Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival 2016: programme highlights

The 2016 Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival programme has launched! Peruse http://www.alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk/2016/2016-programme/ for the full details on this year’s leading features, installations, short films and everything else in-between. Summaries of the main events are listed below.

 Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is Scotland’s international festival of experimental film and artists’ moving image. Taking place from 14th to 17th April, the 4-day festival is held in the ex-industrial mill town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders region of Scotland. Alchemy is one of the UK’s only festivals dedicated to experimental and artists’ film, and draws an international crowd of filmmakers and fans of the genre.

 This year’s theme is the ‘Altered State including notions of transcendence, political transition and material change, mental or spiritual transformation, and excavations of contemporary counterculture. 

The festival is supported by EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

The festival opens with the annual Alchemy Filmmaker Symposium features talks by high calibre and internationally recognised speakers in the world of artists’ film, including Steven Bode (UK), Bryan Konefsky (USA), Lucy Reynolds (UK) and Leighton Pierce (USA). 

Artist’s Double Bill featuring the Scottish premieres of Red Moon Rising by Vivienne Dick (Ireland) and short films by London based artist Maryam Tafakory. Both artists work with performance, exploring issues of gender representation, visual poetics, politics and religion. Q&A with the directors present.

Scottish premiere of White Ash (Leighton Pierce, USA) a visual journey into edges of consciousness built upon thousands of images shot on a moving stills camera. The film takes us on a journey through shifting perceptions evocative of meditative and dreamlike states. Q&A with the director present.

In the World premiere of Silver (Allan Brown, Canada, 2015) a man from outer space sets out to free his father from a hospital. He is bathed in his own inner space of emotional closed circuits, alienation, rings, halos, loops, orbits, cycles, echoes and dream logic. Q&A with director.

In the World premiere of Silver (Allan Brown, Canada, 2015) a man from outer space sets out to free his father from a hospital. He is bathed in his own inner space of emotional closed circuits, alienation, rings, halos, loops, orbits, cycles, echoes and dream logic. Q&A with director.

In the UK premiere of Caspar Stracke’s time / OUT OF JOINT (Germany, 2015) the framework of the human condition is probed, by aiming to disrupt its incongruous and programmatic fate; life’s finitude marked by death. Part documentary, part science fiction, OOJ establishes a dialogue between eclectic groups of people united by a common dominator; their work is related to time reversal.

UK premiere of Jennifer (Nina Danino, UK, 2015). The daily rituals and of an enclosed Carmelite nun are opened to us in this quietly observational and deeply contemplative film. The luminous interiority of the monastic life echoes through the choices that have informed Jennifer’s life and vocation. Q&A with the director present.

Ettrick (Jacques Perconte, France, 2015). Made in the Scottish Borders, Ettrick traces the landscapes and machinery of the Scottish Borders Woollen mill industry, rendered in an impressionistic arc of abstract colour and movement. A UK premiere, following a recent showing at MoMa in New York. 

Artists' moving image installations in empty shops, ex-industrial and office spaces around Hawick, including the UK premiere of Grayson Cooke’s Old Growth (Australia), using chemically degradation of film negatives to highlight ecological issues, while Belgium based Gauthier Keyaerts offers immersion into an interactive world of visuals in Fragments #43-44.

There will be three curated film programmes by international guest curators, including Bryan Konefsky (Experiments in Cinema, USA), Emmanuel Lefrant (Lightcone, France) and Serge Dentin (Rencontres Internationales Sciences et Cinema, France).

Our local Moving Image Makers Collective will be hosting a special screening of films made by its members. The Collective is a vibrant group of filmmakers that has enjoyed great success with a number of exhibitions and screenings throughout the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh over the last year.

Film Performances Monteith McCollum’s Hidden Frequencies (USA) is a three movement live cinema performance exploring the history of communication technologies. The French artist Gaëlle Rouard performs live alchemical film manipulations using 16mm projectors, exploring the performative poetics of film as a material.

Richard Ashrowan, Creative Director: “Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is now approaching its sixth edition. Our vibrant international programme includes feature films, experimental shorts, video art installations and live performances, screening around 140 films, most of which are World, UK or Scottish premieres. The Festival has grown enormously every year, attracting 850 international film submissions in 2016. We have built a strong international profile and over 50 filmmakers from around the world have confirmed their attendance this year.”

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland: “We are proud to support The Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, one of the most revered gatherings of experimental filmmaking talent.

Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events. The strength of this year’s programme is testament to this, showcasing works by both home and top international filmmakers and artists.”

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