Southside Film Festival is a brand new film festival for the Southside of Glasgow. Running from 13 – 15 May, it will be a chance for locals to celebrate and share all that is great about film, filmmaking and the Southside.
The programme includes feature films, short films, archive footage, workshops, and Q&As in a wide variety of locations across the Southside.
Mark Davidson spoke to Karen O’Hare, the festival’s director, about how the festival came about and what locals can expect from this brand new event in the Southside.
Mark Davidson: What inspired you to start Southside Film Festival?
Karen O’Hare: The film festival was borne out of the fact that the Southside does not have a cinema, or any regular film events, so it seemed like a good idea to bring people together to watch films South of the Clyde.
What have some of the challenges been in trying to establish a new film festival in the Southside of Glasgow?
The usual challenges of money and time, or lack of it. The film festival was scheduled to coincide with Southside Festival events in May, so was on too tight a schedule to properly involve local business sponsorship and/or public funding. However, hopefully the festival will be enough of a success this time around to attract support from both in the future.
Another challenge was how to screen films and put on filmmaking workshops in local venues when the Southside doesn’t have a cinema. However, this turned into a positive thing as the festival is now screening in unique and unusual venues.
Expect to see films and events in venues where you would least expect it: from Queen’s Park Boat Shed to Govanhill Baths; from artist’s studios to community halls; a community garden to a local school; from a working mens’ club to local nightclub. The Shed will also be the festival hub for filmmakers and others to get together to discuss the films before and after screenings.
How did the programme for this year’s festival come about? What was your criteria for choosing films and events?
The programme is intentionally varied to attract and reflect the diversity of the Southside, one of the most ethncially diverse areas in Scotland. A lot of the programmes are free so hopefully it will be easy for a wide range of people to easily access films that they wouldn’t normally see. The programme includes music videos, artists films, short films, family friendly films, films for kids, animation, archive films, Scottish features and shorts and local Southside filmmakers work.
Some programmes have been guest curated – for instance short animations for kids from Discovery Film Festival in Dundee, other animation from the Scottish Animation Network, two short film programmes from Glasgow Short Film Festival, artists films by Southside Studios and a music video showcase put together by Forest of Black of some of their past work. Workshops are also from guest facilitated by Scottish Screenwriters and Write! Camera! Action!
There was an open submisison process for Southside Filmmakers as it was important to have a local filmmaking flavour to the festival. The audience will be asked to vote for their favourite film at this screening which will win the inaugural Best Southside Film Award on Sunday 14 May. The festival is also challenging Southsiders to make a film in the Southside over the weekend of the film festival, on their smart phones or digital camera and submit it for inclusion in this screening.
There is another local filmmakers screening on the Saturday with Film Headz, a teenage film group that have been meeting at The Shed since 2010 and the festival will premiere their work at The Shed on Saturday 13 May.
Finally, what are some of some of the highlights of Southside Film Festival going to be?
The opening feature film of the festival is American Cousins, introduced by the screenwriter and Southsider Sergio Casci. Sergio will also do a Q& A at the end of the film and for those who want to have a fully Italian night the festival is offering a movie and meal deal for £12.50 at Bellini’s in Shawlands (tickets available NOW at Bellini’s).
Alternatively on Friday night Southsiders can check out South x Southside, a seminar on composing music for film with contributions from Mick Cooke of Belle and Sebastian followed by screenings of music videos from celebrated Forest of Black, and dancing at iBop. Or those interested in what Southside Studios have on offer can check out their outdoor screening of artists work there.
On Saturday night local actor Stephen McCole will introduce his staring role in Crying with Laughter and stick around for a Q&A with the audience. Another highlight on Saturday will be a special screening of ‘Save Our Pool’ and more recent film about the Baths closure ‘Making Waves’ in the Baths itself. This will mark the 10th anniversary of the Govanhill Baths sit in and forced closure, held as a fundraiser for the Govanhill Baths Trust.
On Sunday, there is another chance to see Peter Mullan’s short films shot in Govanhill in the 1990s, Close and Fridge which will be introduced and discussed by actor and Southsider, Gary Lewis.
This is followed by the closing film – Nosferatu, the 1922 black and white silent horror classic, directed by FW Murnau, based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula-with live organ accompaniment by Larry McGuire on the mighty Wurlitzer Organ at Pollokshaws Burgh Hall. Tickets are £5 and available NOW at Pollokshaws Burgh Hall.
Thanks to Karen O’Hare.