Alchemy festival set for worldwide audience

Hawick-based Alchemy Film and Arts is anticipating a global audience of thousands for the Alchemy 11 festival, which runs from today until Monday.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 2:26 pm
Michael Pattison, creative director, and Rachael Disbury, production director, at Alchemy Film and Arts.

Alchemy 11 will build on the success of last year’s event, live-streaming more than 170 films ranging from world premieres of works by some of the leading names in experimental film to showcases of work curated and made by Borders-based groups.

All the video content will be captioned for d/Deaf audiences, with a selection of the programme also available with audio description for blind and partially sighted audiences.

“In 2020 we had to respond quickly to the reality of the first Covid lockdown presenting our 10th anniversary festival online, and we were delighted to welcome our largest ever audience,” said Alchemy’s creative director Michael Pattison.

“Faced with the same challenge this year we’re giving the care and attention to curation and community that we always do, and can’t wait to showcase the best international experimental films alongside new work made by Scottish Borders-based artists and community groups.

“Our aspiration to make Hawick Scotland’s film town continues both through our annual festival, which is attracting a growing international audience, and also through our many local community projects.

"I am delighted to screen a programme curated by young people who were mentored through our New Programmers scheme as well as a new short film, Wooplash by Borders Additional Needs Group's Branching Out.”

Hawick-based Vaishnavi Ramu and fellow members of the group Hadrian Creatives, Hannah Dodd and Xander Cowan, were able to benefit from the New Programmers mentoring scheme offered by Alchemy Film and Arts. They have co-curated a programme of nine short films which will be shown on Sunday afternoon.

“Making connections in a dispersed community like the Borders can be difficult and the New Programmers initiative offered a chance to do that,” says Vaishnavi. “It helped us to develop our curatorial skills and then having the opportunity to put them into action in this year’s festival is tremendous.”

“Wooplash enabled our young people to explore and experience nature in a way that many of our young people haven't had the opportunity to do before,” says Fiona Waterston Law, Youth Worker at Branching Out “Helping to develop important life skills such as listening and observing. Branching out youth group thrived in a creative environment where we could express ourselves and showcase our own unique talents. Our young people thoroughly enjoyed working with Alchemy.”

Alchemy 11 opens with a keynote address by the leading historian, journalist and political commentator, Vijay Prashad. Over the following days work by artists and filmmakers from four continents will be presented in a series of free to view events including a programme of shorts on the intersection of race and environment curated by Greg de Cuir and the World Premiere of a new documentary about Bill Douglas and Charlie Chaplin (by Edinburgh-based Louise Milne and Seán Martin).Running alongside the timetabled screenings will be a series of pieces presented under the Focus banner which will be available to view-on-demand throughout the festival

For the full Alchemy 11 programme and to watch the live-stream/ on-demand films, Q&As and events visit