Short but sweet

GSFF diary: inside the closing ceremony with award winners James Price and Duncan Cowles.

by Andrew Robertson

The closing party at the GSFF
The closing party at the GSFF Photo: Andrew Robertson

Glasgow's 2015 Short Film Festival ended at its award ceremony, a highlight that saw deserved winners selected from a very strong programme. There were five awards in total, three jury prizes, including the new Channel 4 award for Innovation in Storytelling, and two audience awards. As capstone to the Festival the ceremony also included the top three from a Glasgow School of Art one minute film competiton, as well as films made as part of the GSFF 'Anijam', apparently the first Scottish one, where animated films were made in just 48 hours.

Festival apparatchik Morvern Cunningham wore sunglasses for much of the ceremony, not solely because of a whole-hearted embrace of the short-film celebrity champagne circuit but because of what appeared to be conjunctivitus - she was, however, as chirpy as she'd been throughout the week's events as she heckled Festival Director Matt Lloyd as he thanked his way through the litany of supporters that helped make the event possible. She also revealed a GSFF first, that the Every Wall A Screen event had provoked a riot van to turn up. The "fantastic volunteer team" were praised effusively, and the Glasgow Film Festival was thanked not least for upgrading the short festvial from "a sort of hallway" to "an actual office". Good spirits prevailed, not just for the winners, aided in no small part by Stewart Brewing's special edition GSFF15 Pale Ale.

Crowds gather for Every Wall Is A Screen
Crowds gather for Every Wall Is A Screen Photo: Eoin Carey

The AniJam entrants were generally well-received, and it was pretty clear that many had taken advantage of a variety of free online sound and music resources. Incompetech.org deserve a mention not only as a music resource but also for their PDF graph paper generator. There was some great character design, a relatively subtle joke with a rock band that appeared to have been animated in poser, and absolute standouts in Nina & Flick, which followed a woman's adventures with an ambulatory light switch, and The Breath, whose painted backgrounds totally belied its time-constrained origins.

The one minute films were an interesting mix, including a piece called Degeneration that showed the influence of video artifacts on an image of Justin Beiber. Lawrence Chan, Jessica Hauser, and Chiara Chabri had produced interesting works, even in the minimal space afforded them.

Will Henderson and Ainslie Anderson's Monkey Love Experiments won the Channel 4 prize for Innovation in Storytelling, receiving praise for its mix of media. In Q&A at an earlier screening it was revealed that while NASA had provided archive audio, extracting footage was sufficiently difficult that the pair ended up rendering a Saturn V launch in Maya.

Don Hertzfeldt's World Of Tomorrow won the International Audience Award, and Shipwreck won the Bill Douglas prize. Olha Reiter was the sole member of the jury still in Glasgow, and spoke of how fellow judge Daniel Wolf had "some prejudices about short films before, but after GSFF" had seen the "media could be perfect for some projects" and was intending to develop some projects in that direction. The judges praised the film's ability to provoke audiences to "feel, think, discuss". Daniel Knibbe could not be present, but in a short message expressed his thanks by doing a dance for the audience.

The Scottish Audience award went to Dropping Off Michael. Director Zam Salim was not in attendance, so the award was accepted by producer Catriona MacInnes and writer James Price. James was visibly stunned to have won, describing himself as "made up". In a later conversation he described it as "surreal", and like "somebody else's life". Though he's "wee Pricey from Springburn" he's also now an award-winning scriptwriter, and Eye For Film wishes him the best of luck.

The Scottish Short Film Award jury made special mention of Cailleach, describing it as "beautiful, moving", and a portrait of a lady with a fiercely "self-determinant way of life". Thanking the festival for "a great experience", Jorge Rivero (like Olha the only judge from his jury remaining in Glasgow) explained that after a "very funny and interesting discussion" the winner was Duncan Cowles' Directed By Tweedie. Duncan described himself as "absolutely delighted", not least because GSFF was the first festival to show one of his works just three years ago.

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