Announcing the GSFF 2021 Programme

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In Dog Years, dir. by Sophy Romvari

We’re delighted to announce the full programme for Glasgow Short Film Festival’s 14th edition. GSFF21 will take place online 22-28 March.

Alongside the previously announced GSFF21 Scottish Short Film Award and the Bill Douglas Award for International Short Film, the 14th edition of the festival will reflect on our last year spent in lockdown, with new programmes No New NormalBig Dog Energy and Locked Down generating contemplation, conversation and comfort. Amongst other surprises, the Opening Programme will include Screening Rooms, a specially commissioned film by Jessica McGoff, (one of Sight & Sound’s video essayists of 2020), reflecting on the experience of attending online festivals.

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The Cat in the Art Park, dir. by Herian Kim

Barbed Wire Love: Artists, Filmmakers and their North of Ireland Troubles, curated by Peter Taylor (Director of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival) and artist and filmmaker Myrid Carten, initially scheduled to screen at the cancelled 13th edition, is presented in the centenary year of Irish partition. Natasha Thembiso Ruwona presents a new chapter of Black Spatial Imaginaries, a programme initiated in 2020 and exploring Black geographies. Accompanying Black Spatial Imaginaries Pt. 2 will be a live set by Glasgow-based DJ, Plantainchipps

Regular GSFF collaborators, Matchbox Cineclub, will present a trio of works by cult Canadian auteur John Paizs. This will be an opportunity for audiences to see Paizs’ trilogy The Three Worlds of Nick (1982-4), written, directed, shot, edited, designed by and starring Paizs himself. 

Regular GSFF strands will also return. A new selection of European Film Academy nominated films brings critically acclaimed titles from across Europe to UK audiences, while GSFF’s ever-popular Family Shorts is expanding into two programmes for 2021: one suitable for all ages and one suitable for over 7s. Meanwhile, Scared Shortless and For Shorts & Giggles should satisfy your hunger for late-night thrills and laughs. A special addition to GSFF21’s Late Night programme, Bangers & Mosh, will transport audiences into messy, sweaty parties and mosh pits. We’re delighted that The Skinny, our official media partner for 2021, is supporting this programme. 

As previously announced, 2021 marks the tenth anniversary of GSFF’s Bill Douglas Award. In this tenth year of the award, we revisit the previous nine winning films, alongside new interviews between each filmmaker and a member of the jury that selected their film. These interviews will be available on Glasgow Short Film Festival’s brand-new podcast, released in installments before and during this year’s festival, and soon to be available on the GSFF website and all major podcast platforms. The podcast is produced by Halina Rifai from Glasgow Podcart and A Sonic Hug.

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Earth Mother Sky Father, dir. by Kordae Jatafa Henry

Here’s a breakdown of GSFF21 programme highlights:


A three-part strand addressing the last twelve months’ reflections and realities about labour, working conditions, care, surveillance, control and the potential of other worlds, including programmes Absurdity of LabourMonitored, and Alt Worlds. Find GSFF alumni such as Jennifer Reeder, Neozoon and Zaheed Mawani as well as recent works by established artists such as Adrian Melis, Maija Blåfield and Kordae Jatafa Henry. Available over the entire festival week. 


This new chapter continues the conversation of space as it relates to the Black experience and asks – who is allowed to inhabit the land, move freely, tell stories, speak truths, survive, thrive? From the secret routes of the Underground Railroad in the USA, to the Black history bubbling just under the surface of Scottish history, via Senagelese farming practices and queer Black communities of Brazil, there is a solace that can be found in recognising that stories of desire, kinship, lostness, displacement, can be traced across and through lands.  

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Hush-A-Bye-Baby, dir. by Margo Harkin


Half a century since the commencement of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, Barbed Wire Love presents intimate tales from those who stayed, those who left and those who passed through. Sisters and brothers, those who danced at raves, those who had good intentions and those who did not. Chance encounters, intimate first-person cinema and the unreliability of history and biography create space for wry humour and tiny ecstasies.


A programme celebrating dogs in all their complex simplicity, providing you with a virtual canine lockdown companion. Avoiding the grim or the grisly, these films look to both the sublime and the ridiculous, with dogs acting as philosophers, spirit guides, model, labourers and metaphors. Available over the entire festival week for instant dog therapy.

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Oak, Ivy & Other Dead Elms, dir. by John Paizs


As boredom and confinement fuels creative bursts of energy, we present five films made under lockdown conditions, that also directly address the experience of lockdown in undeniably cinematic ways.


Made on a shoestring, with a non-professional skeleton cast and crew, John Paizs’ trilogy is a masterclass in no-budget invention, made with a wit and poise that seems to anticipate the work of Roy Andersson and the compromised sincerity of Blue Velvet-era David Lynch.


Evoking the sweaty, physical intimacy of a messy night out, Bangers & Mosh provides the visceral thrills as the viewer is dragged through clubs and after parties, from an astonishingly pitch-perfect recreation of a 1991 illegal warehouse rave to the nihilistic hedonism of Bogota’s drug scene, and the world premiere of a new work by Glasgow’s own James Price (Boys Night, GSFF 2021 trailer). 

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Zopa – Diamonds into Dust, dir. by James Price

The full festival programme can be found here.

All GSFF21 programmes, including Q&As, will be captioned for D/deaf and Hard of Hearing audiences. This year’s edition will continue to implement a Pay What You Can sliding scale for passes with the aim of improving access and inclusion. 

Passes are now available for GSFF21. Click here for more information and subscribe to GSFF’s newsletter to stay up-to-date with all festival news.