Glasgow Film Festival 2021 welcomes thousands of virtual viewers
James R | On 08, Mar 2021
The 2021 Glasgow Film Festival drew more than 37,000 audience views for this year’s online festival. Audiences from across the United Kingdom tuned in online to the 17th edition of the festival, which featured 10 world premieres, 3 European premieres and 49 UK premieres, all screened virtually across 12 days.
The festival opened on Wednesday 24th February with the UK premiere of Lee Isaac Chung’s Golden Globe-winning Minari and closed last night (Sunday 7th March) with the UK premiere of Suzanne Lindon’s Spring Blossom.
The event exceeded expectations and sales targets with its online edition, reaching 37,733 viewers as of Saturday night (6th March) with its new online streaming platform Glasgow Film at Home. Audiences also enjoyed post-film Q&As with more than 70 filmmakers, including Kevin Macdonald, Tahar Rahim and Golden Globe winner Jodie Foster for The Mauritanian; Nick Moran and Ewen Bremner for Creation Stories; and Amir El-Masry and Ben Sharrock for Limbo. Further festival buzz was created with additional free events around the films which gained a further 1,500 viewers, including the GFF film quiz, which was streamed live on social media with The Stayin Inn, and a DJ set from Glasgow-based DJ Nightwave, who featured in documentary Underplayed.
The GFF 2021 Audience Award winner, sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne, was announced tonight as Sweetheart, directed by Marley Morrison. Sweetheart is a sharply observed coming-of-age story that charts the relationship between two young women, during a summer holiday at a caravan park in Dorset.
A series if Industry Focus events also took place from 1st to 6th March and saw over 400 delegates attending panels with a focus on diversity and representation, accessibility and how the film industry is moving forward during the Covid-19 pandemic. Guests included a spotlight interview with Oscar-winning screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns. The festival’s MUBI under 30s ambassador scheme featured Instagram Live chats with filmmakers including Perfect 10’s Eva Riley and Limbo’s Ben Sharrock, each highlighting films created by filmmakers under 30 in the programme.
Allison Gardner, CEO of Glasgow Film and Glasgow Film Festival Co-director, said:
“Glasgow Film Festival 2021 has been another incredible year. Our team have pulled together a programme of quality cinema, reflected by the brilliant attendance and engagement of our audiences, both festival regulars and new audiences from across the UK. We’ve had fantastic responses to our films, ranging from the sell-out World Premiere of Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché, to one of my personal highlights, empowering documentary BIG vs SMALL. We can’t wait to welcome audiences and filmmakers back to our home in the Glasgow Film Theatre for our next edition in 2022.”
Allan Hunter, Glasgow Film Festival Co-director, added: “We have all been overwhelmed by the response to this year’s festival. Audiences old and new have embraced the wide-ranging, carefully curated programme, allowing GFF to spread its wings across the whole of the United Kingdom. It has been fantastic to see the results of a great team effort rewarded in this way. It has been a real thrill for filmmakers to witness all the love and support for their work. It has all felt like some bright, warming sun amidst the global gloom and has underlined once again that Glasgow audiences are simply the best.”
Anthony Baxter, director of documentary Eye of the Storm, which had its world premiere at the festival, commented: “It’s been great to be a part of Glasgow Film Festival this year. With the festival being online, we were perhaps able to attract a wider audience to the World Premiere of Eye of the Storm. Elderly people for example right across Scotland, who wouldn’t have been able to make it to the cinema. And people were also able to join a special global live Zoom Q&A we organised as the filmmakers – with participants from New York, Frankfurt and even Grand Cayman!”
While the festival has officially ended, the flexible online approach means that a number of films are still available to rent online within their 72-hour viewing windows.
Available until Monday 8th March are City Hall, Welcome To: A Focus on Black Female Filmmakers, Rosa’s Wedding, Tina and Surge. Films available to rent until Tuesday 9th March include Dreams on Fire, The Dissident, Yer Old Faither, A Brixton Tale and Cowboys. Films available to rent until Wednesday 10th March are There Is No Evil, Welcome To: Lineages of the Landscape, Gunda, The Man Standing Next, Killing Escobar and the festival’s closing film, Spring Blossom.
Glasgow Film Festival will return in 2022 from 2nd to 13th March.