Alchemy announces line-up

Borders festival invites audiences to: Embrace the Strange

by Amber Wilkinson

Ceremony, directed by Phil Collins, who will attend a Q&A
Ceremony, directed by Phil Collins, who will attend a Q&A Photo: Courtesy of Alchemy Film & Moving Image
The line-up of Alchemy Film & Arts Moving Image Festival has been announced, along with a new slogan: "Embrace the Strange", which incoming creative director Michael Pattison describes as "an invitation as well as a dare".

The festival, which will run from 2 to 6 May in Hawick, Scottish Borders, will showcase 147 moving-image works, including four feature films and 11 shorts programmes alongside guest-curated programmes, performances and moving-image installations.

Highlights include Turner Prize nominee Phil Collins' Ceremony, plus the UK premieres of feature films by Stephen Broomer (Canada), Karolina Breguła (Poland) and Yashaswini Raghunandan (India) and a programme of shorts curated by Crossroads, San Francisco Cinematheque’s annual film festival.

Avant-garde filmmakers Barbara Meter, Esther Urlus and Deborah S Phillips will also be celebrated by showcases.

Writer/actor/director Gerda Stevenson will lead a Film Walk on Monday 6, May with a poem specially commissioned by Alchemy in response to pioneering Scottish filmmaker Margaret Tait (1918-1999). The closing event, culminating in a screening of Tait’s Orquil Burn in Wilton Dean Village Hall, will be the first in the Scottish Borders to contribute to Margaret Tait 100, an ongoing celebration of her centenary.

Pattison said: "The ninth edition of Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is shaping up to be our most successful to date.

"We’re extremely excited to be welcoming Phil Collins to Hawick, as well as longstanding figures of the experimental film community such as Esther Urlus, Deborah S. Phillips, Stephen Broomer, Madison Brookshire and more. These international names will be gracing Hawick alongside the world premiere of a new self-curated touring programme of works by the Borders-based Moving Image Makers Collective.

"We are also delighted to welcome back the likes of Dana Berman Duff, whose work screened at Alchemy two years ago and whose new installation will have its International Premiere in Hawick, and of course Jacques Perconte. In addition to the World Premiere of Jacques’ performance on Sunday 5 May, we’ll also host the UK Premiere of his short film Or / Or Hawick, may 18, which he filmed on the River Teviot during our 2018 festival."

The festival will this year expand its screening programme to encompass a second screening room at Unit Four on Towerdykeside — where expanded cinema performances will also take place.

Pattison added: "It’s testament to our growth and expansion that we’ve had to invest more in a second screening venue. We’ve taken measures to make Unit Four into an exciting new cinema space worthy of 16mm projections and post-screening Q&As"

Mark Thomas at Screen Scotland/Creative Scotland said: “The festival has over the years built up an incredibly significant international reputation and this year’s programme is testament to that, with an incredible 39 World Premieres. The expansion into a further screening venue will increase opportunities for audiences to engage with the programme and showcase an impressive collection of experimental film.”

For more information about this year’s full programme, including tickets, visit < ahref="" target="_blank">

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