Glasgow Short Film Festival 2023 announces award winners

GSFF23: Opening Event - OMOSQ&A with director Rhys Hollis, mezzo soprano Andrea Baker and cinematographer Ambroise Leclerc. Post-screening live performance by Rhys and Andrea.Photo by Ingrid Mur

45th Parallel by Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Clean by Miranda Stern take jury prizes.

The 16th annual celebration of short film finished last night with the awards ceremony, following a packed five day programme of events across the city

Glasgow Film Festival 2023 finished its 16th edition in style last night, as it announced the winners of its two prestigious annual competitions plus the coveted Scottish and International Audience Awards, chosen by GSFF23 festival goers.

The Scottish Short Film Award honours inspiration and innovation in new Scottish cinema, and saw 20 new films compete, including 5 World Premieres. Named in honour of the legendary Scottish filmmaker, the Bill Douglas Award for International Short Film promotes cinematic storytelling that places sound and image centre stage. 28 documentary, animation and fiction shorts from Iran, Colombia, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and across the world were in competition, half of them screening in the UK for the first time at GSFF.

The GSFF23 Scottish Short Film Award was awarded by a jury consisting of Girl director Adura Onashile, FilmFest Dresden co-director and Locarno Pardi di Domani selection committee member Anne Gaschütz and programmer and industry coordinator for Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival Julie Rousson. It was won by Glasgow-based filmmaker Miranda Stern for Clean, a short and personal female-centred documentary about addiction and long-term recovery from it. Miranda receives a cash prize of £1000.

The jury said:

We were deeply touched by the emotion driven by this very personal testimony, and surprised by the lightness of touch as we enter a film that does not prepare you either for its essence or conclusion… The strength of the vision, the detail of a relationship, the commitment to overcoming a deep personal struggle was for us filmmaking at its most urgent, dynamic, heartbreaking and ultimately liberating.

The jury gave a special mention to The Möbius Trip, a hallucinatory family road trip movie by Glasgow-based filmmaker Simone Smith, expressing their admiration for the strong and adventurous cinematic vision of the director and her visceral film that felt like a unique and peculiar viewing experience.

The GSFF23 Bill Douglas Award for International Short Film was decided by a jury featuring ZDF/ARTE commissioner Catherine Colas, producer, writer and artistic director of Beirut Shorts Nicolas Khabbaz and director of the 2022 Bill Douglas Award winner Handbook Pavel Mozhar. It was won by Lebanese artist and filmmaker Lawrence Abu Hamdan for 45th Parallel, a timely mediation on borders between countries.  Lawrence receives a cash prize of £1000.

The jury said: Without leaving a closed space, this film takes us on a journey around the world, exploring the concept of the frontier – its very absurdity, violence and injustice. Thanks to its coherent dramaturgy, and playful and precise use of staging and music, the film leads us to a deeper reflection on humanity and the prevailing political order.

The jury gave a special mention to 2nd Person by Portuguese artist and filmmaker Rita Barbosa, for its alienated yet empathic gaze at our society.

The GSFF23 International Audience Award, chosen by festival goers,  was won by Jorge Cadena for Flores del otro Patio.

The Young Scottish Filmmaker Prize, delivered in partnership with GSFF by Glasgow Film Theatre and Eden Court Highlands went to Practice by Jack Heydon and My Name is Beth by Sayee Gogate. The prize is supported by the BFI Film Academy (awarding funds from the National Lottery) and in association with BFI Film Academy SCENE.

GSFF23: Opening Event - OMOSQ&A with director Rhys Hollis, mezzo soprano Andrea Baker and cinematographer Ambroise Leclerc. Post-screening live performance by Rhys and Andrea.Photo by Ingrid Mur

GSFF23: Opening Event – OMOSQ&A with director Rhys Hollis, mezzo soprano Andrea Baker and cinematographer Ambroise Leclerc. Post-screening live performance by Rhys and Andrea.Photo by Ingrid Mur

GSFF23 ran from 22 – 26 March at GFT, CCA and Civic House with a packed programme including an opening night gala screening of OMOS, a celebration of Black Scottish performance filmed at Stirling Castle and in Puck’s Glen which featured live post-screening performances from mezzo soprano Andrea Baker and cabaret artist Rhys’ Pieces; the first Scottish screening of Sodan Jerk’s hotly anticipated new media mash-up Hello Dankness; a focus on contemporary Lebanese short films with a rare live performance from Beirut-based gender-defying queer dancer Khansa; a retrospective of award-winning artist duo Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca; wild world-building animations and cinematic existentialism through innovative A.I. collaborations and two very different journeys to Scotland undertaken for COP26.

Matt Lloyd, Festival Director, said:

“The 16th edition has not just seen a return to pre-pandemic audience numbers, we have in fact experienced public and delegate attendance at an unprecedented level. Against the backdrop of this energy and enthusiasm for emerging cinematic voices, I am really thrilled to see such exciting choices by both our juries and competition audiences. The award winners have made works that in different ways feel urgent, compelling and timely. Congratulations to all of them!”

Glasgow Life Chair, Bailie Annette Christie, said:

“This year’s Glasgow Short Film Festival showcased the very best in cinema shorts from Scotland and across the world, and its success demonstrated why GSFF has become such a renowned event. The prestigious awards this 16th edition culminated in recognised the quality and diversity of the film-making talent featured in a vibrant and varied programme. Attracting festival goers from near and far, its popularity is testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of the GSFF team who are to be congratulated on delivering an event which has further enhanced Glasgow’s reputation as such a great city for international cinema and cultural events.”

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

“Congratulations to Matt, Sanne and the whole team on a stellar edition of the Glasgow Short Film Festival.  Glasgow Short Film Festival have once again created a welcoming gathering point for filmmakers and audience to explore eclectic and vibrant stories, perspectives and visions.  Congratulations too to all the selected filmmakers in the programme, but a special mention to Miranda Stern and Lawrence Abu Hamdan for picking up the GSFF23 Scottish Short Film Award and GSFF23 Bill Douglas Award for International Short Film respectively.”


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