Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival launches its 2018 programme
- Murray Robertson
- 11 April 2018
Hawick's annual celebration of the cream of moving image artists
For the past seven years the Scottish Borders town of Hawick has played host to the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, celebrating the work of the most groundbreaking experimental films and artists from around the world.
As well as more than 130 film screenings (including 36 world premieres) over five days, this year's festival features a dozen film installations, expanded cinema performances, a filmmaker symposium and film walk.
This year's highlights include a tribute to legendary Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer, the main focus of which is the UK premiere of what he claims will be his last film, Insect. There is also a programme of the director's early short films, and panel discussions on his work.
Canadian director Mike Hoolboom's four-part biopic, Aftermath, explores the lives of four legendary artists: Fats Waller, Jackson Pollock, Janieta Eyre and Frida Kahlo. Political instability is explored by Turkish artist Didem Pekün's Araf, juxtaposing Icarus with
the shocking violence of the Srebrenica genocide.
Scottish filmmaking is celebrated with two expanded cinema pieces featuring live music. Artist MacGillivray's Gàradh Gàidhlig nam Marbh (The Gaelic Garden of the Dead) is intriguingly described as 'a cinematic alphabet of trees', while Borders based writer/filmmaker Dorothy Alexander joins forces with experimental musician Nicoletta Stephanz to explore the origins of Gaelic song and myth.
Alchemy is further enhanced by guest programmes including the Berlin based ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival from the US, Borders based feminist film programme, Behind the Curtain, and more.
The festival closes with Ela Orleans's live score for Guy Maddin's Cowards Bend the Knee, an event which also features the world premiere of Orleans's short film Apparition.