Alchemy festival 
set to make film gold in Hawick

editorial image

Over 100 films screened over four days, plus 12 artists’ installations and over 60 filmmakers will make Hawick the place to be later this month.

Over the four days from Thursday, April 16 to Sunday, April 19, the Heart of Hawick centre in the town’s Tower Mill will be the hub for the fifth Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival.

And this year promises another magical mix of feature films, short film screenings and artists’ installations, with 2015 exploring the theme of ‘Spiritus Mundi’, a historical term for the ‘World Soul’, relating to a spirit of universality, internationalism and underlying unity.

Alchemy is Scotland’s only international festival of experimental film and artists’ moving image, and in its brief existence has grown from just 32 film submissions in its first year to more than 730 for 2015.

The vibrant international programme includes feature films, experimental shorts, video art installations and live multi-media performances at various venues in Hawick, screening around 120 films, most of which are world, UK or Scottish premieres.

“We have built a strong international profile and over 60 filmmakers from around the world have confirmed their attendance this year,” said the creative director, Richard Ashrowan, this week.

“And one of our most exciting elements is our community film-making inititative in which we offer training to 35 local people in the skills of film-making.”

Selected highlights of the 2015 programme include the world premiere of ‘Ettrick’ (Jacques Perconte, France), in a special screening in Johnstons of Elgin.

The film was made during several trips the filmmaker made to the Borders, exploring its landscape and woollen mill history, all rendered in an impressionistic arc of abstract colour and movement.

There will also be the Scottish premiere of ‘Field of Dogs’, in which Polish director Lech Majewski presents a sumptuously shot exploration of loss and spiritual redemption.

It is set in 2010, when the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, died in a plane crash with all 96 people on board. There will be a question-and-answer session with the director present.

‘Light Matters’, the Scottish premiere of two films by Joost Rekveld, will again be followed by a question-and-answer session with the director.

Guy Sherwin, one of the key figures within the radical London Film-Makers’ Cooperative in the 1970s who now works in collaboration with his partner Lynn Loo on performances of live cinema, will perform a range of new works alongside his seminal ‘ManWith Mirror’ performance.

Alchemy also presents the UK premiere of ‘Paul Sharits’, a documentary about the iconic experimental 1960s filmmaker by Francois Miron (Canada), along with a special 16mm screening of one of Sharits’ most important works.

At the festival’s Filmmaking Symposium, there will be a range of internationally recognised speakers closely involved in the making, funding and distribution of experimental film and artists’ moving images.

They include representatives from Lux Scotland, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, Rotterdam Internationall Film Festival and The Scottish Film Talent Network.

Alchemy will also be showing eight short film programmes. One of the highlights is the Scottish premiere of ‘No More’ by Mairéad McClean, a deeply poignant experimental film which explores her own father’s internment in Northern Ireland.

Artist Installations encompasses 12 artists’ moving image installations within empty shops, ex-industrial and empty office spaces around Hawick.

Full programme including ticket details online at www.alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk