Glasgow Film Festival celebrates record audience figures over 43,000

Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) has celebrated its highest ever attendance, with more than 43,000 admissions. In addition to the 43,147 attending screenings and events across the city (up from 42,224 at GFF 2019), over 3000 people attended the first ever UK exhibition of work by legendary Hollywood photographer Susan Wood, which ran throughout the festival at The Lighthouse.

The 16th annual celebration of cinema finished in style on Sunday night with the UK premiere of How To Build A Girl, the big screen adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s blockbusting memoir directed by Coky Giedroyc. Caitlin and Coky attended the premiere, joining the likes of Simon Pegg, George Mackay, Earl Cave, Simon Bird, Monica Dolan, Emily Beecham, Imogen Poots, Celia Imrie, Bill Paterson, Alice Winocour and the cast of new Scottish smash-hit Our Ladies who all walked the Glasgow Film Festival red carpet over the past 12 days. International guests included Marjane Satrapi and Ingvar Sigurosson.

GFF closed on International Women’s Day (IWD) with a programme dedicated to female talent both behind and in front of the camera. A number of filmmakers came to celebrate IWD at the festival with their films including Sarah Gavron with Rocks; Saudi Arabia’s first female film director Haifaa Al-Mansour with her new film The Perfect Candidate; and the new feature from 2017 Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award winner Alankrita Shrivastava: Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars.

The winner of the GFF 2020 Audience Award, sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne, was announced tonight as Arracht - Tom Sullivan’s immensely impressive Irish Gaelic thriller evoking the desperate times of the 1840s Potato Famine. The Audience Award is the only prize handed out by GFF and is voted for by the film festival audiences.

Busy crowds gather outside Glasgow Film Theatre for Glasgow Film Festival 2020

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 (awarding funds from the National Lottery), Glasgow Life and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. Glasgow Film Festival will return from 24 February to 7 March 2021.

Allison Gardner, Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director, said: “Glasgow Film Festival 2020 has been another brilliant year. Our free strand, ‘Are We There Yet? A Retrospective of the Future’, has been well attended with queues round the block.

"As always a highlight for me were the Special Events, and doing the Zombie Run at our Train to Busan screening with my colleagues was a particular highlight! One of my personal favourite films of the festival Heroic Losers charmed our audiences and will be part of ‘GFF On Tour’ – our touring festival – this April and May.”

Allan Hunter, Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director, said: “We presented a programme with a diverse, wide-ranging spectrum of cinema experiences and audiences have responded magnificently. One of the joys of the Festival is to see the passion for films as diverse as Arracht, Les Miserables and Our Ladies and the warmth of the welcome for a guest list that included Alice Winocour, Celia Imrie, Simon Pegg and Ingvar Sigurdsson. Our audiences are a tonic and an inspiration.”

Tom Sullivan, writer and director of Glasgow Film Festival 2020 Award winner Arracht, said: “This was completely unexpected and I am honoured. I would like to, from the bottom of my heart, thank everyone at Glasgow Film Festival for believing in our film and all the people who came and voted. Arracht is a film set during the Great Hunger in Ireland. To win the audience award here, in Glasgow, a city that was so influenced by the fallout of that dark period in our history is truly humbling.

“This award belongs to my brilliant cast and crew, the dedicated production team at Macalla and to TG4, ScreenIreland and the BAI. This means so much to all of us. Thank you Glasgow!”

About Glasgow Film Festival

The 16th annual Glasgow Film Festival took place from 26 February to 8 March 2020 and welcomed guests including Simon Pegg, George Mackay, Caitlin Moran, Earl Cave, Simon Bird, Monica Dolan, Celia Imrie, Bill Paterson, Alice Winocour, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Imogen Poots, Emily Beecham, Michael Caton Jones and the cast of Our Ladies.

Previous GFF guests include Richard Gere, Alan Rickman, Joss Whedon, Terry Gilliam, John C Reilly, Saoirse Ronan, Richard Dreyfuss, Karen Gillan, Jessie Buckley, Sir Michael Palin, Jonathan Glazer, Richard Johnson, Gemma Arterton, Ben Wheatley, David Tennant, Cliff Curtis, David Robert Mitchell, Carol Morley, Gemma Jones, Jason Priestley, Neil Jordan, agnés b., Armando Iannucci, Jack O’Connell, Dexter Fletcher, Peter Mullan, George Sluizier, Peter Capaldi, Ty West, Richard Ayoade, David Dastmalchian, Eli Roth and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Glasgow Film Festival 2021 will run from 24 February to 7 March.

GFF 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. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see