Glasgow Film Festival Reports Bumper 2023 Event

God's CreaturesThe Glasgow Film Festival – which closed on Sunday 12 March 2023 – has reported a fantastic increase in attendees this year.

Cinema admissions increased by 25% on last year, with all three special event screenings (the first special events since 2020) selling out.  In total, 33,667 people attended 295 film screenings and events over 12 days at Glasgow Film Theatre, plus CCA, Cineworld, Glee Club, QMU, Festival Hub and Delegate Centres and community venues.

The 19th edition of GFF opened and closed with sold-out gala premieres of debut features directed by exciting new UK female filmmakers – Adura Onashile’s Glasgow-shot Girl and Nida Manzoor’s Polite Society – and welcomed a host of famous faces onto the red-carpet including Emily Watson, Kelly Macdonald, James Cosmo, Joely Richardson and Alistair McGowan.

Adura Onashile, writer-director Girl, spoke to the GFF red carpet film crew: “I am pinching myself, really. This story started from Glasgow and to present it here feels like we’ve come full circle. GFT knocks the pants off Sundance, any day! These are the people that I want to impress, that I want to feel connected to the film”.GFF Industry Focus welcomed 600 press and industry delegates (a return to pre-pandemic attendance levels) for four days of discussion, networking and skills sharing.

2023 also marked festival co-director Allan Hunter’s last year at the festival, since his first GFF in 2007. His ever-popular series of morning retrospectives for GFF23 welcomed the largest audience in its history, with over 2000 people watching classic movies for free on the big screen.

Emily Watson, of God’s Creatures, told the GFF red carpet film crew: “It feels so cool to be having the UK premiere of this movie, which is so special to me, here in this festival where it feels like there’s a young, modern, fresh feeling about interesting films. It’s places like this, where people come out arguing and talking about movies and having a communal experience, that are giving film life”.

I Like MoviesGFF audiences also voted on the prestigious Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award. The only award presented at the festival, it is decided from a handpicked selection of ten films by first or second time directors and the 2023 winner was announced as Riceboy Sleeps. The drama about a Korean single mother raising her son in 1990s Canada earned writer-director Anthony Shim the prestigious Award, which was sponsored for the first time by Belhaven Brewery.

Carol Morley, director Typist Artist Pirate King, speaking to the GFF red carpet film crew: “I love the festival, because the festival is for people, it is for audiences, they believe in people. And I feel like with Glasgow, everyone here loves film… it’s about films that change people’s lives and films that connect with people, so it’s always been very special when I’ve come”.

Glasgow Film Festival will return in 2024 with dates announced soon and the full programme revealed in January 2024.

You can catch all of the Moviescramble coverage of the Glasgow Film Festival here.

Mary Munoz
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