Preview: Alchemy Film Festival

Alchemy film festival
Alchemy film festival

The programme for this year’s Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival has been launched at Hawick’s Tower Mill.

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is Scotland’s international festival of experimental film and artists’ moving image. Taking place from April 14 to 17 in Hawick, the 4-day festival is one of the UK’s only festivals dedicated to experimental and artists’ film, and draws an international crowd of filmmakers and fans of the genre.

This year’s theme is ‘Altered State’, which includes “notions of transcendence, political transition and material change, mental or spiritual transformation, and excavations of contemporary counterculture”.

Creative Director Richard Ashrowan, a Scottish Borders-based moving image artist, says: “Our vibrant international programme includes feature films, experimental shorts, video art installations and live performances, screening around 140 films, most of which are World, UK or Scottish premieres. The Festival has grown enormously every year, attracting 850 international film submissions in 2016.”

Highlights include an artists’ double bill featuring the Scottish premieres of Red Moon Rising by Vivienne Dick (Ireland) and short films by London based artist Maryam Tafakory. Both artists work with performance, exploring issues of gender representation, visual poetics, politics and religion. There will also be a Q&A with the directors.

The festival also features the annual Alchemy Filmmaker Symposium, with talks by high calibre and internationally-recognised speakers in the world of artists’ film, including Madeleine Molyneaux (USA), Steven Bode (UK), Bryan Konefsky (USA), Lucy Reynolds (UK) and Leighton Pierce (USA).

Alchemy’s publicist Meg Greenhorn says that the festival is a big event for the community in Hawick: “It involves a lot of local people, who are interested in building something positive for Hawick.

A lot of businesses get involved too – Alchemy books out a lot of B&Bs for visiting filmmakers, and it’s a busy time for local restaurants as well.”

For more info, see www.alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk