Guy Maddn's Green Fog sets out to recreate Vertigo
As the last of our Glasgow Film Festival reviews filter in, we're ramping up for its younger, smaller, sibling.
Glasgow Short Film Festival has been stretching the definition of short film for some time, last year screening Kevin Jerome Everson's Park Lanes which comes in at some 480 minutes. What's never compromised on is quality - beyond awarding the Bill Douglas and Scottish Short Film prizes, this year's collection includes anthologies of Brazilian films, Banliueu voices from urban France, the ever-charming parent and baby screening and Family shorts amid much much more.
Eye For Film look forward as ever to bringing you highlights - including opening gala Terror Nullius' which mines Australian cinema fiction and cinema fact to create something whose pitch blends all sorts of things into genre chaos, the (free) drink sponsored awards ceremony, and a new Guy Maddin effort - in Green Fog, with Evan and Galen Johnson he has taken footage from dozens of productions set in San Francisco to create a 'remake' of Hitchock's Vertigo. It's probably tedious to reference Star Wars Minus Star Wars in such arthouse rigour, but its titular climactic condition might also be found on Dagobah.
There's a retrospective of works from Nineties film production scheme First Reels, one funded by the body that's now Scottish Screen. With works including those that gave Peter Mullan early exposure some of these haven't been seen on a big screen for decades. Short film is all too often ephemeral, even in this age of Vimeo and IMDB, and making older short film accessible is a definite challenge and absolutely praise-worthy.
Short film has strong connections to both advertising and music videos - there's at least one commercial that borrows heavily from the Oscar nominated Fresh Guacamole. Tara Razavi's Happy Place showcases her work for a variety of musicians too credible for me to recognise, and there's an afterparty as it's screening at the lovely Civic House. Crammed into a full programme is For Shorts And Giggles, which should be a treat - filled with the funniest films that homes could not otherwise be found for it's likely to contain a few gems, not least as it's got work by Borscht Corporation in it.
In addition to the Bill Douglas there's an audience award and the Production Attic Short Film Pitch - previous winners have included the charming Tony And The Bull which went on to win the 2018 Audience Award. We look forward to seeing what Jack Goesson has done, and also to the bumper/advert that we'll doubtless see some dozen times. Last year's compere (Ronan Leonard of Indie Cork) is scheduled to return, but it's not certain if he'll be manning the decks to play only songs by the dead again. That sounds a lot more morbid than I meant it to, it'll doubtless be a lot cheerier than that. It's more of a classic old song set than a flying-Dutchman disco.
There's loads of stuff I'm leaving out because I'd basically be regurgitating the brochure with more exclamation marks, and though I've had the flu at a recent GSFF and too much to drink at others I've managed to avoid doing that so far. The only complaint I can ever make about GSFF's programming is that I can, thus far, only be in one place at a time, and even then barely punctually. There's a good connection between short film at GSFF and wider Glasgow Film - We Are The Weirdos, a shorts collection, showed at 2019's Glasgow Film Festival and while we couldn't cover it on the night (instead seeing surprise movie Gloria Bell) we can speak to their quality, and audiences across the UK were treated to them as part of The Final Girls collective's recent tour. I'll usually argue that short film is the best film, but I'm contrary - though given the strength of this years GSFF programme I'm not going to be wrong.