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Glasgow Film Festival branded ‘magical’ success by organisers

Organisers are celebrating the success of a “magical” Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) which saw admissions rise 25% compared to the previous year.

GFF, which took place over 12 days and finished on Sunday, welcomed hundreds of delegates from around the UK at several venues around Glasgow, bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels.

The festival reported a 25% increase in admissions compared to last year, with three special event screenings – the first since the 2020 festival – selling out.

Around 33,667 people attended 295 film screenings and events from March 1 to 12.

Glasgow Film Festival
Actress Joely Richardson at the premiere of Little Bone Lodge at the Glasgow Film Festival (Eoin Carey/Glasgow Film Festival/PA)

Stars including Emily Watson, James Cosmo, Alistair McGowan, Kelly Macdonald and Joely Richardson were among those who appeared on the red carpet during the festival.

Allison Gardner, GFF co-director, said: “GFF23 was magical, from the sold-out screenings to the warm and enthusiastic welcome our audiences gave the guests and filmmakers.

“Every year I am astounded at the support, loyalty and knowledge of those audiences who take a chance on the curated programme, but this year they were exceptionally generous and we were incredibly busy, with audiences up 25% on 2022 across a similar number of events.”

Watson, known for her roles in The Theory Of Everything, Anna Karenina and HBO series Chernobyl, attended to promote her new film God’s Creatures.

She said: “It feels so cool to be having the UK premiere of this movie, which is so special to me, here in this festival where it feels like there’s a young, modern, fresh feeling about interesting films.

“It’s places like this, where people come out arguing and talking about movies and having a communal experience, that are giving film life.”

Glasgow Film Festival
Emily Watson on the red carpet (Eoin Carey/Glasgow Film Festival/PA)

Oscar-winner Lee Grant, who was the subject of the festival retrospective Looking For America: The Films Of Lee Grant, said about GFF: “I am so grateful to the Glasgow Film Festival for showing my documentaries. I have no words to express the gratitude in my heart for your interest in the things that I am passionate about.”

The festival opened and closed with sold-out gala premieres of debut features directed by new UK female filmmakers – Adura Onashile’s Glasgow-shot Girl and Nida Manzoor’s Polite Society.

Allan Hunter, co-director of GFF who will now be retiring, said: “I think it’s fair to say the 2023 festival has been a triumph.

“The wide-ranging selection of films put together by the programming team met with such a fantastic response.

“I think it is the range of titles and the passionate programmers who champion them that make the festival so special.

“A packed industry programme also confirmed that Glasgow has become a massive, influential bridge between film watchers and filmmakers.”