Short and sweet

Inside the Glasgow Short Film Festival 2022

by Andrew Robertson

The launch of the Glasgow Short Film Festival 2022
The launch of the Glasgow Short Film Festival 2022 Photo: Andrew Robertson

It felt more than a little odd to be in Glasgow's Film Theatre for the opening gale of the fifteenth Glasgow Short Film Festival. Not just because the opening film wasn't a short, coming in over an hour, but also because, you know, everything.

GSFF was once a part of GFF, became an independent festival and then an independent entity, was one of the first to run online only, is now indulging in a degree of hybridity that means most of this festival's coverage will be from my sofa. They've continued the impeccable timing that means I'll be leaving its awards ceremony (probably in person) to provide live reaction (remotely) for the Academy Awards. They've also, and this is important, continued to push films of quality to the forefront in a way that is emboldened by their focus on short film as the best film.

Glasgow Short Film Festival presenters
Glasgow Short Film Festival presenters Photo: Andrew Robertson

We can talk about The Timekeepers Of Eternity being technically a feature, but at about 65 minutes it's not the longest film to have been shown at GSFF by just over seven hours. We should talk about its intersections with the last in-person opening gala, Terror Nullius, with its very different radical reimagining of other works in an approach that is as copyright adjacent as it is creatively perpendicular. There was a Q&A with director Aristotelis Maragkos during which he revealed not just his motivations but that this was an effort that took some four years.

Welcoming an in-person audience, albeit without a song and dance, festival director Matt Lloyd and programme director Sanne Jehoul were effusive in their thanks. These were to various funding bodies, drinks sponsors Illicit Spirits and Glasgow Beer Works and to the legions of volunteers, film fans, film-makers and more who had helped make this and previous events possible. While my can of Short Hops now sits in the confluence of my brewerania and festival memorabilia I found myself thinking a lot about intersections and overlaps.

The Glasgow Short Film Festival programme
The Glasgow Short Film Festival programme Photo: Andrew Robertson

Maragkos film certainly spoke to that, talking about his twelve year old self's perception that this was "the best thing ever". Upon revisiting his desire to "recalibrate" the film to Bronson Pinchot's performance, the medium of torn paper suggested by his character. Constructed without digital checking, in Q&A someone mentioned Mark Jenkin's Bait and there is undoubtedly a similar sense of materiality, metatext from process, thematic lensing if you will. There was a bit of laughter at the careful "walk around the rights issue" in Jehoul's questioning as in-person interlocutor, this occupies territory GSFF have explored before. Guy Maddin's The Green Fog retells Vertigo without Vertigo, and it too was screened here.

I'm out of practise at being at places where other people are, but in as much as it was within their power to do so volunteers and hosts made me feel welcome. The film, and it's a very good one, transported me in the way that I always hope cinema will. As an incubator of talent short film is unparalleled, and as a showcase for short film Glasgow's Short Film Festival is perhaps without equal.

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