GFF 2013: The Kids are All Right

Glasgow Film Festival co-director Allison Gardner often describes Glasgow Youth Film Festival as the main festival's little sister, but GYFF is growing up fast, and this year offers another stellar lineup aimed towards a youth and family audience

Preview by Josh Slater-Williams | 25 Jan 2013

Taking place in the 11 days preceding the main event, Glasgow Youth Film Festival is an increasingly formidable entity in its own right, and this year’s line-up is no exception. Curated by a passionate programming team of 15-18 year olds, the festival hosts several UK or Scottish premieres of its own, alongside exciting workshops and special events for film fans of all ages.

On the gala front, there’s a special family-catered screening of animation Sammy’s Great Escape (3 Feb), while the opening gala is Disney’s video-game fantasy Wreck-It Ralph (4 Feb), showing in 3D ahead of its UK release later in the month. Closing the festival is the Scottish premiere of The We and the I (13 Feb) from director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), an imaginative portrait of New York teenagers on the last day of school.

The festival offers an internationally-focused range of fiction films and documentaries concerning the experiences and problems of young people from around the world. These include rare opportunities to see acclaimed fare currently without UK distribution, including Kauwboy (13 Feb), the Dutch submission for this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar. Elements of Kes can be found in its story of a young boy’s special friendship with an abandoned baby bird. Documentary screenings include China Heavyweight (12 Feb), an award-winning look at aspiring young boxers in rural China, and First Position (5 Feb), which follows six teen ballet dancers as they prepare for one of their field’s most prestigious and gruelling competitions.

Glasgow-dwelling animation fans will have a chance to catch the touching Wolf Children and Studio Ghibli’s From Up on Poppy Hill (both 10 Feb), two highlights of last October’s Scotland Loves Anime festival that only played at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse. They are followed by a very exciting surprise anime film première, preceded by a cosplay red carpet parade where the best costume can get you a supposedly amazing prize. Outside of Japanese animation, there’s the UK première of France/Belgium co-production The Day of the Crows (11 Feb), the director of which worked on GYFF 2012 highlight The Rabbi’s Cat.

Animation can also be found in the various short film screenings on offer through collaboration with the Glasgow Short Film Festival, with events taking place on 10 February at the GFT and CCA, including a family-aimed selection at the latter venue. For further family films that weekend, Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods 3D (9 Feb) offers kids a fun treasure-hunting Viking adventure. Remaining screening highlights include a late night showing of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (8 Feb); American indie Fat Kid Rules the World (9 Feb) from actor-director Matthew Lillard; New York graffiti comedy Gimme the Loot (11 Feb); Netherlands dramas Lena (6 Feb) and The Deflowering of Eva van End (13 Feb); South African surfing film Otelo Burning (12 Feb); and German deportation drama Kaddish for a Friend (12 Feb). There’s also I Wish (7 Feb) from master Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda (Still Walking).

Various workshops and master classes, run throughout GYFF, including screenwriting and documentary skills sessions, as well as a discussion with cast and crew of Channel 4’s Fresh Meat (8 Feb). Additional special events include a Paper Cinema production at The Arches (5 Feb), and a free outdoor screening party of feature-length dance music video Girl Walk // All Day (13 Feb), taking place at the River Clyde Embankment. To see the remainder of the exciting line-up, visit

Top three picks:

1. Girl Walk // All Day
2. Wolf Children
3. I Wish 

Girl Walk // All Day: Official Trailer

Glasgow Youth Film Festival runs 3-13 Feb