GSFF Blog: Short Films for Long Winter Nights

At time of writing, we’re one week past the final submissions deadline for GSFF19. The hectic times where the team hunker down in our bunker to whittle down the fantastic selection we received are very much upon us. Short films aplenty will grace our screens, and we’re sure there are some well-meaning yet heated debates to come.

But if you’re not lucky enough to work for GSFF and thus watch shorts to your heart’s content, don’t despair! There are plenty of opportunities to indulge your desires with a selection of programmes across Scotland.

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‘Stems’ by Ainslie Henderson

In conjunction with Anim18: A Celebration of British Animation, celebrated animator Ross Hogg has curated two excellent programmes of homegrown Scottish animation. On 20th November, the re-opened CCA in Glasgow will host a selection of more abstract pieces from renowned figures such as David ShrigleyLeslie KeenDonald Holwill and – marking her centenary – the legendary Orcadian filmmaker Margaret TaitOne week later on the 27th, the GFT will take over and exhibit Ross’ carefully selected collection of narrative animations. Works by Neil JackLizzy Hobbs and BAFTA winners Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson amongst others demonstrate a broad range of animation techniques, with several works exploring self-reflexivity in their approach to storytelling. Neither programme is to be missed, and will also be touring Scotland.

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Come the first weekend of December, we have two early Christmas presents for the short film aficionado. Festival director Matt Lloyd will be taking a selection box of GSFF18’s finest works to the North Pole Film Festival! Well, Cromarty actually, but it’s north to us… If you’re in the Highlands and missed out on our programme in March, now’s your chance. John MacFarlane’s Tony and the Bull – our Scottish Audience Award winner – and Strange Says the Angel, the Bill Douglas Award holder from celebrated Canadian cinematographer Shalimar Preuss, will be amongst the films on show on the Black Isle. On the 2nd of December we’ll also be at the Scottish Youth Theatre in sunny Glasgow. No, we’re not rolling back the years and treading the boards. We’re delighted to be presenting Looking at Others – a programme examining and considering the ethics of the gaze (be it tourist, filmmaker or audience) – in partnership with Document Film Festival (whose talented festival co-producer happens to also be our own festival producer, Sanne Jehoul).

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‘Salt & Sauce’ by Alia Ghafar

Throughout the month the Shorts in Support programme will be in full flow across the country. Supported by Film Hub Scotland, we’re taking a superb assortment of Scottish films to cinemas all over and reviving the dying art of the ‘supporting short’. Be it Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Stirling or even Skye, we’ll be showing some top-notch films ahead of the participating cinemas’ feature presentations. For example, the 2018 GSFF Scottish Short Film award-winning Salt & Sauce will be playing at the GFT ahead of their screenings of Anna and the Apocalypse from St Andrew’s Day (30th November).

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And of course Hans Lucas will be back in December with Blueprint, his successful quarterly medley of DIY homegrown short films. Showcasing the best that Scotland has to offer in the realm of micro-budget filmmaking, Hans has hand-picked some superb films for December’s screening that will be sure to enthral another big crowd come the 13th. 

So if you’re just that excited by the prospect of GSFF19 but can’t wait until March to get your fix, we truly do have you covered. And unlike Christmas advent calendar chocolate, we can pretty much guarantee that indulging this December will not spoil your appetite for the main course. Happy viewing!

Andrew Kane Festival Assistant