Scottish Titles at GFF21

Every year, Glasgow Film Festival curates a programme of new Scottish cinema, often before you can see the films elsewhere. 2021’s digital edition of the festival carries on this tradition with premieres and exclusive screenings of Scottish titles from across the country, from sea to shore. Here are the titles to look for.

A group of refugees arrive on a windswept Scottish isle in Ben Sharrock’s Limbo, to be stationed there awaiting permanent resettlement or deportation. As they attend cultural integration classes and befriend the island’s chicken population, we get to know and care about the plight of the people caught between home and a new life. An original, moving and deadpan take on a humanitarian crisis that exposes the absurdities and idiosyncrasies faced by the newcomers, with a star turn from Amir El-Masry as Syrian musician Omar.

The first cinema documentary told entirely in Scottish Gaelic, Iorram (Boat Song) is a stunningly beautiful, immersive journey into the past. Lyrical recollections of Outer Hebridean fishing communities overlay poetic images of sea and land, following the people who continue to live and work around the same waters as their ancestors. An original soundtrack by Aidan O’Rourke is the perfect complement to the lyrical folk tales, recollections and conversations from newly-restored oral histories.

Danny Boyle, Irvine Welsh and Ewen Bremner reunite 25 years after Trainspotting to tell the story of Creation Records founder Alan McGee in Creation Stories. The rise and rise of the label behind indie stalwarts Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and many more, described by director Nick Moran as “an irresistible trip down memory lane, or a delightful history lesson about the last great days of rock’n’roll” – a must for all 24-hour party people, even those of us on the sofa.

Award-winning documentarian Anthony Baxter creates a beautiful portrait of acclaimed Scottish artist James Morrison in Eye of the Storm, following the landscape painter in the last years of his life. Morrison’s body of work, from the tenements of his youth to the breathtaking vistas and skies of the Highlands and the ice caps of Greenland, is immortalised in archive footage, animation and build-up to his final exhibition at the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh in 2020, captured by Baxter.

The gripping story of an ex-SAS Glaswegian hired by a rival cartel to assassinate Pablo Escobar is told in David Whitney’s Killing Escobar. For fans of Narcos (and featuring interviews with the DEA agents and Cartel members who inspired the series), this is a chance to hear the story of Peter McAleese in his own words, with a stunning collection of archive footage and testimony from those who were there – and those who undertook a truly dangerous mission.

Glaswegian John Croall may have left Scotland for Australia in 1970, but Glasgow did not leave him; his life and work is immortalised in Yer Old Faither, an affectionate and fascinating portrait of a father by his daughter, Heather Croall. Raising a family and becoming a famed obstetrician in Whyalla, South Australia, John’s dedication to bringing life into the world and to environmental causes are clear from the letters he wrote to his children. Heather says, “The film is an elegy for a man, a town and a dream – and about the close, and often very funny, relationship between a father and a daughter.”

To access all of the Scottish Titles in the GFF programme you can purchase a ticket bundle here.

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