10th Anniversary: Looking Back With Our Contributors part 1

To mark the tenth anniversary of GSFF, we’ve carried out a series of interviews with some of our many volunteers, staff members and other contributors over the years, asking them for their most memorable festival films and moments. In this instalment we spoke with:

Jule Rozite, GSFF Festival Assistant 2011, now Associate Programmer at Tribeca Film Festival.

Stuart Elliott, GSFF Submissions Viewers 2015-2017 and commercials and short film director.

Sarah Neely, GSFF Symposium Organiser 2013,  Senior Lecturer at University of Stirling.

Corinne Orton, GFF Producer 2012-15, now Random Acts Tour Manager based at ICA, London.

Jen White, GSFF Festival Assistant 2010-2011, now Festivals and Projects Manager at Puppet Animation Scotland and Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival.

What film that you saw at GSFF has stuck with you, and why?

Jule: I really enjoyed being introduced to New York No Wave Cinema during the 2011 festival. I’ve encountered this work multiple times since, but nothing sticks in mind as much as seeing these films on a large screen in 16mm at the CCA.

Stuart: Prove Me Wrong by Laura Hermanides from GSFF16 was a recent stand out for me. It’s a doc about a 15 year old boy called Julius who is a bit too smart for his own good as he struggles to find his place in the world. It not only managed to give you an in-depth insight into Julius and his world in a short period of time, but Laura directed the hell out of it. He was such a fascinating subject, and the framing so inventive, that I was captivated from the first to last frame.

Sarah: A programme of films by Scottish women filmmakers programmed by artists Louise Crawford and Anne Vance. How wonderful to see work by Margaret Tait, Jenny Gilbertson, Louise Annand and Annabel Nicolson in the same programme – and many of the films on 16mm too!

Jen: The most memorable film I saw at GSFF was at the 2010 Closing Gala where Murray Grigor’s film Space and Light Revisited was presented. First created in 1972 Space and Light explores the recently finished modernist monolith that is St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross. I love modernist architecture and have visited St Peter’s many times – the chance to see the original film was an opportunity not to be missed in itself. However, with Space and Light Revisited, Grigor presents the original film alongside a modern exploration of the building, which at that time, 2009, was a crumbling ruin. The juxtaposition between the two films, where the 2009 film is a take by take replica, was incredibly affecting.

Corinne: 2014 was a standout year for me – it seemed like the festival had turned a corner and upped the ante in terms of what it aimed to deliver. Michelle Hannah’s Niteflights felt ambitious and bold and fresh – like we were all transported to an incredibly cool part of Berlin for the night when in reality it was a disused car park in Garnethill. I also loved the Mayer/Leyva screenings/event that year – the duo’s films were hilarious and thought provoking and sweet. You could tell how excited they were to have come all the way from Miami and it was awesome how totally in the spirit of the festival they were. Postmodem was a really cool film. I remember watching it in the office with some of the GSFF team before the festival and creasing ourselves, we couldn’t get enough.

What was your most memorable GSFF encounter? 

Jule: I worked for GSFF a year before I moved to New York, and I believe I had only just made the decision. At the festival I met filmmaker Greg Loser, from New York, who was there with his short, Death of a Pop Star He became my first friend when I moved, and during the six years I’ve lived there we’ve stayed friends and even worked on projects together. Greg is coincidentally back at GSFF this year with his wonderful short, The Last Leatherman of the Vale of Cashmere.

Stuart: The best thing about film festivals for me, other than the obvious screening of your work is meeting the other filmmakers. And I’m still in touch with quite a few filmos that I’ve met at GSFF. So it’s hard to pick just the one. Lame I know.

Sarah: The lovely Peter Jewell wearing a tartan scarf once belonging to Bill Douglas

Jen: Part of my role at GSFF was to coordinate the invited jurors to the festival, so being able to hang out with the likes of Ray Tintori and Miranda Pennell was amazing and has absolutely founded my interest in working with film and performance internationally. I think the funniest encounter was in 2010 when I had to rescue Ray Tintori from just outside The Art School Student Union at 3am where he had been defeated by Buckfast and £1 pints of Tennents. I had to call him around ten times the following morning to make sure he made it to that day’s screenings – always good for the jurors to get a real taste of Glasgow’s nightlife…

Tell me about your finest GSFF experiences…

Jule: On the final day of the festival I was, needless to say, happy but exhausted. I sneaked into the back of the theatre at CCA to rest my eyes for a bit, when Drew Wright (Wounded Knee) came on stage for a sound check. I had never heard his music before and was mesmerized. It was a very beautiful, calming moment, and his performance during closing night was extraordinary.

Stuart: Winning the audience award for The Pedestrian was an unexpected highlight.

Sarah: Hanna Tuulikki’s mesmerising performance of Away with the Birds against a backdrop of films from Scottish Screen Archive

Jen: I would say my most memorable experience was, alongside being able to work as Guest Coordinator for the festival, being able to programme a series of artists films during the festival itself. Back in 2010/11 I co-directed an artist collective called The Mutual and for the duration of GSFF we created a showcase of artist’s films in conjunction with LUX. This kickstarted a career in arts programming that still continues today in both film and performance. The artists included: Jonny Long, Jude Browning, Jamie Carter, Vickie McDonald, Max Swinton, Katie Gallacher and Jen Sykes.

The other, less film-related, but none the less memorable experience, was when I had to text Matt to let him know I’d be in late because my pet lizard, Wee Man, had almost drowned in the bath. I’m pretty sure he didn’t believe me, and rightly so given the nature of the story – but it was totally true! My flatmate at the time gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation and Wee Man the lizard LIVED.

By Amelia Seely