About » History


The first short film weekend at Glasgow Film Festival was established in 2008 by short film exhibitor The Magic Lantern, in partnership with the Centre for Contemporary Arts. The programme was curated by Rosie Crerar and Penelope Bartlett. Based around a film commission and exhibition by artist Sarah Tripp the programme consisted of screenings of new work and retrospectives alongside panel discussions and a unique sculptural videotheque designed by Robert Orchardson.

The event has since grown to become Scotland’s leading competitive short film festival. We have presented unique retrospectives on subjects as diverse as New York No Wave and Cinema of Transgression films of the 1970s and 80s, the Ukrainian collective Babylon’13, the New Orleans-based collective Court 13, music promos drawn from the Glasgow music scene of the last three decades, local director Zam Salim, US artists Miranda July and Jennifer Reeder, and Japanese filmmakers Naomi Kawase and Takashi Ito. The festival has also played a key part in the creation of LUX Scotland. GSFF collaborates with a range of partners across Glasgow’s art, film and music scenes to provide an annual informal meeting point for local and international emerging filmmakers and the local audience.

2010 saw the introduction of a jury prize, awarding inspiration and innovation in new cinema, and a sharp rise in the number of filmmaker guests in attendance. In 2012 we introduced a second competition dedicated to Scottish filmmaking, making GSFF the largest showcase of new work in Scotland, and in 2014 the festival moved its core international competition to Glasgow Film Theatre’s new state of the art third screen. The following year, GSFF made a decisive change of date from February to March, finally distinguishing the festival from its mother Glasgow Film Festival. Attendance rose by 42%.

GSFF has earned an international reputation for quality curation. This is reflected in the increasing numbers of international filmmakers, talent spotters and festival programmers who attend each year. GSFF has been invited to collaborate with festivals and exhibitors in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and across the UK.

Glasgow Short Film Festival became an independent Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) in August 2019. In March 2020 GSFF was the first major Scottish arts event to be postponed – at five days notice – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A revised programme went online that August, including an all-singing all-dancing opening ceremony. A second online edition was delivered in March 2021.