Glasgow Film Festival 2022 comes to a close

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The cast and crew of Sweet Sixteen on its 20th Anniversary

Glasgow Film Festival 2022 came to a close on Sunday evening following 12 packed days of premieres, guests and industry events. Celebrating its return to cinemas in Glasgow after last year’s online edition, Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) also screened exclusive gala premieres in selected cinemas across the UK – from London to Lewis – for the first time in its 18 year history.

Guests on the final day included Gracija Filipović, lead actress of the Closing Gala, the UK Premiere of Croatian drama Murina, and Martin Compston who took part in a special 20th anniversary screening of Sweet Sixteen, the Ken Loach film which set him on the road to stardom. The winner of the prestigious Audience Award, sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne and voted for by audiences during the festival, was announced as crowd-pleasing. heart-warming documentary, The Hermit of Treig, from first-time director Lizzie MacKenzie.

This year’s festival saw sell-out audiences attend a programme of 10 World premieres, 4 European premieres, 65 UK premieres, and 13 Scottish premieres. GFF continued to champion international female talent behind the camera, with 40% of new films screening at the festival and 5 of the 7 films nominated for the Audience Award directed by women.

The festival welcomed a host of guests onto the red carpet, including Alan Cumming, Jack Lowden, Don Letts, Armando Iannucci, Amanda Brugel, Icíar Bollaín, Ruth Paxton, Lulu and Alfred Enoch, and welcomed 565 delegates from around the world to the dedicated Industry Focus programme, which covered everything from pitching workshops to creating equal access to a career in filmmaking.

For the first time in its history, the festival’s Opening and Closing Galas, The Outfit and Murina, along with International Women’s Day Gala Happening, screened simultaneously at partner cinemas across the UK, taking GFF’s distinct festival experience and key premieres from the programme far and wide. Audiences across the UK also enjoyed a selection of GFF films from the comfort of their own homes via the online platform, Glasgow Film At Home. These included all seven of the nominated Audience Award titles which were available to watch in cinema and online.

The festival closed with the announcement of the Audience Award winner, Lizzie MacKenzie’s debut feature documentary The Hermit of Treig. The film follows a year in the life of Ken Smith, who has spent the past 40 years living in a log cabin near Loch Treig with no electricity or running water. Lizzie learned how to make films in order to tell Ken’s tale and GFF were delighted to welcome Ken himself to the festival for the film’s World Premiere, his first trip away from the Highlands in four decades. The Hermit of Treig is released in cinemas on 25 March and is produced by Aruna Productions.

Lizzie MacKenzie, director of Audience Award winner The Hermit of Treig, said:

'Wow wow wow! As if it wasn’t an honour enough as a Highland lassie to premier my first film at Glasgow Film Festival, winning the audience award is just magic. I’m so chuffed that Ken has charmed the audiences much like he charmed me during our first ever encounter that sparked his whole thing off. Now for the long hike into the woods to break the news over a glass of birch wine! From all Team Hermit, a massive thanks.'

Allison Gardner, Co-Director of GFF, said:

'We were excited to welcome audiences back to GFF22 and our wonderful audiences didn’t disappoint us. We have had the most wonderful array of guests and the films have been outstanding. The joy of working with a fabulous team and seeing people excited to be back in the cinema watching films on the big screen has uplifted us all.'

Allan Hunter, Co-Director of GFF, said:

'It has been a total pleasure to be back in cinemas enjoying a complete Festival experience at Glasgow 2022. We have all missed that sharing of emotions from the waves of laughter that rocked the building during My Old School to the pin drop silence of complete absorption in The Quiet Girl. Audiences old and new have been so supportive of the event and we also owe a big debt of gratitude to the many guests who have joined us. These are difficult times all around the world but the Festival proved once again how much we all need the comfort and joy of going to the movies.'

Sambrooke Scott, Head of Audience Development at Screen Scotland, said:

'Glasgow Film Festival's triumphant return has seen sold-out screenings (many made by and starring Scotland-based talent), filmmaker appearances and a buzzing industry programme, proving the unparalleled power and connection that happens when we come together. The digital programme of screenings and Q&As allowed audiences unable to return, to safely be part of the festival on their own terms. Screen Scotland is a proud supporter of the festival, and of the Audience Award-winning film. We congratulate Allison, Allan and the whole GFF team on delivering an exceptional edition in difficult times and can't wait to see what they come up with next.'

Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences at the BFI, said:

'Congratulations to Allison and the team on another fantastic edition of the Festival. An important event for people in Scotland, it is also brilliant to see the Festival successfully expanding its reach, with audiences across the UK enjoying this year’s programme.'

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, said:

'Glasgow Film Festival again delivered an action-packed programme of the highest quality. The Festival is a real highlight in our city’s renowned cultural calendar and it was wonderful to see it return – and flourish – in-person. The support shown for each screening was tremendous and it’s clear fans have a genuine appreciation for both the homegrown and international talent the Festival brings together. As the city works to recover from the impact of the pandemic, it’s our aim to bring more visitors back into the city centre to help boost our visitor economy. This year’s Festival was a perfect showcase of Glasgow’s enviable credentials as a must-visit destination for world-class events.'

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:

'Congratulations to Allison, Allan and all the GFF team on delivering another outstanding festival that has welcomed back eager audiences keen to once again get out and enjoy all that events have to offer. Events play an important role in our society and EventScotland was delighted to continue its support of GFF as they took the festival to audiences in Glasgow, across the UK, and into their homes, showing why Scotland is the perfect stage for events.'

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