GSFF20 Online Day 2: New Land Broken Road + The Last Mermaid

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GSFF Thursday, 11am – traditionally the slot for our Short Stuff screening for parents and babies. A (mostly) soothing start to the first full day of the festival. Although a relaxed screening, it’s when the team is still very much on edge, waiting for guests to arrive and sorting out logistics. It’s the day we welcome students from across Scotland’s film courses to our Film Schools Day to have their work evaluated by industry experts; when our festival hub at Civic House starts to come alive; and when our jury heads into their first screening. 

This year, we were also looking forward to drinks kindly provided by the High Commission of Canada in support of Natasha Ruwona’s programme By These Presents: First Nations Performance Shorts. Our first Scottish Competition programme would have screened in a buzzing CCA Theatre, and LUX Scotland and Independent Cinema Office were set to present Second Sight: New Commissions, with fresh works from artists including Onyeka Igwe and Ayo Akingbade, who we were looking forward to welcoming to the festival. GMAC was to present the first women-focused Café Flicker, and we’d close our Thursday with a lot of laughs in For Shorts and Giggles.

To compensate, today’s two #GSFF20online shorts will hopefully bring you some beauty, joy and laughter. The first comes from our International Competition. We are thrilled to present one of our absolute favourites of the year, Cambodian filmmaker Kavich Neang’s New Land Broken Road, produced under the Anti-Archive banner.

Kavich visited GSFF in 2018, as part of our focus on Southeast Asian cinema. His wonderful debut feature Last Night I Saw You Smiling was released in 2019, and went on to screen at Document Film Festival here in Glasgow. This new short tells the story of three hip-hop dancers in Phnom Penh who practice their Michael Jackson moves, talk about their dreams, and finally end up at a late-night snack stand with screaming neon colours. New Land Broken Road is almost painfully gorgeous, and we can’t wait to show it on the big screen where it belongs. For now, enjoy, and read our chat with Kavich here


Closer to home, taken from our For Shorts and Giggles programme, Fi Kelly’s rambunctious The Last Mermaid stars Janey Godley as Pearl, a vape-smoking, whisky-swigging middle-aged mermaid who reluctantly embarks on a series of blind dates to save her race from extinction. Sanjeev Kohli is Himesh, regular client of her aquatic fantasy sex-line. An unexpected gem, showcasing the take-no-prisoners verbal dexterity of Scotland’s favourite Trump-baiter.


We’d like to take this opportunity to express our extreme gratitude to Sean Welsh of Matchbox Cineclub. Sean created captions for D/deaf and hard of hearing viewers for all our Scottish competition titles and several other programmes, and on hearing of this online mini-fest only yesterday, he volunteered his time to caption the remaining titles in the line-up. He completed New Land Broken Road in record time, although the Khmer rapping defeated him…

If you are enjoying this brief series of films, and would like to help us bring back the festival in August, please consider donating to GSFF at the link below. Catch up with the latest day of #GSFF20online here.