Hawick's Alchemy Festival goes ahead on an online basis.

While most entertainment events in the Borders have had to be cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, a major film festival in Hawick is still ploughing ahead … and you won’t have to leave the house.

Alchemy Film and Arts' Michael Pattison and Rachael Disbury.
Alchemy Film and Arts' Michael Pattison and Rachael Disbury.

The 10th edition of Hawick’s annual Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival will go ahead in a

revised format at the beginning of May.

Announcing the news earlier this week, Michael Pattison, creative director of Alchemy Film and Arts, said: “In response to escalating uncertainties around the COVID-19 outbreak, which affect all elements of our preparation and our year-round programme, we have made the extremely painful decision to suspend all in-person events at this year’s Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival.

“In light of such disappointing news, we are, however, delighted to announce that we are responding proactively by curating an online version of the festival programme that allows us to continue platforming high-quality films while prioritising the safety of our local and artistic community.”

This will enable Alchemy to maintain its international profile while placing Hawick at the forefront of digital communications, allowing the town’s wider community to connect with artists and filmmakers worldwide.

In its revised format, Scotland’s biggest experimental film festival will take place exclusively online over the May 1-3 weekend, with three full days of live streams and free, one-off screenings.

“We’re continuing to work tirelessly to ensure our festival programme is accessible to as many people as possible,” said Michael. “By introducing additional content and live introductions recorded in Hawick, we hope to retain a sense of global community and social connectivity in these unprecedented times.”

He highlighted a need to uphold artistic and cultural provision even through times of crisis.

“We might not normally think of the arts as essential, but the social benefit of watching films and participating in international conversations is massive.

“At Alchemy, we’re doing what we can to preserve this dynamic between the local and the global, and to honour our commitment to platforming quality films by amazing artists while being responsible and responsive amidst widespread uncertainty.”

The line-up for this year’s festival will be published on Thursday, March 26. More information can be found at Alchemy’s website, www.alchemyfilmandarts.org.uk