Anwar Boulifa Photo: Andrew Robertson
Glasgow's 2016 Short Film Festival ended with the traditional awards bash. Among the many thanked were drink sponsors Blue Moon and Black Cow, the former a beer you are encouraged to try with a slice of orange, the latter a vodka that is made from milk sugars. This was a prompt for some jocularity, as Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts, which hosted the ceremony, many of the screenings, and the festival's offices is served by a vegan café.
Festival apparatchik Morven Robinson described it as a "very non-boring festival", and clarified some of the dialogue from the festival's trailer in particular the phrase "scooby" which is Glaswegian rhyming slang - the etymology is Scooby-Doo, "clue". She was to provide further services as interpreter, but this was a cue for festival director Matt Lloyd to take the stage as the "sincere and boring one". The former certainly, but the latter less so, as there were stories of misadventures in their CCA office, including the phrases "soup explosion" and "yoghurt accident", as well as discussions of other screenings including the retrospective of the works of Jan Soldat, the "cinema of transgression" event (both of which were 'translated' with the phrase "essentially porn"), and exciting news for the festival which is now recognised by BAFTA. It wasn't made exactly clear what this means, except for nods 'hello' should BAFTA and GSFF pass each other in the street and perhaps an awkward conversation every couple of weeks in the newsagents, but it is Good News.
Praise was also given to the festival's projectionists who turned "shoddy poorly exported files to DCP" or as Morvern explained made "good looking films even better". He also thanked the largest number of volunteers ever, explaining that "festivals can't operate without [them]". Morvern also explained that the prospects for volunteers were good, as she (and other GSFF staff) got their start in t-shirts and lanyards.
Duncan Cowles and Ross Hogg Photo: Andrew Robertson
The Jury for the Bill Douglas Award for International Short singled out The Mad Half Hour for special mention, describing it as "original and whimsical". Their award, and also the audience award for International Short went to A Short Guide To Re-Entry - Anwar Boulifa was clearly surprised, describing it as "really totally unexpected", he praised the other entries at the festival and the "great experience being [at GSFF]", praising them as "films... much more than films", as part of a "discourse". Further surprised by the audience award, he praised the "subversive nature of the festival", and was clearly very happy. He ought to be, because these awards are well-deserved.
Scott Willis' Dear Peter, a charming biography of happenstance and karmic camraderie, won the Scottish Audience Award, and while one is tempted to say that his face was a picture that's the kind of hackneyed cliché that the film neither deserves nor indulges in. He was joined as an award winner by Ross Hogg and Duncan Cowles, whose film Isabella collected the jury prize. They also gave special mention to Bryan Ferguson's Flamingo for its "clear cinematic vision and style", but were equally effusive about Isabella. Hogg and Cowles were clearly stunned to have won, not least because this isn't Cowles' first GSFF prize. Describing himself as "totally speechless", Ross' first remark was "holy shit". Caught on the hop, he then continued "Duncan's only got one sock on".
With the awards completed, preparations then began for the festival after-party. While Morven explained that "animators are the best dancers", Eye For Film rendered assistance in the form of expert knowledge of transport links between Glasgow and Edinburgh (which would translate as "hasty internet searches" for those still playing). As the winners wandered off with their bottles of milk-derived vodka your correspondent headed for the keyboard. Best wishes to the attendees from Edinburgh who were considering staying out drinking until the buses start up at 0400, and congratulations to all involved.