Film festivals should be celebrations that invite anyone and everyone to revel in the beauty of the medium. Too often the ‘festival’ element is sidelined in favour of press-hungry, high-profile, talent-spotting stunts. It was a relief, therefore, last night at GFF’s opening gala, to hear directors Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter drawing all the attention onto the the films and the audiences that buy tickets to see them. The sold out UK premiere of the Coen brothers’ new film HAIL, CAESAR went ahead despite the absence of any star appearances (something that many other high profile UK film festivals would never do).
Allan Hunter spoke passionately about the Audience Award category. Started last year, this selection of films aim to show the immense talent of first or second time filmmakers. A win for one of these filmmakers can really help to put them on the map – and you can get them there. Last years winner RADIATOR went on to secure nationwide distribution and widespread acclaim. This award really help to bring home the message that it’s the audience that matters, their opinions, and their vast tastes.
There are 60 UK premieres happening at GFF this year, a number that has consistently grown over the twelve years of the festival’s life span. The Local Heroes category marks UK-directed films (the selection this year includes David Farr’s excellent THE ONES BELOW and Scotsman Tommy Flanagan in WINTER), but we’ve collated our own ‘home-grown’ list that more broadly reflects our interpretation of the heart of GFF, be in conceptually or literally.
Here are 6 films flying the flag for the core values of the festival this year. In other words: miss these, and you’re missing the point.
UK Premiere: URBAN HYMN
Director Michael-Caton Jones Starring Shirley Henderson, Letitia Wright GFF Screenings Fri 19th & Tue 23rd
World Premiere: WHERE YOU’RE MEANT TO BE
Director Paul Fegan GFF Screenings Fri 19th & Wed 24th
16 YEARS OF SUMMER
Director Lou McLoughlan GFF Screening Sun 21st
World Premiere: HAMISH
Director Robbie Fraser GFF Screenings Tue 23rd & Wed 24th
UK Premiere: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Director John McPhail Starring Tyler Collins, Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Alison Peebles GFF Screenings Wed 24th & Thu 25th
Now that the festival is underway, tickets are selling fast. Get them here.