HEART OF HAWICK
SATURDAY 29 APRIL
19:30 – 21:00 / 90′ including Q&A
Julia Parks will be present for the Q&A.
The films in this programme have descriptive captions. The introduction and Q&A will have BSL interpretation.
All four films in this programme are available to enjoy with Audio Description online throughout the Festival (27 – 30 April).
by Rachael Disbury
Julia Parks began a six-month residency with Alchemy Film & Arts in April 2022, undertaking collaborative research, interviews, site visits, sound recordings, analogue filmmaking, and community engagement along the Teviot and Tweed Rivers. This suite of four new films resulting from the project investigates the always complex, often contradictory, and sometimes comical relationship between humans, plants and animals in industrial and social contexts.
In The Wool Aliens, Julia traces the footsteps of botanist Ida Hayward (1872 – 1949), capturing and juxtaposing the ecologies of a river as well as the rhythms of its working mills. Julia focuses on varying tensions and harmonies between plants and labour through interviews and contemplative imagery: plants thriving in abandoned mills; close-ups of teasel-heads mechanised for the brushing and finishing of woollen garments; workers battling burrs and giant hogweed on the banks of the Tweed.
A closer look at burrs drives Tell Me About the Burryman, an affectionate portrait of the centuries-old annual Burryman’s Parade in South Queensferry. Against the backdrop of a sunny Forth Bridge, we trace the event from the foraging of burrs to the long procession of the Burryman, a person covered head-to-toe in ‘nature’s Velcro’.
Julia developed many relationships with people and groups across the Scottish Borders – notably, an affection and admiration for the work of staff and volunteers at Burnfoot Community Hub and Garden. Burnfoot Grows was made with workers and community groups at the space, which cultivates vegetables for the onsite café and wider Burnfoot community.
In All Flesh Is Grass, Julia contemplates the complexities and contradictions of the local area’s relationships to land and animals – from the more sterile apparatus required of ecological study, to roadkill, to the sight of Hawick’s Cornet dipping his flag in the Teviot as a recording of the Scottish ballad ‘The Twa Corbies’ plays out.
At the end of The Wool Aliens, an archival recording of ‘The Rolling Hills of the Borders’ is heard over a sustained shot of the Tweed, the river into which Hawick’s Teviot flows. The song concludes, but the film doesn’t, inviting us to contemplate the river’s continuation. The film’s extensive network of contributors begins to appear – underpinning the collaborations that made Julia’s residency possible.
THE WOOL ALIENS
27’45 – Scotland – 2023
TELL ME ABOUT THE BURRYMAN
9’31 – Scotland – 2023
9’01 – Scotland – 2023
ALL FLESH IS GRASS
9’37 – Scotland – 2023