Folk Film Gathering returns for its third year

Folk Film Gathering returns for its third year

Highlights from the 2017 programme include Killer Sheep, Land of Songs and Latcho Drom

The world's first festival of folk cinema is back this year for its third edition, bringing with it another programme of interesting and rare world cinema that engages effectively with folk culture. This year, the festival will feature the work of filmmakers from the UK as well as from Finland, Brittany, Italy and Brazil, focusing on the strong connection between songs and labour.

What truly makes the festival unique though is its live music element, with many of the screenings being introduced by performances that link in some way to the film in question. The MacTaggart Scott Loanhead Brass Band for example will be introducing The Scar, while the Polish women's choir Davno will perform before Land of Songs. Elsewhere, you'll find Scots-Jamaican Burns singer Brina introducing Killer of Sheep and live music from singers Steve Byrne and Jess Smith and Scots Trad Awards Instrumentalist of the Year Rachel Newton.

The Gathering is a partnership between Transgressive North, Edinburgh Filmhouse and TradFest, giving voice to the folk traditions of working class communities and their culture, history and experiences. This year's programme will also place an extra emphasis on political solidarity by showcasing films that highlight the experiences of marginalised groups, displaced communities and those facing austerity.

With so many excellent films to choose from, we've rounded up a few of our top picks to help you decide what to see.

Blackbird (2013)
Introduced with a live performance by Margaret Bennett and followed by an audience with Normal Maclean.
Ruadhan is a young man facing a mammoth battle. To stop his community and hometown from changing drastically, he decides that he must fight for the past to keep traditions alive. The film features legendary folk heroes Norman Maclean, Sheila Stewart and Margaret Bennett and highlights the importance of the oral tradition of storytelling.
Sat 29 Apr, Filmhouse, 5.45pm

Killer of Sheep (1978)
Introduced with a performance by Brina.
Director Charles Burnett's debut depicts the working class black experience in Los Angeles in the 1970s through Stan, who works tirelessly in a slaughterhouse. With a brilliant selection of music from Etta James to Earth, Wind & Fire accompanying, the film draws attention to the struggles of inner-city life through Stan's increasing detachment from his daily work and personal life.
Sun 30 Apr, Filmhouse, 6pm

Barravento (1962)
Introduced with a Brazilian folk song from Sarah Campbell.
Set in the state of Bahia in Brazil, Barravento follows Firmino, who returns home to a fishing village, having originally left to escape poverty. But the village is influenced heavily by mysticism and the Candomblé religion, which Firmino believes is a cause of oppression. As he convinces the fishermen to rebel, he succeeds in stirring up tensions, which leads to tragic consequences.
Mon 1 May, Filmhouse, 6pm

Land of Songs (2015)
Introduced by a live performance of Lithuanian and Polish work songs by Davno and followed by a Q&A with Aldona Watts.
Aldona Watt's debut feature is a moving look at the lives of five elderly women based in a region of Lithuania that has been described as 'Land of Songs'. Despite the hardship of war and the many struggles they've faced as a result, the women have done everything they can to keep the folk singing tradition of their village alive. The film is proof of the value of heritage and folk tradition, especially when faced with adversity.
Mon 8 May, Filmhouse, 6pm

The Milk of Sorrow (2009)
The title refers to the folk belief that women who were raped during the period of extreme violence in Peru in the 80s and 90s passed on their trauma to their children through their breast milk. In the film, Fausta is part of the generation that have received the 'milk of sorrow' from their mothers and as she faces the sudden death of her mother, she has to decide whether or not to let the disease consume her. Using magical realism to draw attention to the atrocities of the violence in Peru, Claudia Llosa's Golden Bear winning film is an ode to female strength and survival.
Wed 10 May, Filmhouse, 5.50pm

Latcho Drom (1993)
Introduced by a performance of Scots traveller songs from Jess Smith.
Described as a 'folk musical', Tony Gatlif's documentary tells the story of Romany people and their nomadic culture by dramatising a journey from India to Spain solely through song and dance. The film follows the community over a year, offering a valuable insight into Romany music traditions while also providing a snapshot of a community and their culture.
Thu 11 May, Filmhouse, 8.35pm

Folk Film Gathering

Folk film festival with a focus on songs and labour and their importance to communities around the world.