Glasgow Film Festival 2021 Announces Full Program

Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) has announced the full programme for its 2021 festival, with screenings hosted on Glasgow Film’s new online viewing platform Glasgow Film At Home. The programme contains 6 World premieres, 2 European premieres and 49 UK premieres.

Originally planned as a hybrid in-cinema and online festival, GFF21 will now take place online only, due to the lockdown restrictions affecting most of Scotland and the rest of the UK. The festival will open on Wednesday 24 February with Lee Isaac Chung’s autobiographical drama following a Korean-American family Minari, starring The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun, and close on Sunday 7 March with Suzanne Lindon’s debut feature Spring Blossom, a coming-of-age tale set against a dreamy Parisian backdrop.

Scottish highlights

The festival welcomes back Scottish filmmaker Anthony Baxter (Flint, GFF 2020) for the World premiere of Eye of the Storm, which follows one of Scotland’s most gifted painters, James Morrison, through the last two years of his life. With animation from Catriona Black and a soundtrack from Karine Polwart, the result is a fond, affectionate portrait of the man and his legacy. The festival will include the UK premiere of Creation Stories . Written by Irvine Welsh and starring GFF favourite Ewen Bremner, Creation Stories charts the rise of the infamous founder of Creation Records, Alan McGee. Directed by Nick Moran, the incredible cast includesJason Isaacs, Suki Waterhouse and Rebecca Root. Creation Stories will be available on Sky Cinema from March 20. Yer Old Faither, from Adelaide Fringe director Heather Croall receives its UK premiere. Narrated by playwright and actor Gary McNair, it explores the life of her father, Glaswegian John Croall, who moved to Australia in 1970 and bought hundreds of children into the world as a local obstetrician.Stacey Lee’s uplifting documentary Underplayed is an intimate and revealing look at gender inequality in the electronic dance music scene, which features the city of Glasgow and local DJ Nightwave. David Whitney’s Killing Escobar reconstructs Scottish mercenary and ex-SAS operative Peter McAleese’s mission to assassinate Pablo Escobar, as McAleese, now 78, reflects on his demons. Bridging the Gap – Turbulence will showcase four shorts from the Scottish Documentary Institute’s emerging talent initiative including: Against the Tide; Harmonic Spectrum; Racing Stock and Venus & Mars. They are joined by Limbo, which was supported by the BFI Film Fund and is the second feature from Scottish director Ben Sharrock and the first feature film to ever shoot in Uist – a wry, bewitching comedy following a Syrian refugee ( Amir El-Masry) who finds himself in a refugee centre on a remote Scottish island; and an extended edition of Iorram (Boat Song), the first feature documentary filmed entirely in Scottish Gaelic. Directed by the award-winning Alastair Cole and with an original score composed and performed by folk musician Aidan O’Rourke, it is a haunting evocation of life among the fishing communities of the Outer Hebrides.

GFF21 will open with a screening of Minari

Spring Blossom will close the festival on  the 7th March 2021

World and European Premieres

Glasgow Film Festival continues to bring impressive World premieres to its audiences through their online platform. Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché brings to screen the life of ‘one of the least conventional front-persons in rock history’: Poly Styrene, founder of acclaimed punk band X-Ray Spex, co-directed by her daughter, Celeste Bell, and PaulSng. In Luke White’s documentary, Handsome, Nicholas Bourne and his brother Alex set off on a journey to meet other siblings with Down’s Syndrome, as Nicholas prepares to become Alex’s full-time, dedicated carer.Marly Morrison’s knockout debut feature Sweetheart charts the relationship between two young women during a summer holiday; Darragh Carey andBertrand Desrochers debut A Brixton Tale is a star-crossed romance confronting class, race and love in modern Britain; and Philippe McKie’s Dreams On Fire explores the underground dance community in Tokyo.

In 2010, former member of the Air National Guard and hacktivist Matt DeHart claimed the FBI had fabricated charges to silence him, later seeking political asylum in Canada. Sonia Kennebeck’s spellbinding documentary Enemies of the State receives its European premiere at GFF, using expert testimony, hard evidence and dramatised reconstructions to uncover a truth that is ‘rarely pure and never simple’.

Receiving its world premiere at GFF 21 is Handsome starring Alex and Nicholas Bourne

UK Premieres

GFF will host 49 UK premieres including The Mauritanian, directed by Kevin Macdonald and based on the best-selling memoir by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, which tells the story of Slahi (played by Tahar Rahim), who was held for years in Guantanamo Bay. Jodie Foster takes on Benedict Cumberbatch in this true-life courtroom drama. Further homegrown highlights from the UK include Welsh thrillerThe Toll, starring Michael Smiley as a contented toll booth operator whose past shows up to haunt him. The cast also includesAnnes Elwy and Iwan Rheon. Kate Dickie joins the cast of Chino Moya ’s Underdogs, set in a futuristic, dystopian Europe where stories and characters intertwine in the most doomed way possible. Set over 24 hours in London, Aneil Karia’s stripped-back thriller Surge sees Ben Wishaw give a standout performance that won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting at Sundance Film Festival. Twenty-five years on, Steelers follows the fortunes of the world’s first gay rugby team, The Kings Cross Steelers.

The Mauritanian recieves its UK premier

The Surge starring Ben Wishaw recieves its UK premier

Country Focus

This year, the festival turns their ever-popular Country Focus to South Korea, with five incredible UK premieres, including Our Midnight, the debut feature from director Jung-eun Lim. DirectorEui-jeong Hong’s Voices of Silence is a bittersweet crime caper about good people who do bad things, with an award-winning performance from Burning’s Yoo Ah-In. The Swordsman, from director Jae-Hoon Choi, blends epic fight scenes and heartfelt drama in a tale of skilled swordsman brought out of a life of hiding and seclusion for one last battle. In Da Capo, a struggling musician returns to his hometown and rediscovers his passion for music while helping a former bandmate coach a rock band made up by her music school pupils. Directed by Chan-yang Shim, it is a tale full of warmth and hope for music lovers everywhere. Finally, South Korea’s 2021 Oscar candidate The Man Standing Next from director Min-ho Woo is a tense conspiracy thriller set in the final days of President Park Chung-hee’s (Sung-min Lee) rule in 1979. Korean intelligence chief Kim Gyu-pyeong ( Byung-hun Lee) has sworn to serve, but his loyalty is tested to the limit in a key moment for South Korea’s history.

Arrow Video FrightFest

FrightFest returns to Glasgow Film Festival with six thrilling new titles for film fans looking for a good scare.American Badger, Kirk Caouette’s gritty and turbo-driven action thriller makes its European premiere. Five UK premieres complete the FrightFest programme, including Run Hide Fight, Kyle Rankin’s high school siege drama starring Isabel May; Out Of This World a compelling study of obsession from French director Marc Fouchard; Cody Calahan’s self-aware nostalgia-fest Vicious Fun which sees a film critic for a national horror magazine stumble into a secret, underground self-help group for serial killers; noir thrillerThe Woman With Leopard Shoes from debut directorAlexis Bruchon; and Christopher Alender’s The Old Ways, a terror tale taken from sinister Latin American folklore.

The Man Standing Next is screening on the 7th March

Da Capo is screening on the 27th February

Allison Gardner, CEO of Glasgow Film and Glasgow Film Festival Co-director, said: “Glasgow Film Festival 2021 may look different to previous years, but what has not changed is the quality of incredible films from across the world that we are bringing to our audiences. The programme is filled with gems, but a few of my highlights must include Ben Sharrock’s bewitching tale of a refugee in Scotland Limbo, charming coming-of-age romance Sweetheart, Mads Mikkelsen’s stand-out performance in Riders of Justice, stunning and compelling documentary BIG vs SMALL, and Gunda, a farmyard story of a sow and her piglets that will steal your heart.”

Sambrooke Scott, Screen Scotland’s Head of Audience Development said:

“Glasgow Film Festival is a beacon of light at the start of this new year. Despite the restrictions in place, the beating heart of what makes it great is a fantastic programme of film from around the world, with a particularly strong selection of great new Scottish work, put together by a passionate team which will excite and thrill audiences.

“The motto of the city is Let Glasgow Flourish and this great programme - which will now reach audiences far and wide - will ensure GFF flourishes in new and exciting ways.”

Audience Award nominees

The prestigious Audience Award – the only award given out at GFF and voted for by the festival audience – returns with six exceptional titles from first or second-time directors, 50% of which are from female filmmakers. The shortlist includes: Zoé Wittock’s intriguing Jumbo, starring Noémie Merlant from Portrait of a Lady on Fire as a young woman who works at an amusement park and falls in love with its newest attraction. Marly Morrison’s Sweetheart is a sharply observed coming-of-age story set at a holiday caravan park in Dorset. Lili Horvát’s Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time is a noir-tinged rumination on love and fate that travels from a New Jersey medical conference to the streets of Budapest. Nominated for International Critics Week Award at Venice, police thrillerShorta from directors Anders Ølholm and Frederik Louis Hviid explores tensions of stop and search and police brutality against a black teenager in Copenhagen’s notorious Svalegården ghetto. Winner of the Best Irish Film at Galway Film Fleadh, Redemptions of a Rogue is the first feature from playwright Philip Doherty and among the blackest of comedies. Documentary Castro’s Spies from directors Ollie Aslin and Gary Lennon features in-depth interviews with the Cuban Five, an elite group of undercover agents operating out of Florida and hailed as the last soldiers of the Cold War.

The Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award 2021 is sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne and the winner will be revealed online on March 7.

Tickets for the programme will go on sale at noon on Monday 18 January at . Titles will be available to view between 24 February and 7 March on online platform Glasgow Film At Home ( ), Glasgow Film’s streaming site, launched last year to provide a curated offering of titles available to watch online. It is free to create an account and users can pre-order the GFF21 premieres they want to watch during the festival.