Folk Film Gathering opens in Edinburgh

Scottish musicians and storytellers introduce films

by Jennie Kermode

Margaret Salmon's Icarus (After Amelia)
Margaret Salmon's Icarus (After Amelia)

The World’s first festival of folk cinema opens today at at Filmhouse Edinburgh, with further content available at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and online. With contributions from musicians including Margaret Bennett, Deirdre Graham, Jimmy Hutchison and Jess Smith, the eighth annual Folk Film Gathering has a packed programme of activities which will run until 1 July.

Dominated by Scottish films, the festival includes a screening of 1994 film Mairi Mhor, a powerful tribute to the Isle of Skye’s 19th century warrior poet, Mary McPherson, as well as brand new work from Margaret Tait Award-winner Margaret Salmon. There will be an evening dedicated to the films of Gerda Stevenson, incorporating a Q&A with the filmmaker herself, plus an event exploring cinematic representations of selkies, Scotland's mythical seal people, hosted by the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s Donald Smith and featuring Hanna Tuulikki's Seals'kin.

This year marks the festival's return to physical venues following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, and filmmakers Anne Milne and Shona Thomson have worked with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Regional Screen Scotland to put together a programme sharing big screen takes on Scots' experiences of lockdown. There's also a focus on ongoing action around land rights, along with two documentaries exploring the Irish music scene.

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