One of the UK’s largest film festivals, GFF23 will host 70 UK premieres, 6 World premieres, 16 European/International premieres and 6 Scottish premieres at Glasgow Film Theatre and venues across the city.
The festival opens with the UK premiere of Adura Onashile’s Glasgow-shot feature debut Girl and closes with the UK premiere of Nida Manzoor’s riotous action comedy Polite Society
World and European premieres include Schitt’s Creek and The Rig star Emily Hampshire’s new romcom The End of Sex, the return of ‘the Springburn Scorsese’ James Price with Dog Days, and Jena Malone’s Isle of Skye-shot horror Consecration.
UK premieres include Kelly Macdonald and Monica Dolan in Carol Morley’s acclaimed Typist Artist Pirate King; Paul Mescal and Emily Watson disrupting a close knit community in God’s Creatures; Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton charting the rise and fall of a tech giant in Blackberry; Nicolas Cage as a seasoned buffalo hunter in Butcher’s Crossing; and electrifying climate crisis thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline.
Marking GFF Co-Director Allan Hunter’s final festival, he will host a free morning retrospective of female-focused modern classics In the Driving Seat, from Thelma & Louise to Bonnie and Clyde.
World and European Premieres
World premiere highlights include I Am Weekender, Chloé Raunet’s exploration of Wiz’s controversial and banned 1992 film about the UK acid house scene, featuring a host of talking heads including Bobby Gillespie and Irvine Welsh who says ‘without Weekender there would have been no Trainspotting’; the return of ‘the Springburn Scorsese’ James Price with Dog Days, a big-hearted look at a musically gifted homeless Dundee man (played by Neds star Conor McCarron) trying to turn his life around; Scottish film curator Jo Reid using archive footage to explore how women used the bicycle as a means to emancipation, in The Freedom Machine; and Stuart Cosgrove’s book tracing Muhammed Ali from confident teenager to heavyweight champion getting the big screen treatment in feature documentary Cassius X: Becoming Ali, featuring stunning archive footage and comment from those who knew him including girlfriend Dee Dee Sharp and Malcolm X’s daughter Attallah Shabazz.
European and International premieres include Schitt’s Creek and The Rig star Emily Hampshire’s new romcom The End of Sex, written by and co-starring GFF favourite Jonas Chernick (Ashgrove, James vs His Future Self); Mister Organ, the latest jaw-dropping documentary from Tickled director David Farrier following his three-year entanglement with ‘New Zealand’s most annoying man’; Oklahoma auteur Mickey Reece’s new black and white Lynchian odyssey about country music, legacy and cryogenics Country Gold; and Therapy Dogs, an incredible feat of guerilla filmmaking by US teenager Ethan Eng as he documents his last year at high school that blurs the line between fact and fiction to joyfully chaotic ends.
There’s a double dose of Jena Malone as she stars in two European premieres, as a young woman investigating the mysterious death of her priest brother at a convent on the Isle of Skye in Christopher Smith’s chiller Consecration; and as a single, unemployed drifter who seeks to re-set her life by being adopted in Adopting Audrey.
GFF23 will offer UK audiences the first chance to see 70 new feature films. In a special International Women’s Day Gala UK premiere, Kelly Macdonald and Monica Dolan star in Carol Morley’s fantastical road movie Typist Artist Pirate King, telling the story of real-life outsider artist Audrey Amiss whose extraordinary body of work was only discovered after her death. Other highlights include Paul Mescal and Emily Watson in God’s Creatures, set in a close-knit Irish community ripped apart by allegations of sexual assault; Nicolas Cage as a seasoned buffalo hunter in Gabe Polsky’s vividly-realised Western Butcher’s Crossing; It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Glenn Howerton and How To Train Your Dragon’s Jay Baruchel in Blackberry, the story of the spectacular rise and fall of a tech giant; Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott displaying electrifying chemistry as a dominatrix and her longtime client in Zach Wigon’s twisty thriller Sanctuary; Benedetta star Virginie Efira shining in Rebecca Zolotowski’s beguiling melodrama Other People’s Children; A Cooler Climate, where 94-year-old filmmaker James Ivory revisits the footage he took during a nine-month trip to Afghanistan in the 1960s, revealing a lost paradise before decades of invasion and destruction; Director San San F Young examines the internal struggle of those who choose to fight to protect the creative freedoms of Hong Kong residents in Hong Kong Mixtape; Glasgow artist Stephen Skrynka and his decades long ambition to create his very own Wall of Death in a listed warehouse on the Clyde in The Artist and the Wall of Death; Scottish favourite James Cosmo as a stubborn and reclusive widower who finds he may just give love a final chance in My Sailor, My Love and mockumentary Band, which deftly blurs the lines between fact and fictitious fun as it charts bandmates Álfrún, Saga and Hrefna giving themselves one year to make it big.
Audiences all across the UK will get a chance to enjoy two Glasgow Film Festival UK premieres, as Danial Goldhaber’s explosive climate crisis activism thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline and Léa Mysius’s elegantly intriguing French family drama The Five Devils screen at both GFT and cinemas in Belfast, London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Cardiff and more.
GFF23 will showcase two new documentaries by prodigious Scotland-based polymath Mark Cousins, with the Scottish premiere of The March on Rome, using archive footage to examine the roots of European fascism, and the UK premiere of the impish and insightful My Name is Alfred Hitchcock, which sees the legendary and notorious director rewatch his own films and question how they stand up in today’s society, courtesy of a pitch-perfect Hitchcock voiceover by impressionist Alistair McGowan.
Other Scottish premieres at the festival include Glasgow director Andrew Cumming’s buzzworthy debut feature The Origin, an innovative horror set in the Stone Age and shot during the pandemic in the Scottish Highlands; Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, an elegant adaptation of short stories by the great Haruki Murakami from composer-turned-director Pierre Földes; Mia Hansen-Løve’s deeply personal new film One Fine Morning, inspired by the death of her father and featuring a luminous central performance from Léa Seydoux; Ellie Foumbi’s raw and intense debut feature Our Father, the Devil, a psychological thriller about an African immigrant’s quiet life in small-town France upended by the arrival of a charismatic Catholic priest; and Raine Allen Miller’s joyful romcom Rye Lane, following two 20-something Londoners as they embark on an impulsive day of mayhem in the city.
Audience Award, Sponsored by Belhaven Brewery
The only award handed out at Glasgow Film Festival is given to an outstanding feature film by a first or second time director, and is chosen by our most important people – our audience. Sponsored by Belhaven Brewery, Scotland’s Oldest Working Brewery, the shortlist for the GFF23 Audience Award includes Alauda Ruiz de Azúa’s sweeping Spanish debut feature Lullaby, an authentic portrayal of motherhood and sacrifice; Chandler Levack’s I Like Movies, a semi-autobiographical tale of a hyper-ambitious but socially inept teenage cinephile who gets a job at his local video store; Marianne Blicher’s multi-award winning Miss Viborg exploring love, loss, friendship and new hope; Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney’s unpicking of macho culture and vulnerability in Irish football in Lakelands featuring rising star Éanna Hardwicke (Normal People, Vivarium); Sophie Linnenbaum’s inventive social satire The Ordinaries set in a parallel cinematic world where everyone is divided into three classes – Main Characters, Extras and Outtakes (the lowest of the low); Andrea Bagney’s Spanish comedy Ramona whose titular character is hoping for a fresh start yet torn between head, heart, ambition and fidelity; actor and filmmaker Anthony Shim with his TIFF Platform Prize-winning drama about a Korean single mother trying to raise her son in 1990s suburban Canada, Riceboy Sleeps; Welby Ings’ Punch, starring Tim Roth as the alcoholic father of a young New Zealand boxer who is developing a friendship with a gay Māori teen; director and star Nicolas Giraud’s The Astronaut following a man determined to build his own rocket and pilot in into space; and Student Oscar Winner Alex Schaad’s Skin Deep, a provocative body-swap film exploring identity, gender fluidity, sexuality and the pursuit of happiness.