Screen Scotland supported films at GFF 2021

Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) takes place this year from 24 February to 7 March, with screenings hosted on Glasgow Film's new online viewing platform, Glasgow Film At Home. The programme contains 6 World premieres, 2 European premieres and 49 UK premieres.

GFF is one of the friendliest film festivals on the planet with a wide-ranging programme that celebrates every corner of world cinema and provides a fantastic showcase for the best of Scottish film. We're delighted to be supporting a number of Scotland-grown films that will screen at the festival.

Bridging the Gap - Turbulence

World Premiere: Four shorts from Scottish Documentary Institute’s emerging talent initiative Bridging the Gap on the theme of Turbulence. A collection of intimate and thought-provoking stories:

Directed by Giulia CandussiAgainst the Tide: A small community on a remote Scottish island lives in deep connection with the land and the weather. This film follows a woman, Gill, during the final stages of her trial period. Will she be accepted and become a full-time member of the community?

In Harmonic Spectrum, Sean uses the piano to navigate life on the Autistic Spectrum. Drawn into a new musical collaboration, he must learn to balance his enthusiasm and compulsive energy with understanding and compromise, redefining his perspective as he enters adulthood. Directed by Austen McCowan and Will Hewitt.

Racing Stock, directed by Patrick Steel, follows 15-year-old Taylor Borthwick is a stock car racer, like her father and her grandfather before her. As she turns 16 she will move into the adult leagues, racing bigger, faster cars against men twice her age. It’s a dangerous sport, does she have what it takes?

Everyman is a personal, visual essay about gender transition – focusing on the social context and implications, and exploring how the world is different living as female compared to being perceived as male. Jack Goessens (director) tells his story by using and reframing gender-focused tropes and imagery from popular culture, mythology, history and art.

Screen Scotland awarded £200,000 towards the Bridging the Gap programme.

Eye of the Storm

World Premiere: James Morrison (1932-2020) was one of Scotland’s most gifted painters. Anthony Baxter (Flint), filmed James over the last two years of his life as he struggled with failing eyesight and poor health. The result is a fond, affectionate portrait of the man and his legacy that glories in the scope of a career that includes vivid portraits of Glasgow life, the thunderous moods of Scotland’s seas and skies, Paris in winter and his Arctic work. A film that reflects the personality and talent of Morrison with lovely animation from Catriona Black and a plaintive soundtrack from Karine Polwart.

Eye of the Storm was awarded £60,000 of National Lottery funding through our Film Development and Production Fund.

Killing Escobar

UK Premiere: In 1989, Scottish mercenary and ex-SAS operative, Peter McAleese, was hired by a Colombian drug cartel to lead a small team of ex-special forces commandos on a mission to assassinate the world’s biggest drug baron, Pablo Escobar. With heart-stopping drama reconstruction, access to never-before-seen footage of the mission and first person accounts from both the mercenaries and the cartel, Killing Escobar is a documentary thriller that reveals how one man's violent upbringing in Glasgow, training in the SAS and experience as a mercenary in Africa led him to the jungles of Colombia and the heart of the Medellín cocaine empire. At 78 years old and returning to the Catholic faith of his youth, McAleese reflects on one of the most ambitious and perilous assignments of his career; the one that pushed him closer to death than any other, a mission to kill the most feared man in the world, Pablo Escobar. Directed by David Whitney.

Killing Escobar received £92,500 of National Lottery funding through our Film Development and Production Fund.


Scottish PremiereBen Sharrock’s deadpan comedy-drama brings a completely fresh perspective to the life of a migrant. Musician Omar (the wonderful Amir El-Masry) has fled conflict in Syria and now finds himself at a desolate refugee centre on a remote Scottish island. Separated from home and family, he waits in limbo for others to decide his future. Omar's desperate situation is marked by open hostility, offers of friendship and small acts of kindness from the strangers all around him. A beautiful, achingly poignant tale that will break your heart on the way to warming your soul.

Limbo received £500,000 of National Lottery funding through the Film Development and Production Fund.

Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

World Premiere: Proclaimed by Billboard as ‘one of the least conventional front-persons in rock history’, Poly Styrene hit the headlines as founder of acclaimed punk band, X-Ray Spex. As a mixed-race woman from a working-class background, Poly had to unfairly navigate intense scrutiny throughout her career. Poly’s fascinating story is brought to the big screen by her daughter Celeste, who sets out to explore her mother’s legacy and celebrate the life of a true pioneer of punk. Directed by Celeste Bell and Paul Sng.

Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché received £80,000 of National Lottery funding through Screen Scotland's Film Development and Production Fund.

More about GFF

A highly regarded and anticipated event in the UK’s film calendar, Glasgow Film Festival has grown greatly in visibility and significance in recent years and has leapt into the top three film festivals in the UK. From just 6,000 attendances at its first outing in 2005 to over 43,000 attendances in 2020, the most successful event in the festival's 16-year history, GFF continues to grow and develop its international reputation.

Find out more about buying tickets and watching films at this year's online festival.