Alchemy Film & Arts announces 2019 festival programme

Alchemy Film & Arts has unveiled the full programme of its 9th annual Film and Moving Image Festival. Taking place 2 - 6 May in Hawick, Scottish Borders, the 2019 edition of the internationally renowned showcase of experimental film will screen 147 moving-image works over seven venues and across a packed 5-day programme.

In a launch event held on Hawick High Street on Wednesday 3 April, Alchemy announced the festival line-up, which includes 4 feature-length films, 11 shorts programmes, 3 guest-curated programmes, 4 expanded cinema performances, 10 moving-image installations and more. There are 39 World Premieres featuring in this year’s programme.

Highlights include the UK Festival Premiere of Ceremony by Turner Prize nominee, Phil Collins, the World Premiere of a new performance by French maestro and Alchemy regular, Jacques Perconte, the UK premieres of feature films by Stephen Broomer (Canada), Karolina Breguła (Poland) and Yashaswini Raghunandan (India) and a programme of shorts curated by CROSSROADS, San Francisco Cinematheque’s annual film festival.

Portrait of Barbara Meter holding a small blackboard with her name on it

The festival also features programmes dedicated to avant-garde filmmakers, Barbara Meter, Esther Urlus and Deborah S. Phillips, as well as the presence of writer/actor/director, Gerda Stevenson - who will lead this year’s Film Walk on Monday 6 May, with a poem specially commissioned by Alchemy in response to Margaret Tait 100, an ongoing celebration of Scotland’s pioneering filmmaker and poet on the occasion of her centenary.

The closing event, culminating in a screening of Tait’s Orquil Burn in Wilton Dean Village Hall, will be the first in the Scottish Borders to contribute to Margaret Tait 100.

"The 9th edition of Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is shaping up to be our most successful to date," said Michael Pattison, Alchemy Film & Arts Creative Director.

"We’re extremely excited to be welcoming Phil Collins to Hawick, as well as longstanding figures of the experimental film community such as Esther Urlus, Deborah S. Phillips, Stephen Broomer, Madison Brookshire and more. These international names will be gracing Hawick alongside the World Premiere of a new self-curated touring programme of works by the Borders-based Moving Image Makers Collective.

"We are also delighted to welcome back the likes of Dana Berman Duff, whose work screened at Alchemy two years ago and whose new installation will have its International Premiere in Hawick, and of course Jacques Perconte. In addition to the World Premiere of Jacques’ performance on Sunday 5 May, we’ll also host the UK Premiere of his short film, Or / Or Hawick, may 18, which he filmed on the River Teviot during our 2018 festival."

Visual art image of a horse animation

Expansion for 2019

The festival will this year expand its screening programme to encompass a much-improved second screening room at Unit Four on Towerdykeside—where expanded cinema performances will also take place.

"It’s testament to our growth and expansion that we’ve had to invest more in a second screening venue," says Michael.

"We’ve taken measures to make Unit Four into an exciting new cinema space worthy of 16mm projections and post-screening Q&As."

Mark Thomas at Screen Scotland/Creative Scotland said,

“The festival has over the years built up an incredibly significant international reputation and this year’s programme is testament to that, with an incredible 39 World Premieres. The expansion into a further screening venue will increase opportunities for audiences to engage with the programme and showcase an impressive collection of experimental film.”

Regular screenings and artist Q&As will take place primarily in Heart of Hawick and Unit Four, while installations will be held in former shop spaces at 1 and 5 Buccleuch Road and 53 High Street.

Embrace the Strange

At the 3 April Programme Launch, the Alchemy team also unveiled its new slogan, Embrace the Strange.

"We hope to build upon our considerable international reputation," explains Michael, "by encouraging a more local audience base to engage with what we do. It’s an invitation as well as a dare."

For tickets and more information about this year’s full programme, please visit

Media contact

Lesley Booth