Announcing: Glasgow Short Film Festival’s 2020 award winners

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The award winners of the 12th and a half edition of Glasgow Short Film Festival were announced this evening during our online Closing Ceremony. 

The Bill Douglas Award for International Short Film was decided by an international jury made up of Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur programmer and curator, Delphine Jeanneret, Thai filmmaker, sound technician and foley artist, Sorayos Prapapan, and Finnish documentary filmmaker and 2019 Bill Douglas Award for International Short Film winner, Laura Rantanen. They chose 3 Logical Exits directed by Mahdi Fleifel as the 2020 Bill Douglas Award for International Short Film winner. A sociological meditation on the different ‘exits’ young Palestinians choose in order to cope with life in the refugee camps, 3 Logical Exits’ subject, Reda, was also the subject of Fleifel’s previous film, A Man Returned.

They said: After decades of filming on the alleys of a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, the director still finds no reason from his topic. “When it comes to the Palestinians in Lebanon, there is no logic. If you try to make sense of it, you understand nothing.” 3 Logical Exits is an honest and sincere film about the human condition in circumstances of no future perspectives, beyond logic. The film is a valuable reminder of forgotten tragedies and reveals the artist’s smallness beside his huge topic. The film asks, where do you get after trying out all the possible exits? Well, if you are a Palestinian in Lebanon, you get to the point where you first started.

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Special Mention went to All Movements Should Kill the Wind directed by Wang Yuyan about men, two hundred kilometers from Beijing, living among rocks waiting to be broken, cut and sanded.

The jury said: Valuable marble sculptures are erected to give powerful men and the structures they represent immortality. The marble itself is sanded by workers who age too early and are no longer able to be washed clean of dust. All Movements Should Kill the Wind is a beautiful and meditative journey through a world of stillness and movement, power and oppression. The experimental form of the film parallels the act of editing to sculpting, the immortal film time to a sculptor. All Movements Should Kill the Wind makes no statements, asks no straight questions. Still it encourages the viewer to ponder, find meanings from the details.

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The Audience Award for International Short Film with the highest votes from the festival audience went to Daughter directed by Daria Kashcheeva, a tender film about a daughter recalling a childhood moment when she tried to share her experience of an injured bird with her father.

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The 2020 Scottish Short Film Award was decided by a jury made up of art and film critic, programmer and curator, Nicolas Feodoroff, programme director and coordinator of Leuven International Short Film Festival, Vincent Langouche, and Network Ireland Television’s sales and acquisitions executive, Sadhbh Murphy. They selected Betty, directed by Will Anderson, in which an animator tries to make sense of a failed relationship as the Scottish Short Film Award winner. 

They said: This film is its own unique thing, it’s complete and nothing feels off. It’s very playful and inviting, and when it gets emotional it takes a step back. By showing the technical aspects of making the film, you feel a strong connection to the filmmaker and their personal story seeping through the commentary. The zooming and clicking amplify this, while also creating a unique and desolate atmosphere. The filmmaker also plays with narrative and visual codes, by mixing several different genres, game and theory. Its witty meta-humour balances perfectly with the sad tone of the film. The simplistic style and bright colours contrast nicely with the emotional depth. Ever so small movements and clever sound design (and music) convey these emotions very well. It all builds an indescribable and humoristic way of having fun with the expectations of the spectator. It’s impressive how tearing everything down and building it up again, multiple times, works so well in engaging the audience. “Where is the butter?”, this film is the butter!

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Scottish Short Film Award Special Mention went to Kingdom Come, directed by Sean Robert Dunn, in which an expectant father’s domestic bliss is violently shattered when his community enacts a crude form of mob-like justice based on his transgressions.

They said: For its original way of approaching a contemporary and widespread social phenomenon, its visually interesting choices keep the viewer on their feet, not knowing where this trip will take us. The composition of the shots and the editing set the tone of the film, which is almost hypnotising as the tension slowly builds. This is truly a suspense filled drama, in the way a seemingly perfect family unit gradually unravels into a disturbing nightmare, which keeps the viewer on edge to the end. It is definitely worthy of the Special Mention prize at this year’s festival.

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The Audience Award for Scottish Competition with the highest votes from the festival audience went to Boys Night directed by James Price. A semi-autobiographical tale, Boys Night is about an eleven-year-old boy who has to brave the night time wilderness of North East Glasgow to shepherd his drunk father home safely.

For full International and Scottish jury biographies click here.

The Production Attic Short Film Pitch Award, which gives emerging filmmakers the opportunity to pitch for in kind equipment hire and a small cash bursary to realise their ideas, was also announced by a jury made up of media artist and animation freelancer, Patrick Buhr, Creative Director of Production Attic, Matthew Cowan, and programmer and film scholar, Vanja Ødegård. They chose Groom by Laura McBride and Leyla Josephine as the winner. 

They said: There were three very strong pitches, thank you to the filmmakers for sharing with us, we really enjoyed hearing your plans and wish all of the filmmakers the best of luck. We are very happy to reward this year’s Production Attic Short film Pitch to Groom by Laura McBride and Leyla Josephine. Groom explores the dark side of a relationship between an older woman and a teenage girl. Staged in a beauty salon, it gives room to a vast potential of aesthetic play that literally and figuratively peels of the skin. Between body horror and unmasked social study, we hope to see a visceral short about the consequences of abusive power. We felt the subject matter was both relevant and not something we have seen a lot of and felt that the filmmakers really understood and conveyed exactly what they wanted to create. Groom has a strong point of view and a fresh angle to the ongoing debate about gender and power. Their dynamic circles around toxicity and the need to push others down to feel empowered themself. With an interesting approach to editing and references to films such as Eight Grade and Suspiria, we trust the artistic vision of this project, as well as the theme of the film. Not only was the style and tone clear but the practicalities of filming had been thought through. We look forward to seeing what they produce.

Glasgow Short Film Festival 2020 ran from 17-23 August and was supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

The 14th edition of Glasgow Short Film Festival will take place 24-28 March 2021. The call for submissions is currently open