St Andrews announces inaugural film festival

Sands will run from March 25-27

by Amber Wilkinson

My Old School
My Old School Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute
St Andrews has a new film festival - Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews will have its inaugural edition from March 25 to 27.

The festival, which will take place at the town's Byre Theatre, will feature nine fiction and non-fiction films, including a mystery film which has yet to be announced.

The theme of this year's festival is Beginnings, with fiction features including debut films, including Blerta Basholi's Hive, starring Ylka Gashi, and Amalia Ulman's El Planeta.

Homegrown talent will include Leith-based filmmaking duo, Will Hewitt and Austen McCowan, who will present Long Live My Happy Head, a documentary long-distance love story about comic books and cancer and Jono McLeod's schoolboy imposter tale My Old School, which recently screened at Sundance and will also play at Glasgow Film Festival.

Other notable inclusions are Jessica Kingdon's Oscar-nominated documentary Ascension, which explores the pursuit of the "Chinese Dream".

Each screening will be introduced and then followed by a Q&A session with filmmakers, with talks and workshops also taking place.

Festival director Ania Trzebiatowska said: “I am absolutely delighted to finally reveal the programme for the first ever Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews. Over the past two years, we’ve been reminded of what a privilege the collective cinema experience is, and that it can too often be taken for granted, so I am hugely excited that we will be able to share these nine fantastic films with audiences.

"The process wasn’t without its challenges, but we are proud to have a programme that doesn’t just reflect the diversity of films out there, but showcases the quality of work that spawns from the inclusion of new voices. If audiences have half as much fun watching the programme as we had making it, then I’m sure we will be in for a fantastic festival.”

Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews will be an important cornerstone of the Byre theatre’s programme, which integrates community engagement and the growth of its public arts programme with the interests of the University.

The full list of films is below:

More information is available from the official site.

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