GSFF20 Online Day 4: The Heavy Burden + Boys Night

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For those of you in self-isolation who have already lost track of what day it is: the weekend’s here!

Ironically, one of today’s first events would have been an industry panel on Festival Networks in a Time of Crisis, during which we planned to reflect on the sustainability of what we do, whether that be related to climate change or, y’know, global pandemics. One small positive to emerge from this situation is that this conversation is taking place throughout the festival circuit right now, and we are already seeing the first creative, collaborative responses – check out My Darling Quarantine Short Film Festival for example.

Today would also have seen the first part of Black Spatial Imaginaries, a strand curated by our wonderful Film Hub Scotland New Promoter Natasha Ruwona, which was to include a performance by rapper Nova Scotia The Truth. We were looking forward to The Skinny’s Best of the Decade programme, and the first screening of our focus on Thai filmmaker Sorayos Prapapan. And tonight should have been a belter, with this year’s key music/film crossover event, the UK premiere of Felix in Wonderland, a collaboration between filmmaker Marie Losier and German avant-garde electronic musician Felix Kubin, after which Felix was set to play live in the Glue Factory, supported by Glasgow’s own Babe.

Ours wouldn’t have been the only dance party in town tonight. 21 March is Newroz, the Kurdish new year, and the Kurdish community of Glasgow had planned extensive celebrations, wisely cancelling a full week before we did. To mark the occasion, we present The Heavy Burden by Yılmaz Özdil. Taking refuge with his uncle in Turkey, a young Kurd from war-ridden Syria makes the decision to return across the border to retrieve his donkey when the municipality officially retires his uncle’s old donkey. What begins as a mildly satirical narrative of small town bureaucracy becomes a lament for all those swept up in conflict and widespread tragedy. 


Meanwhile, banging tunes and Saturday night excess: our Scottish pick comes from festival favourite James Price, who won the Scottish Audience Award at GSFF15 with Dropping Off Michael, and who this year had two new films in the programme: 48 Hour Film Project winner Spiral in late night showcase Scared Shortless, and the fantastic Boys Night, in Scottish Competition 2: I’ll Take Care of You.

A semi-autobiographical story of social distancing (sort of) set in North East Glasgow, Boys Night follows young Reese trying to get his drunken Da home safely in a perfectly balanced mélange of social realism and comedy. Price is developing a unique voice as a writer/director, rooted in Scottish filmmaking traditions, but with a rare genuine sensibility for no-nonsense authenticity and emotional punch. 


Today we’d like to thank the guest curators of GSFF20 – people with incredible passion and knowledge who came up with fresh and exciting programming for our 13th edition. 

We hope we can bring their work to you in August, but meanwhile, our heartfelt love and thanks goes to Peter Taylor and Myrid Carten, curators of Barbed Wire Love: Artists and Their North of Ireland Troubles; Megan Mitchell and Sean Welsh of Matchbox Cineclub, who were set to present Girl In The Picture: The Youth Films of Nobuhiko Ôbayashi as well as Ôbayashi’s cult horror classic House; Jamie Dunn at The Skinny for selecting some of his Best of the Decade Scottish shorts; and Sophie Cavoulacos, Assistant Curator at MoMA, who selected works from across Marie Losier’s two-decade long career for a showcase programme Marie Losier in Revue.

We really hope you are enjoying #GSFF20online. We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please get in touch via social media or at And please consider donating to GSFF at the link below – any amount at all will make a difference in bringing back our programme this summer. Thank you, stay safe and catch up with the latest day of #GSFF20online here.