The full programme has been announced for Glasgow Film Festival 2020. From 26 February to 8 March, one of the UK’s largest film festivals will host over 380 film screenings, talks and special events - including 9 World premieres, 10 European premieres, 102 UK premieres and 39 Scottish premieres. Tickets go on sale from 12pm on Thursday 30 January for GFF members and GFT CineCard holders, and on general sale from 12pm on Monday 3 February.
The festival will open and close with UK premieres of films directed by women - Alice Winocour’s Proxima starring Eva Green as an astronaut preparing for a mission to the International Space Station and Beanie Feldstein’s star turn in the big screen adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s blockbusting memoir How to Build a Girl, directed by Coky Giedroyc. Glasgow Film Festival closes on International Women’s Day with a celebratory showcase of female talent - with every film screened either directed or written by a woman or starring a female lead.
Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) is one of the leading film festivals in the UK and run by Glasgow Film, a charity which also runs Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT). GFF is made possible by support from Screen Scotland, the BFI (award funds from the National Lottery), Glasgow Life and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
Glasgow Film Festival is thrilled to host the first ever big screen outings for a range of features from both international and homegrown talent. Scotland-based director Anthony Baxter (You’ve Been Trumped) makes his long-awaited return with Flint, which follows the situation in Flint, Michigan over six years of denial, evasion, betrayal and hypocrisy after the city’s domestic water supply switched to the Flint River.
Robbie Fraser (whose Final Ascent had a sell-out World premiere at Glasgow Film Festival 2019) turns his lens on another legendary Scottish figure in Pictures From Afghanistan - a journey amongst the people and places of modern Afghanistan with veteran Glasgow photojournalist David Pratt, who has spent much of the last three decades reporting on changing fortunes and global conflicts.
Roy’s World: Barry Gifford’s Chicago brings to life beat poet and screenwriter Barry Gifford’s autobiographical story collection with archive footage, animation and narration by Willem Dafoe, Lili Taylor and Matt Dillon.
Mark Stanley stars as inspiring real-life mountaineer and charity campaigner David Tait facing up to long-buried childhood trauma in Julian Jarrold’s moving biopic Sulphur & White, with an impressive supporting cast of Anna Friel, Dougray Scott and Emily Beecham.
Debut UK directorial talent includes Lucy Brydon’s Body of Water, a sensitive take on the impact of an eating disorder on an individual and their loved ones, and Notting Hill meets Great British Bake Off in Eliza Schroeder’s irresistible rom-com Love, Sarah starring Shelley Conn, Bill Paterson, Celia Imrie and Rupert Penry-Jones.
Hugo Weaving shines as a world-weary Melbourne crime boss in a sharp contemporary re-telling of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Mrs and Miss Cops is a South Korean female buddy cop drama that’s a non-stop thrill-ride from start to finish.
Over the Sea is a beguiling coming-of-age story, following boisterous and carefree youngster, 11-year-old Xiaoji, and fans of A Star Is Born will adore This World Won’t Break, a country music drama shot in the dive bars and spit-and-sawdust venues of Dallas.
Because We Are Girls is the devastating but inspiring feature documentary shining a light on a conservative Indo-Canadian family in small-town British Columbia forced to come to terms with a devastating secret; Henry Glassie: Field Work follows the veteran American folklorist in a joyous celebration of outsider art from around the world and Michael Paszt tells a story definitely stranger than fiction in feature documentary Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro, which follows a professional wrestler juggling dual roles of running Lucha Libre AAA in Mexico whilst being a father to his teenage daughter.
Glasgow Film Festival 2020 will feature the first big screen outings in the UK for over 100 feature films. Across the final three days of the festival GFF will be screening Mark Cousin’s epic homage to the history of female talent behind the camera, Women Make Film, showing this groundbreaking 14-hour documentary narrated by Tilda Swinton and Jane Fonda in five instalments.
Other must-see highlights include Kelly Macdonald in the sweeping Australian outback romance Dirt Music; Daniel Radcliffe as a South African activist attempting a daring jailbreak in the nail-biting true story Escape From Pretoria; and a darkly comic ride in to the American heartland with Ewen Bremner as Edward, a visionary attempting to open a German sausage shop in Gutterbee, a town in the grip of a narrow-minded, xenophobic bigot.
George Mackay’s star continues to ascend as he leads alongside Russell Crowe in The True History of the Kelly Gang, Rosamund Pike puts in another luminous performance as Marie Curie in Radioactive and Simon Pegg impresses as a music producer struggling with his mental health who goes missing in LA in Lost Transmissions.
Hotly anticipated indies that have been getting rave reviews across the world will premiere in Glasgow, including The Truth - the first ever English-language film by Shoplifters director Hirokazu Kore-eda boasting an all-star cast of Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve and Ethan Hawke; the definitive documentary on Lady Day herself, Billie, featuring never-before-seen interviews with those who knew one of the world’s greatest jazz singers; SXSW Audience Award winner The Garden Left Behind, a poignant portrayal of Tina, an undocumented Mexican trans woman fighting to make a life in New York; Venice Silver Lion Award winner About Endlessness, the latest deadpan slice of comedy brilliance from Swedish master Roy Andersson and 2020 Academy Award nominee for Best International Film, Ladj Ly’s thrilling Parisian crime drama Les Misérables.
"Another fresh and fun festival"
“The latest films from Peter Mackie Burns, Scott Graham and Michael Caton-Jones land in Glasgow with insightful and emotional stories about families, friendship and finding yourself. Once again, the GFF programme demonstrates strength and depth through its drama and documentary premieres, retrospectives, and themed events, and highlights its importance to audiences in Scotland and as a launchpad for new cinema.”
Screen Officer, Screen Scotland
39 features will make their Scottish cinema debuts at this year’s GFF. Inbetweeners star Simon Bird makes his directorial debut with the warm and witty Days of the Bagnold Summer, starring Nick Cave’s son Earl Cave and Bird’s Friday Night Dinner co-star Tamsin Greig, and featuring a new soundtrack by Belle and Sebastian. Fellow actor Craig Roberts premieres his sophomore venture as writer and director of Eternal Beauty, starring Sally Hawkins as a schizophrenic woman encountering surprising new sources of love and life; Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots as a pair of first-time buyers who get more than they bargained for in the twisted fable Vivarium.
Michael Caton-Jones’ riotous comedy Our Ladies is the long-awaited big screen adaptation of Alan Warner’s hit novel The Sopranos, following a group of rowdy 1990s Catholic school girls as they journey from Fort William to Edinburgh to compete in a choir competition. Our Ladies star Marli Siu also stars in the Scottish premiere of Run, the third feature from major Scottish talent Scott Graham. Set in Fraserburgh, the electrifying drama follows a group of young men dreaming of escapism through late-night drag races.
Peaky Blinders director Tim Mielants makes his big screen debut with eye-catching dark comedy Patrick; Scottish director Peter Mackie Burns follows up his acclaimed first feature Daphne with Rialto, a brooding Dublin-set drama about a middle-aged father embarking on a relationship with a young rent boy and first-time director Claire Oakley makes an impact with Make Up, a claustrophobic and unsettling coming-of-age tale set in an out-of-season Cornish caravan park.
Red carpet talent at Glasgow Film Festival 2020
Award-winning writer and director Alice Winocour will attend the Opening Gala with the UK premiere of her new film Proxima and,11 packed days later, director Coky Giedroyc and writer Caitlin Moran will be in town to celebrate the Closing Gala and the UK premiere of How to Build a Girl. Other chances to see the stars on the red carpet include George Mackay for the UK premiere of The True History of the Kelly Gang; Mark Stanley; Cannes Best Actress Award winner Emily Beecham and the real-life subject of the film David Tait for the World premiere of Sulphur & White; Inbetweeners star Simon Bird for the Scottish premiere of Days of the Bagnold Summer; Celia Imrie, Bill Paterson and Rupert Penry-Jones for the World premiere of Love, Sarah and the Scottish cast of Our Ladies, Eve Austin, Abigail Lawrie, Tallulah Greive, Sally Messham and Marli Siu.
Director of You’ve Been Trumped, Anthony Baxter, will be in attendance for the World premiere of his documentary about the tragic US town, and renowned war photographer David Pratt will attend the World premiere of Robbie Fraser’s documentary about his travels to the country that has affected him the most in Pictures From Afghanistan.
Legendary US photographer Susan Wood will visit Glasgow for the first-ever UK exhibition of her iconic photos of the 1960s and 1970s, capturing John Lennon and Yoko Ono relaxing in the Hamptons and the counter-culture machismo on the set of Easy Rider, and Oscar-winning SFX maestro Chris Cobould OBE will be revealing the secrets of how he created jaw-dropping special effects for some of the biggest blockbusters, from Skyfall to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in a fascinating free talk as part of the always-popular Behind The Scenes strand.
Audience Award Nominees
The only award handed out at Glasgow Film Festival is the one decided by our most important guests - the festival audience. The prestigious GFF Audience Award is awarded to a feature by a first or second-time director, with previous winners including Harry Birrell: Films of Love and War, Custody and Lipstick Under My Burkha.
The shortlist of 10 films - 50% of which are directed by women - are Silja Hauksdóttir's sensitive portrayal of a family disintegrating in Agnes Joy; Tom Sullivan’s immensely impressive Irish Gaelic debut about the Irish potato famine Arracht; Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy’s twisty New England noir Blow The Man Down; Shelley Love’s hilariously fresh take on the rom-com A Bump Along The Way; the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarking on a tour of the Southern states in the wake of Trump’s election in David Charles Rodrigues’s feature doc Gay Chorus Deep South; Isaac, a Cold War thriller based on a real-life massacre from young Lithuanian writer-director Jurgis Matulevicius; Simon Pegg and Juno Temple as a music producer and aspiring musician dealing with friendship and mental health on the streets of LA in Katharine O’Brien’s Lost Transmissions; Song Without A Name, Melina Leon’s heartwrending dramatisation of true events set in the chaos of 1980s Peru; The Twentieth Century, Matthew Rankin’s wildly inventive and highly stylised faux biopic of the rise to power of former Canadian Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King and SXSW Audience Award winner The Garden Left Behind featuring a cast of up-and-coming trans acting talent.
The Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award 2020 is sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne and the winner will be announced at the Closing Gala on Sunday 8 March.
Allison Gardner, Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director, said: “GFF20 features some stunning work from across the globe, from Bacurau from Brazil to Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars from India via fifty other countries, ensuring we have a film from most corners of the globe.
"With 15 titles in our Future Cult strand we have a film that surely will take your fancy, I loved Deerskin especially and Nobadi took me on an unexpected journey. This year’s Stranger Than Fiction documentaries strand has work covering the life of Toni Morrison, Truman Capote, Barry Gifford and Henry Glassie to name a few.
"In Sound & Vision we have films on Billie Holiday and Ike White and my personal highlight, a 4K restoration of 1959’s Jazz on a Summer’s Day. There really is a film for everyone in the feast of film that is GFF20.”
Allan Hunter, Glasgow Film Festival Co-director, said: “The 2020 programme is a real voyage of discovery, showcasing a treasure trove of little gems from all around the world.
"I think audiences will love the range and depth of exciting new talents we’ve chosen from the moving Sudanese drama You Will Die At 20 to the brilliant Isaac from Lithuania, and the outstanding reckoning with Guatemala’s past in Our Mothers.
"We highlight homegrown excellence with eagerly awaited new titles including Anthony Baxter’s riveting Flint, Eliza Schroeder’s charming Love, Sarah and Peter Mackie Burns’ beautifully acted Rialto. The Festival’s celebration of Icelandic cinema is our biggest Country Focus ever, and the epic documentary Women Make Film is an exciting game-changer that rewrites the history of world cinema. Inspirational films to raise the spirits of any audience.”
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Culture Secretary, said: “Glasgow Film Festival plays an important role in engaging audiences and celebrating film culture in Scotland – as well as extending and strengthening our nation’s creative connections.
“I am pleased to see that, with the support of Screen Scotland, the festival is offering a diverse mix of both established and emerging talent, and leading the way in promoting equality by opening and closing with films directed by women.”
Jennifer Armitage from Screen Scotland said:
“GFF 2020 promises to be another fresh and fun festival! The year’s programme opens and closes with hotly anticipated female led films, from Alice Winocour and Coky Giedroyc, and brings us films by Scottish filmmakers who are making a splash around the world.
"The latest films from Peter Mackie Burns, Scott Graham and Michael Caton-Jones land in Glasgow with insightful and emotional stories about families, friendship and finding yourself.
"Once again, the GFF programme demonstrates strength and depth through its drama and documentary premieres, retrospectives, and themed events, and highlights its importance to audiences in Scotland and as a launchpad for new cinema.”
Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences, BFI, said: “Another quality programme from Glasgow Film Festival, which continues to grow in prominence for both audiences and industry alike.
"This programme is sure to spark conversation and debate and firmly cement Glasgow as one of the most relevant events in UK festival calendar.”
Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “Glasgow Film Festival has built itself a global reputation for showcasing local, national and international talent through innovative and exciting programming and premieres.
"The films which are part of the festival this year are all the evidence needed to show the ambition and scope of the programmers continues to grow and film fans throughout Scotland will benefit. Don’t leave it too long to explore the full programme and book tickets.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The Glasgow Film Festival is one of the UK’s premier film festivals and it is easy to see why with another outstanding programme announced for 2020. I’m particularly delighted to see women at the fore across the whole programme, especially during the opening and closing Galas.
“Events play a key role in our visitor economy and EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of the Glasgow Film Festival, which is not only a fantastic celebration of cinema but also a wonderful showcase of Glasgow and Scotland as the perfect stage for events.”
Glasgow Film Festival Partners
Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland. With funding from Scottish Government and the National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support. Screen Scotland sits within Creative Scotland and is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, working in close collaboration with the sector to ensure its success.
The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a distributor of National Lottery funding and a cultural charity that:
- Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
- Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
- Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
- Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.
Glasgow Life is an independent charity which provides culture, leisure and community learning services to citizens and visitors to the city on behalf of Glasgow City Council. In 2018/19, nearly 19 million attendances were recorded at Glasgow Life managed venues, events and festivals – up more than one third since 2007.
Glasgow Life helped to deliver the 2014 Commonwealth Games; the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships; the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships; the 2017 Total BWF World Badminton Championships; the inaugural 2018 European Championships – a major multi-sport event in partnership with Berlin – the 2019 European Indoor Athletics Championships and the 2019 LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships.
Looking ahead, Glasgow Life is supporting delivery of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (GI) 2020; Glasgow Indoor Athletics Grand Prix 2020; the World Men’s Curling Championships 2020; four matches as part of UEFA’s EURO 2020 football championships and the first ever UCI World Cycling Championships 2023.
EventScotland is the national events agency. EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors.