Hawick’s Alchemy Film & Arts appoints new director and wins £88k grant

Film critic and film-maker, Michael Pattison, who has been appointed creative director of Hawick-based Alchemy Film & Arts.
Film critic and film-maker, Michael Pattison, who has been appointed creative director of Hawick-based Alchemy Film & Arts.

A community hub giving budding film makers access to resources and expertise will open in Hawick this summer.

Alchemy Film and Arts is set to develop a long-term programme of community film opportunities thanks to an £88000 cash injection from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

News of the three-year funding boost was announced last week as the organisation unveiled its new creative director, film critic Michael Pattison, who was senior programmer for the 2017 and 2018 Alchemy Film Festivals.

He takes over from founder Richard Ashrowan, who stepped down after nine years at the helm in January.

“I’m delighted and honoured to be Alchemy’s new creative director,” Michael said. “It’s equally a humbling and enticing prospect to succeed Richard Ashrowan, whose achievements in founding the organisation in 2010, and in building it to where it’s now at, have been enormous.”

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Alchemy. Not only has our regular funding from Creative Scotland allowed us to expand our increasingly popular exhibitions programme, it has also allowed us to confirm high-profile guests at the forthcoming edition of our festival from May.”

Together with Creative Scotland and Regional Screen Scotland support, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation grant means that Alchemy can put in place a programme of workshops to help develop skills, tailored training programmes, and special tours of events and exhibitions taking place during the annual festival. It will also create a year-round community hub for filmmaking known as Common Room, which will be open two days a week offering access to resources and expertise from this summer.

Programme manager Rachael Disbury explained: “The Common Room will be a central location for community filmmaking and creative learning programmes, screenings and events. Among the resources that we will make available are film editing facilities and a library of film and practice books, and we aim to have a range of equipment available for loan including cameras and sound recording equipment.”

This years festival takes place from May 2-6.