Glasgow Youth Film Festival announces programme

Feature by News Team | 09 Dec 2015
  • Kate Dickie and GYFF team

Glasgow Youth Film Festival (12-15 Feb) has announced that it will open with historical horror film The Witch

The debut from writer-director Robert Eggers, The Witch is a bone-chilling horror set in 1630s America and follows a family of Puritan exiles trying to make their way in New England’s harsh wilderness when evil forces seem to descend upon them.

It’s a bold opener full of excellent performances, particularly Anya Taylor-Joy as the family's eldest child and Kate Dickie as the matriarch. Dickie will be around to introduce the opening gala at Glasgow Film Theatre on 12 Feb.  In our review we called it “a scary tale of an isolated family torn apart by the forces of darkness, running concurrently at all times with an affecting moral drama regarding the devastating roots that seep from seeds of distrust.” Don’t miss it.

What makes Glasgow Youth Film Festival (GYFF) unique is that it is the only festival in Europe curated by 15-18 year olds. "This year GYFF has a very eclectic and diverse programme," says 16-year-old Frances Driscoll, one of the programmers, "which reflects not only the GYFF team but also the people we hope will come to see the films."

The festival's focus is films about contemporary depictions of teenage life, and the weekend programme takes in films from across Europe, North America and Japan.

The festival also showcases young filmmakers, many of whom are making their debut features. "We chose [the films in the programme] because we felt they highlighted the importance of youth voice exceptionally well,” says Driscoll. “The films tackle a wide range of issues in a fresh and interesting way – they stimulated some very profound discussions amongst us, and we hope they will inspire and provoke others, too.”

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From this eclectic programme, we like the look of Michael J. Larnell's debut Cronies (13 Feb), a fresh and zesty comedy-drama following three friends as they bond while cruising around Saint Louis. Spike Lee is an executive producer, and we hear the film calls to mind the energy of his early work, like Do the Right Thing and School Daze

Der Nachtmahr (13 Feb), set in the Berlin rave scene, also sounds intriging, like an early Cronenberg film. It follows a 17-year-old hedonist whose parting gets the better of her when the mother of all hangovers manifests itself as a creature. Nena (14 Frb), from first time director Saskia Diesing, is another unconventional coming-of-age story and centres on a young woman whose first taste of true love is rocked by her father's attempted suicide.

Festival hot ticket looks to be When Marnie Was There (14 Feb), a Studio Ghibli animation from Hayo Miyazaki protégé Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who made his directing debut with 2010's Arrietty. Reports are this will be the final film from Studio Ghibli, or at least the last one for a while, so don't miss this chance to see the Japanese studio's visual poetry on the big screen. 

"GYFF is a brilliant experience that makes a truly youthful film festival come alive," says 18-year-old Anthony Carroll, another of the GYFF programmers. "Each one of us is passionate about film and come from all walks of life and together we collect films from all corners of the world to bring to our festival. They all establish a key theme: the voice of young people matters."

There are also plenty of hijinks to be found in the programme too, such as an immersive screening of Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands (14 Feb), which wil close the festival and take place in a specially-created atmospheric set at converted church St Luke’s.

"From dressing up for events to screening excellent films such as Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure [12 Feb], this is when we can say what we love, and embrace it," adds Carroll.

Glasgow Youth Film Festival runs 12-16 Feb. For full programme details, go to Tickets on sale 10 Dec