First Titles Announced for Glasgow Film Festival 2023


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Glasgow Film Festival today reveals the first of its titles for the 19th edition of the much-loved festival, returning from 1 to 12 March 2023.

This year’s Country Focus: Viva el cine español! features On The Fringe with Penélope Cruz and Luis Tosar, Prison 77 and Lullaby, championed as one of the best debut in Spanish cinema for years by Pedro Almodóvar.

GFF’s free retrospective, In The Driving Seat, features stories of women on journeys of self-discovery and adventure. Films include It Happened One Night, The Piano and Roman Holiday.

The Festival will also celebrate the documentary work of American actor/director Lee Grant, survivor of the anti-communist blacklist of the 1950s.

Sadly the 19th edition will also be Co-Director Allan Hunter’s last festival as he leaves us after 15 years. We're sorry to say goodbye to Allan, you can read his words as well as Co-Director Allison Gardner's below.

2023’s programme will include Looking for America: The Films of Lee Grant, a celebration of the documentary work of this extraordinary actor/director. Grant’s inspirational career began with her Oscar-nominated film debut inDetective Story (1951) before being halted by the anti-Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s. She was blacklisted for 12 years, returning to star in a string of iconic films including In the Heat of the Night, Valley of the Dolls, The Landlord and Shampoo, for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

In the 1980s, Grant began directing documentaries that were decades ahead of their time. She brought curiosity and compassion to sharply observed accounts of social issues, the inequalities facing women and the state of America during Ronald Reagan’s Presidency. Down And Out In America won the Oscar for Best Documentary and Grant was also the first female director to win the Directors Guild Of America Award.

GFF23 will screen five of her documentaries: Battered, Down and Out in America, What Sex Am I?, When Women Kill and The Willmar 8.

A new generation of Spanish filmmakers have been making waves around the world and the Festival celebrates that vitality with its 2023 Country Focus: Viva el cine español! which is also announced today. A collection of premieres provide a window into modern Spain dealing with the legacy of the Franco years, caught between urban living and a hankering for a return to the land, and still confronting eternal questions of love, family and loss.

The titles screening include the heart-breaking social drama On The Fringe with Penélope Cruz and Luis Tosar, gripping true-life tale Prison 77 and Lullaby, a film championed by Pedro Almodóvar as ‘undoubtedly the best debut in Spanish cinema for years’.


Also returning next year is GFF’s popular Retrospective strand, which screens 10 free films during the festival. In the Driving Seat showcases films featuring women who take charge of their lives, setting off into the unknown; seeking adventure, freedom and self-discovery. The films selected span more than eight decades and range from Claudette Colbert as a runaway heiress in It Happened One Night and Holly Hunter’s intrepid Scotswoman in The Piano to Audrey Hepburn’s incognito princess in Roman Holiday and Faye Dunaway’s Depression-era bank robber in Bonnie And Clyde. 

These screenings are completely free to attend and offer a rare opportunity to see a back catalogue title on the big screen. Each Retrospective film has a special introduction beforehand from Festival Co-Director Allan Hunter, whose filmmaking insights and anecdotes have become a favourite with GFF audiences.

GFF23 will sadly be the final edition with Allan Hunter as Festival Co-Director, a role he has held since 2007. A highly-regarded journalist and film programmer, Allan is a film critic for Screen International and has written several books including biographies of Faye Dunaway, Walter Matthau and Gene Hackman. He was previously the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the annual French and Italian Film Festivals, and is a voting member of BAFTA and the London Film Critics’ Circle.

Under the direction of Allan and fellow Co-Director Allison Gardner, GFF has grown from humble beginnings to become an internationally recognised, award-winning festival that nurtures talent, bringing a wealth of global stars to Glasgow, while remaining true to its original aim: to be the film festival for audiences.

Glasgow Film Festival is run by Glasgow Film, a charity which also runs Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), and is made possible thanks to support from Screen Scotland, the BFI (awarding funds from the National Lottery) and Glasgow Life.

The full GFF programme will be announced in January, with tickets going on sale later that month. Visit glasgowfilm.org/festival for more information.

GFF Co-director Allison Gardner said:
‘We are excited and delighted to share some of the upcoming treats we have for GFF23 with our audiences, however as it is Allan’s last festival the moment is tinged with sadness for me. I cannot properly articulate how much I have loved working with alongside him, his knowledge, enthusiasm and patience are legendary, and I will be bereft without him. However, I am looking forward to guiding GFF to a new phase that will continue to delight audiences and be a beacon of film light to our burgeoning film industry.’

GFF Co-director Allan Hunter said:
‘It has been one of the great privileges of my career to be part of the Glasgow Film Festival for the past 15 years. It has been humbling to witness how the Festival has grown and to discover just how much is it cherished by our incredible audiences. Everything has its season and it is time to move along. Time for someone with fresh ideas and energy to assist the Festival on the next stage of its journey. I will miss wonderful colleagues and the best audiences in the world but I look forward to watching the festival continue to grow and prosper.’

Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said:
‘Glasgow Film Festival is one of the most popular annual highlights of the city’s rich cultural calendar. Its outstanding international reputation as a carefully curated showcase of the best of world cinema, on-screen talent and off-camera creative craft ensures the event always attracts audiences in their thousands, making it a significant contributor to our visitor economy.

‘The first titles announced for GFF23 set the tone for what promises to be another superb festival offering a hugely varied choice of contemporary and retrospective screenings across a great range of genres and other exciting events.’

Isabel Davis, Executive Director at Screen Scotland said:
‘Glasgow Film Festival’s tireless commitment to finding great work and introducing it to new audiences has seen it grow in strength and reputation.  As Allan delivers his final edition, having shaped it from the outset with co-programmer Allison Gardner, we owe him huge thanks for his dedication, hard-work and careful curation. The Festival’s friendly and welcoming nature is reflective of Allan himself. He’ll be much missed, and we wish him well for the future.’


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