8 CROFT ROAD (HAWICK FILM AND VIDEO GROUP)
THURSDAY 28 APRIL – SUNDAY 1 MAY
11:00 – 16:00 / 46′
This programme is captioned.
Content warning: some flashing imagery; depictions of school bullying; discussion of transphobia, homophobia.
by Michael Pattison
Film Town is Alchemy Film & Arts’ community engagement strategy, launched as a pilot community filmmaking initiative in 2019. Encompassing workshops, partnerships and collaborative models of film production, Film Town works to the benefit of Hawick and Scottish Borders communities by investing in cultural identity through creative means, by widening accessibility and inclusion for publics, and by challenging social, physical and communication barriers.
This showcase of 11 films, made under the guidance of Alchemy’s Film Town Coordinator Tom Swift between 2019 and 2022, plays continually inside the 42-seat community cinema of Hawick Film & Video Group – a club of amateur cineastes who converted the space from a sweetie shop in 1964 with ticket sales from screenings of Sons of Heroes, their DIY historical epic about Hawick’s defining Battle of Hornshole. The communal and collaborative spirit of that film runs through these contemporary experiments.
In 21st Century Lattice, a group of participants on Outwith – Alchemy’s community filmmaking project for young people in the Scottish Borders – generate a picture of deep uncertainty with assistance from artist Kerry Jones, pairing moving-image street photography with a cut-up audio collage of sentences from books on present and future catastrophes. Similarly rhythmic, Wooplash is Branching Out Youth Group’s (Borders Additional Needs Group) percussive homage to Wooplaw Community Woodland in Galashiels – a place of sound, texture and scratchy, squelchy fun: ‘It’s good to laugh!’
In Space Sheep, Interest Link – the Borders-wide volunteer befriending service for isolated children, young people and adults with learning disabilities – save Hawick from an invasion of bovid aliens, with thanks to some nifty animation and time manipulation. An altogether more ominous trajectory is traced, through montage and colour, in Outwith participants’ Innocence to Evil.
Working with artist M Dudeck, Borders Youth Theatre and other Outwith participants performed two film rituals last year. In Artifice, resulting from a three-day film workshop, they pay tribute to a mysterious tentacled god, while in Ritual they enact more solemn fireside formalities on Hawick’s Miller’s Knowes.
In two films by Jedburgh Scout Group, education and experimentation are combined. The Bottle animates the journey of a plastic bottle from its origins as oil beneath the seabed to its afterlife on a waste disposal site. In Big Bad Barry, social context complicates our assumptions around classroom bullying.
In The Anxiety Loop, Outwith participants build a sense of uncertainty and claustrophobia through the power of montage (‘I’m afraid…’). In No Words, young people facilitated by artist Dawn Berry – in partnership with Queer Borders Film Festival and Scottish Borders LGBT Equality – confront social pressures and articulate the pluralities of queer existence. Finally, Touch is Branching Out Youth Group’s lovely homage to the tactile senses: a film in which repetition and rhythm generate a sense of comfort and warmth.
21ST CENTURY LATTICE
2’23 – Scotland – 2021
2’56 – Scotland – 2021
6’29 – Scotland – 2019
INNOCENCE TO EVIL
3’35 – Scotland – 2021
3’19 – Scotland – 2021
6’12 – Scotland – 2021
3’19 – Scotland – 2019
BIG BAD BARRY
5’14 – Scotland – 2019
THE ANXIETY LOOP
5’10 – Scotland – 2021
4’25 – Scotland – 2021
2’39 – Scotland – 2021