Glasgow Youth Film Festival announce 2019 programme

Glasgow Film’s teen programmers are back with another zesty programme blending brand-new films with some modern classics

Article by Jamie Dunn | 13 Aug 2019
  • Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Whitney Houston believed that young people were our future, and who are we to disagree? Therefore we’re psyched to see what Glasgow Film’s innovative youth film festival has cooked up for this year’s edition.

Curated by a team of sharp teens, the Glasgow Youth Film Festival emerges from a year-round mentoring initiative which sees a group of 15-to-19-year-olds learn how to put together a festival programme. The lineup they’ve brought together ranges from brand new titles to old favourites, with all the films speaking to young people and their concerns.

This eclectic programming is evident on the festival’s opening night on Friday 13 September, which kicks off with The Farewell, writer-director Lulu Wang’s warm, heartfelt drama in which a Chinese family hide the news from their matriarch – a still-lively grandmother – that she has only a few months to live after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. This bittersweet opening is followed by the ultimate 1980s teen cult movie: Heathers. Michael Lehmann's caustic comedy concerned with the cruelty of high schools may have turned 30 last year, but it’s as potent as ever.

GYFF continues on Saturday 14 September with a couple of superior animations. First there's Henry Selick’s macabre stop-motion fairytale Coraline, in which a curious young girl stumbles across a portal in her family’s new home that leads to a creepy alternate universe where everyone has buttons for eyes. Also on Saturday, the Young Programmers team up with Scotland Loves Anime for Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;Surrection, Gorô Taniguchi’s sequel to the original Code Geass anime series.

Later in that day, the Young Programmers will present the premiere of Norwegian coming-of-age drama Phoenix, while the night comes to a close with the UK premiere screening of uplifting documentary Drag Kids, a joyous celebration of self-expression and acceptance following four fierce kids trying to perfect their drag performances ahead of Montreal Pride. We’re told to get set for “wigs, vogue-ing and a whole lot of Lady Gaga tunes.”

The final day of the festival begins with French cosmic coming-of-age comedy Stars by the Pound, in which an overweight teen dreams of becoming an astronaut.

If GYFF had a lucky charm, it would be Wes Anderson. One of the fastidious director’s films usually plays at the festival and this year is no exception, with his Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr Fox screening as the festival's Family Gala. The Sunday programme also includes a selection of short films by young filmmakers from Scotland and beyond, curated by the Young Programmers.

The penultimate film of the weekend is The Biggest Little Farm, a splendid doc about a farm that’s rejecting modern industrial agriculture for a more sustainable and less cruel model.

And this year's GYFF will come to a close with Edgar Wright’s wildly inventive comedy Scott Pilgrim vs The World, in which Michael Cera is perfectly cast as a feckless hipster who has to pull himself together to take on his new girlfriend’s superpowered evil exes.

In addition to the films, GYFF features two free to attend creative workshops for young people: Into Industry: Finding Your Feet in Film and A Day in the Director’s Life.

Tickets for all events are now on sale from GFT Box Office and The full GYFF programme is available to browse at