Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is the flagship annual event of Alchemy Film & Arts, a cultural organisation dedicated to experimental film and artists’ moving image in Hawick, a small town in the Scottish Borders. Alchemy takes pride in balancing support for established and emerging artists, and in its policies of inclusion and equality: a core percentage of its programme consists of work submitted via open call.

The retrospective consists primarily of films which received their premiere at Alchemy; others are by artists with whom the organisation has worked closely on other projects. This programme speaks to modes of seeing and ways of being. The films curated here are by mediators, investigators, alchemists: artists navigating environments, reanimating landscapes, and posing new ways to think through old challenges – namely, those of technology, interpretation and habitat.

THURSDAY (7 November 2019) 21.00

KINOTEKA cinema (pl. Defilad 1)

Red Lights and a Solstice Moon
dir. Jason Moyes, Great Britain 2017

On the outskirts of Hawick, a small town in the Scottish Borders, the summer solstice coincides with the rare “strawberry” moon – a phenomenon not seen since 1967. On this occasion, an ambiguous coded radio transmission is heard: phantom signals, perhaps, dating from the earlier occurrence.

Eustatic Drift
dir. Keira Greene, Great Britain 2019

Graptolites, our long-extinct plankton ancestors, speculate from the depths of time upon past and future interspecies connections: fossil-forms signal histories rich in flux.

dir. Bronte Stahl, Belgium / Hungary / Portugal 2019

Data, on a human scale, is deployed to narrate a mining disaster in Charleroi, 1956. Capital and environment dictate this industrial tragedy, which is filmed from the slagheaps made of coal-mining’s waste materials.

dir. Stephen Broomer, Canada 2012

Camera movements, toward a forest opening, are repeated – and saturated – through persistence and colour.

Never Ever River
dir. Raquel Vermunt, Marocco 2019

Optical zooms prefigure a literal passage, as a filmmaker traverses a desert landscape in search of the central point of her camera’s gaze. What is over there, and what lies beyond it?

Un / re / veal / ed
dir. Ece Ezer, Turkey 2019

The figure as virus, the image as a self-breeding form. Rinse, repeat: a passage to nowhere.

dir. Lin Li, Great Britain 2012

Movement across a micro-wilderness is sketched on a digital tablet. Filming and drawing combine in an exploration of meaning-making and the relationship between observer and observed.

Surface II
dir. Sam Spreckley, Great Britain 2012

A short journey through landscape is abstracted into an alchemical exploration of image and sound, and of surface and immersion.

Silva Shade
dir. Martha Jurksaitis, Great Britain 2014

A dream, inside a Finnish forest, shot on Super 8 and processed using planet-friendly techniques.

Swarm Circulation
dir. Yeonu Ju, South Korea 2017

A documentary on the manufacturing of electronics, a television commercial, and found footage of electronic goods being incinerated provoke questions of consumption as a function of waste. How big is your bandwidth?

Sixty-Three Plastic Bottles and One Aluminium Can
dir. Jessie Growden, Great Britain / Marocco 2018

In the Moroccan Sahara, a woman attempts to make sense of a trauma – by walking, and walking some more, and by counting the inanimate debris cohabiting the landscape.

The Loom
dir. Toby Tatum, Great Britain 2019

In another world of shadows and webs, time slows to a halt and strange, enchanting music emanates from an Aeolian harp – emblem of the Romantic era.

To Get in Touch with Crows
dir. Rhona Mühlebach, Szwitzerland 2018

A woman attempts to engage and communicate with crows in a local park. The results, for her, encompass a range of emotions.

Wolves from Above
dir. Demelza Kooij, Canada 2019

A pack of wolves is filmed from the air. The animals, quiet and elusive, begin to respond to this technological intrusion and return its optical gaze.

dir. Greg Marshall, Canada 2019

Data from 327 United States drone attacks in Yemen, between 2002 and 2018, is reconfigured into a techno-virtual investigation into the quotidian sites of imperialist traumas.

dir. Mauro Santini, Italy 2018

At night, the earth and stars form a starting point for a uniquely cinematic drift whose chief performers are the moon, a train, a streetlight. A riff on the possible, the imagined, the associative.

Or / Or Hawick, may 18
dir. Jacques Perconte, France 2018

In Hawick, a small town in the Scottish Borders, a bird crosses the sky into new mystical dimensions formed by colour, gold, light and sound.