Another is over for Glasgow Film Festival, with the 2023 festival wrapped up on Sunday 12th March. Celebrating with a bumper year of ticket sales and visiting talent from around the world.
The 2023 festival admissions increased by 25% on the year before, including all three special event screenings selling out, marking a fantastic return for one of the audience’s favourite parts of the festival.
In total, 33,667 people attended 295 film screenings and events over 12 days at various venue across the city including Glasgow Film Theatre, CCA, Cineworld, Glee Club, QMU to name a few . The Glasgow Film Festival also partnered with 13 cinemas across the UK, including Barbican and BFI Southbank in London, Cameo in Edinburgh for the first UK screenings of How To Blow Up A Pipeline and The Five Devils.
Once again the opening and closing gala premieres also sold out. The debut features directed by exciting new UK female filmmakers: Adura Onashile’s Glasgow-shot Girl and Nida Manzoor’s Polite Society who both attended their premieres. The festival also welcomed a host of famous faces onto the red-carpet including Emily Watson, Kelly Macdonald, James Cosmo, Joely Richardson and Alistair McGowan.
The 2023 edition of the festival cemented the festival’s reputation as ‘cinema for all’. Offering talent a place to premiere your film regardless of your class, gender or sexuality. First time filmmaker or established filmmaker with Glasgow Film Festival regarded as one of the major events on the UK film industry’s calendar.
For those festival showcased new Spanish cinema and welcomed international filmmakers including Matt Johnson (Blackberry), Jonas Chernick (The End of Sex), Muta’Ali Muhammad (Cassius X: Becoming Ali), Daniel Goldhaber (How To Blow Up A Pipeline), Floor van der Meulen (Pink Moon), Àlfrún Örnólfsdóttir (Band) and Sophie Linnenbaum (The Ordinaries) who attended the festival from the fours corners of the world. They were joined by the likes of UK talent including Carol Morley (Typist Artist Pirate King) and Mark Cousins (My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock / March on Rome).
There was a few tears shed when the 2023 festival marked festival co-director Allan Hunter’s last year at the festival, since his first GFF in 2007. His ever-popular series of morning retrospectives for GFF23 welcomed the largest audience in its history, with over 2000 people watching classic movies for free on the big screen.
The audiences also called the shots as they voted on the prestigious Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award. The only award presented at the festival, it is decided from a handpicked selection of 10 films by first or second time directors and the 2023 winner was announced as Riceboy Sleeps. The drama about a Korean single mother raising her son in 1990s Canada earned writer-director Anthony Shim the prestigious Award.
Emily Watson, actor God’s Creatures, speaking to the GFF red carpet film crew: “It feels so cool to be having the UK premiere of this movie, which is so special to me, here in this festival where it feels like there’s a young, modern, fresh feeling about interesting films. It’s places like this, where people come out arguing and talking about movies and having a communal experience, that are giving film life”.
Carol Morley, director Typist Artist Pirate King , speaking to the GFF red carpet film crew: “I love the festival, because the festival is for people, it is for audiences, they believe in people. And I feel like with Glasgow, everyone here loves film… it’s about films that change people’s lives and films that connect with people, so it’s always been very special when I’ve come”.
Allison Gardner, Glasgow Film Festival Co-director, commented on this year’s festival “GFF23 was magical, from the sold out screenings to the warm and enthusiastic welcome our audiences gave the guests and filmmakers. Every year I am astounded at the support, loyalty and knowledge of those audiences who take a chance on the curated programme, but this year they were exceptionally generous and we were incredibly busy, with audiences up 25% on 2022 across a similar number of events. The discussions, debates and love of cinema was clear and it warms my heart to see audiences taking a chance and supporting emerging talent. Whilst I am sad that Allan Hunter has left, I know his work over the last 17 years has created a festival that will go on to be a trusted place for film lovers into the future.”
Allan Hunter, further commented: “I think it’s fair to say the 2023 Festival has been a triumph. The wide-ranging selection of films put together by the programming team met with such a fantastic response. It felt as if Festival audiences were back in full force, hungry to experience all the
delights that home-grown productions and world cinema has to offer. The waves of love for Carol Morley’s Typist Artist Pirate King and the Audience Award for Anthony Shim’s Riceboy Sleeps should alert UK distributors to the potential that lies in these particular titles and so many others that were premieres in Glasgow. I think it is the range of titles and the passionate programmers who champion them that make the Festival so special. A packed industry programme also confirmed that Glasgow has become a massive, influential bridge between film watchers and filmmakers. I couldn’t be happier with the Festival as I step down and know that under Allison it will continue to flourish and thrive.”
Glasgow Film Festival will return in 2024 with dates announced soon and the full programme revealed in January 2024. We are still writing our reviews at The Peoples Movies as well as Chronicles In Film, stay tuned for them!