at £200,000 — but also savvy. “If you just go out with a shopping list of sponsors it doesn’t work. We’re trying to weave commercial sponsorship into the program and offer specific demographics to sponsors” by matching them to selected films or programs.

Foster wants to make the fest an all-encompassing cultural event — with international song, music and dance events along with screenings. He sees unspoolings taking place in the city’s huge UGC flagship cinema, as well as in areas all over the city, from the swanky west side to rundown Sighthill, which is home to thousands of Scotland’s asylum seekers (including Kurds, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans, and other political refugees).

Emerging from the shadow of Edinburgh will take time and patience. By focusing on films that normally don’t screen at Edinburgh — mostly non-English-lingo projects from non-Western European countries — he hopes to carve out an important niche on the festival calendar.