Image for Scottish Competition 2: Branches (N/C 15+)


Scottish Competition 2: Branches (N/C 15+)

25 March


Scottish Competition 2: Branches

Fri 25 March | 18.15 | CCA Theatre

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In Born in Damascus, filmmaker Laura Wadha reaches out to reconnect with her Syrian cousin, who she hasn’t spoken to for ten years, their lives taking separate paths during the war. As they piece together their memories of Syria, they begin to wonder, “What happened to our family?”

With its excellent use of archive, this poignant and topical desktop documentary establishes one of the key themes which divaricates through Branches: families; the families we’re born into and the families we make for ourselves. These films form around the tensions between what the writer Armistead Maupin calls our biological families and our logical families, the families that actually make sense to us.

Tensions between biological families run deep through Kin, Ruby Cedar’s intimate and ambitious portrait of the fractured relationship between a mother and daughter in crisis, where daughter Sam often feels like a parent to her parent. In Sean Lìonadh’s Too Rough, with its rich and complex dysfunctional family, we see what can happen when the families we’re born into and the families we make for ourselves collide. In Shaun Hughes’ Life of Riley, it’s a beloved dog that becomes the logical – and only – family for our protagonist, who has to navigate taking responsibility for his actions alongside the loss of his beloved companion.

Less directly, perhaps, is Field Notes on Love, a lyrical and poetic essay about a filmmaker in a relationship with a woodland ecologist, but even here we explore the human desire to sort, to quantify, to name the interconnected families of trees, lichens and mosses of the forest.

Branches ends with The Bayview, a warm, intimate documentary from Daniel Cook, with an extraordinary family at its centre. On the North East coast of Scotland, the previously derelict Bayview hotel has become a place of respite and found family for international fishermen when they come to land. The Bayview, a rich and profound portrait of a place and its people, is a testament to these logical families, when you’ve travelled from one side of the world to another and you’ve found the people you want to spend time with, the people who just make sense.

Michael Lee Richardson 

This screening has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

The Scottish Audience Award is sponsored by Film City Glasgow. Audiences will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite to win the Audience Award.

All films captioned for d/Deaf viewers. There will be a BSL-interpreted Q&A with the filmmakers after the screening.


This programme also screens online. Follow the link to view on demand for the duration of the festival.

Description of image

Born in Damascus

After ten years apart, a Scottish filmmaker tries to reconnect with her Syrian cousin, their paths separated by war.


In a mother-daughter relationship where the roles are often reversed, 16-year-old Sam lashes out in order to hold onto some semblance of control.

Too Rough

​After a night of intoxication, a hungover and hysterical Nick wakes up next to his boyfriend Charlie.

Life of Riley

A headstrong homeless man must take responsibility for his own actions after his beloved dog, and only companion, is seriously injured.

Field Notes on Love

An essay about human relationships and woodland ecology, charting the relationship between a filmmaker and an ecologist.

The Bayview

An intimate glimpse into the lives of a mobile fishing community.

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