As the 2015 Glasgow Film Festival comes to a close with the UK premiere of Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure, organisers are delighted to announce the winner of their inaugural Audience Award, as well as 2015 admissions numbers, and the dates for 2016’s event. The directors of the festival, supported by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, Creative Scotland, EventScotland and the BFI, paid tribute to the 2015 audience and described this year as their ‘best ever’.
The winner of GFF’s first-ever Audience Award was Radiator, a beautiful and moving low-budget British film created by writer/ first-time feature director Tom Browne, and shot in the Cumbrian house of his deceased parents. Radiator features a pair of astonishing, career-best performances from veteran British actors Richard Johnson and Gemma Jones as elderly hoarders Leonard and Maria. Johnson and Jones, with Browne, were amongst the visitors to the festival this year. The Audience Award was voted on by the GFF audience from a selection of ten films made by first or second-time directors. Over 1100 votes were cast. The Audience Award runner up was the documentary Tender, directed by Lynette Wallworth. Both Radiator and Tender are currently seeking distribution: GFF organisers hope that this award will be of some assistance.
Radiator writer/director Tom Browne said:
‘Receiving the Audience Award has made us all terrifically happy - thank you!
Radiator has an unfashionable theme and was made on a tiny budget. Unsurprisingly it is taking a while for the film to find a place within the film industry so to receive this award is very significant for Radiator's future. Richard, Gemma and I had a great time in Glasgow - we were treated so kindly and were touched by the engagement of the audiences evident in the Q and A sessions.’
Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director Allan Hunter said:
‘We’ve always known that our audience has the best taste and now they have proved that all over again. The GFF audience has enthusiastically embraced the responsibility of picking their favourite film from a list of ten contenders and deciding the winner of the festival's first Audience Award. They couldn't have picked a more worthwhile winner than Radiator. Tom Browne's deeply autobiographical film resonates across the generations as it deals with the dynamics of family relationships and the challenges we will all face in our final years. It is funny, touching and told with a fearless truth and beautifully judged performances from Gemma Jones, Daniel Cerquiera and the magnificent Richard Johnson. I only hope distributors will take encouragement from the public passion for Radiator and the Audience Award and bring the film to the wider audience it clearly deserves.’
Despite fielding 23 fewer events this year due to unavailability at long-term venue partner Cineworld, the festival has still managed to reach over 40,000 admissions for the second year in a row at time of going to press. Last year’s final figure of 41,151 included also included Glasgow Short Film Festival audience numbers: as GSFF has now moved away from the main festival to later in March, this year’s figures can’t include GSFF. Final numbers will be confirmed later in the week, but the overall screen average is also up: there is a 7% increase overall in admissions per event, meaning larger audiences. 45% of the events in the programme sold out completely; 61% of screenings sold 75% of their tickets.
Over 3500 people visited GFF’s first ever exhibition, Jeely Jars and Seeing Stars, held in the Mitchell Library, which collated oral histories and memories of cinema-going in Glasgow from the 1930s to the present day.
Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director Allison Gardner said:
‘This year might just have been the best Glasgow Film Festival ever. It’s certainly been the most fun I’ve ever had. From ballroom dancing to roller-skating, from coming together in rapt appreciation at classic festival films like Wild Tales or Mommy, giving a standing ovation to legendary Scottish writer William McIlvanney, or queuing for tickets for the Internet Cat Video Festival, our audiences have been generous, committed, passionate and open-minded. And they’ve all got fabulous taste in fancy dress costumes, which we have asked them to wear in some form almost every night. We’re also absolutely delighted that we’ve broken 40,000 admissions for a second year running, despite working with a smaller programme. Thanks so much to our wonderful audience: you make all the hard work worth it.’
Guests attending this year’s festival included Alan Rickman, Richard Johnson, Gemma Jones, Paul Merton, Oscar-winning sound designer Glenn Freemantle, the band British Sea Power, actors Cliff Curtis, Gary Lewis, Conor McCarron, Karidja Toure and Assa Sylla, directors Carol Morley, David Robert Mitchell, Yasmin Fedda, Morgan Matthews, Ron Scalpello, Jane Spencer, author William McIlvanne and composerÓlafur Arnalds. On the final day, Sunday 1 March, GFF hosted a sold-out 20th anniversary screening of Glasgow cult classic Small Faces, attended by director Gillies MacKinnon, writer Billy MacKinnon and the cast, including Joe McFadden, Iain Robertson, Steven Duffy, Eilidh McCormick, Gary Sweeney, Carmen Pieraccini and Colin McCredie. Actor Kevin McKidd was present at the after-screening Q&A via online link-up from Los Angeles; similarly, leading documentary film-maker Kim Longinotto joined the festival via link-up for a post-show Q&A after the UK premiere of her new film Dreamcatcher.