Farewell 2023: Looking Back at Team GSFF’s Shorts of the Year

And hello 2024! Happy New Year to all of you, we hope you had a wonderful and restful festive period.

As we kick off the new year, we want to take a moment to thank you for all the support and encouragement you shared with us in 2023 . We loved every minute of #GSFF23 and we can’t wait to announce programme plans for our 17th edition (20 – 24 March 2024).

It’s been a really special year for shorts. Scroll down to see some exceptional titles, handpicked by our wee team.

Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free

We will continue to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and call for their safety and liberation, and we encourage you to do so as well. Our collective action is important, and we leave you with these suggested actions over the coming period:

Call for ceasefire

Use your platforms to make a stance (see Making Statements: Not a Risk for Charities)

Read/sign the Open Letter to the Short Film Industry

Stay informed through activist organisations and groups for details on how to protest, strike and sign petitions

Donate to Medical Aid for Palestinians

Flores del otro Patio

Dir. Jorge Cadena

“Our 2023 International Audience Award winner depicts a group of queer activists protesting the devastating exploitation of the Rancheria river in La Guajira, northern Colombia, for coal mining. A riot of light, colour, performance and costume, Flores del otro Patio is nevertheless grounded in the very timely reminder that too often it is left to the most marginalised in society to challenge the might of capital that threatens us all, putting themselves at great personal risk in the process. Cadena’s film is both celebratory and sobering, a deserved winner of multiple jury awards this year.”

Matt Lloyd, Festival Director

Pacific Club

Dir. Valentin Noujaïm

“A film that keeps lingering in my mind since the first time I saw it in May, is Valentin Noujaïm’s Pacific Club. I was pleased to, along with my co-jurors, award it Best Short Documentary at Dokufest in August. Here’s what we said about the film then:

A film that demonstrates genuine care and empathy towards its character. Through testimony, digital visualisations and performance, it aims to preserve the memory of a once crucial space for a still marginalised community, a space whose physical traces have disappeared amidst urban capitalism. Its dazed atmospheric setting at night and the break of dawn evokes loss and remembrance, giving room to the complexities of the space’s history, the joys and tragedies.

I love the way Noujaïm captured the urban landscape, shots that are both dreamlike and gloomy and that hold both nostalgia and oppression within them. I hope many more people get to see it, and am excited that Noujaïm’s newest short has been selected to premiere at IFF Rotterdam this January.

A filmmaker to keep our eyes on.”

Sanne Jehoul, Programme Director

Voice of the Land

Dir. Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca

“I actually first saw this at the MASP at the end of last year, but it’s been great to see it doing the doing the rounds through 2023, not just at festivals but in activist community contexts as well like the 9 de Julho housing occupation in São Paulo. Centring the work of the radical Banzeiros community theatre collective with little intervention, it’s such a powerful example of committed and collaborative filmmaking. It also showcases so eloquently the importance of art and culture for activist groups to make sense of their oppression, and by extension to take control of media narratives which criminalise and dehumanise people fighting for those most basic of collective rights— the rights to land, to a home, and to freedom from violent dispossession.”

Oisín Kealy, Festival Coordinator

Ice Merchants

Dir. João Gonzalez

“One film from GSFF23 that resonates most vividly is Ice Merchants, directed by João Gonzalez. Ice Merchants is an animation about a father and son selling ice; performing a repetitive routine of extraordinary feats. The wordless conveyance of loss shown through their never used (but often considered) yellow mug is a poignant comment on the presence of spirits that live in memory. As the film develops, the presence grows stronger and magical realism takes over. Shown as part of the ‘Family Shorts’ program, I thought Ice Merchants served as a reminder of the need for film as a medium for processing real life emotions.”

Frieda Ford, Trainee Producer


Dir. Isabel Garrett

A short that keeps playing on my mind this year is Bod by Isabel Garret. I saw this as part of our late-night animation strand ‘Welcome to the Multiverse’ at #GSFF23 and left feeling very moved by its tenderness. It’s a film that feels like a hug (which we could all use this year) which functions as a soft but vital reminder to look inside ourselves for kindness and strength.

Natalie Peteranna, Marketing Manager

Our staff are back and we are kicking down the door of 2024 with big plans for this years festival, along with other amazing events. If you haven’t already, sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with all things GSFF.

Photo credits:

Flores del otro Patio, Jorge Cadena

Pacific Club, Valentin Noujaïm

Voice of the Land, Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca

Ice Merchants, João Gonzalez

Bod, Isabel Garrett

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