Following enormous success in 2015, this year saw the return of GFF’s Audience Award. Ten films by debut and sophomore directors screened in competition, with the winner decided by the festival audience, in keeping with GFF’s identity as an audience-focused festival. As announced at the festival’s Closing Gala, the winner of the 2016 Audience Award is Mustang, a rousing and poignant debut from French-Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven.
The recent winner of four César Awards and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2016 Academy Awards, Mustang follows five sisters held captive by their uncle and depicts the way female sexuality becomes a challenge in a strict society. Playful teenage rebellion becomes a fight for survival as the girls face a family determined to mould them into compliant young women and potential wives. Over 1400 votes were cast. The Audience Award runner-up was gripping documentary 16 Years Till Summer, directed by Lou McLoughlan. The 2015 winner, Radiator, written and directed by Tom Browne, was picked up for distribution by Picturehouse not long after its win.
Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director Allan Hunter said: “I am thrilled that our second Audience Award has been won by Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s unforgettable debut feature Mustang. This story, of five orphan sisters fighting for a sense of freedom in a society that seems intent on oppressing them is truly outstanding and marks the arrival of a world-class filmmaker. It is another great choice from an audience that has a passion for outstanding world cinema, and huge thanks to Scottish Power for sponsoring this most democratic of awards.”