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The article title is: Six go to Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival

Six BAFSS students volunteered at Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival this year in Hawick. Here are their thoughts and reflections:

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is an exercise in radical imagination. Just as the discipline of alchemy itself that sets out to do the seemingly unimaginable, Alchemy is created by daring to collectively dream of what a film festival could potencially become: festival as a space of mutual aid, solidarity, community, a care network for the people and the land. The journey from London to the Scottish Borders then is a journey not only in space but also time – to the future where the world we were taught to take part in creating once we leave the university has already taken shape.In the town of Hawick, it seems, the future is now.

Martyna Ratnikaite, 3rd Year BAFSS


The experience of working at Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival was simply great. The team was friendly and went out of their way to make us live a unforgettable experience. I had the opportunity to work in different environments and learn about several roles including technical use of projector and editing 16mm films. I also had the chance to network with industry professionals.

Throughout this week, I have learned more about curating a programme and organising a festival. The aspect that I found more interesting is the festival’s relationship with its community. A phenomenon that can happen with yearly events is that they create something that is disconnected and alienated from the actual town that host them. These festivals use the space, bringing audience and filmmakers from outside and then leave for the rest of the year. Alchemy felt exactly the opposite. Instead of inviting and showing films from all around the world, they chose to prioritise local filmmakers. Many of the other volunteers were from the Scottish border area. They dedicated a screening to show short films made by young people from the border during a filmmaking programme as well as an exhibition showcasing community workshops called FilmTown. They organise six months of residences in Hawick for artist and filmmakers. They helped finding funds to support the Hawick Film and Video Group cinema. All of these choices help building mutual trust with local people that might not be particularly interested in experimental films. I found out about some of the ways in which alchemy is building a long term relationship with Hawick also talking to people that live there all year round.

I hope I will work with Alchemy again and I would recommend this experience for anyone interested in curating.

Michelangelo De Cia, 3rd Year BAFSS


To have attended the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival 2022 was an absolute pleasure. As a first-time volunteer, I got the chance to work at an incredibly curated film festival in a small Scottish town that I’d never heard of before, let alone been to, with the friendliest, most welcoming and generous team of people I have ever worked with. Not only this, but I also got to know so many talented, kind and inspiring artists, volunteers, programmers, Hawick locals and Alchemy visitors, all in under a week – as well as, of course, seeing a multitude of beautiful films and moving-image works across the weekend.
My week with Alchemy gave me a refreshed perspective on how screening events/film festivals/curated exhibitions can and should take place – with compassion, drive, community and fairness. I walked away from the festival feeling so inspired to continue creating my own work, to venture into new directions within the film and curation industries and to be more confident in talking to and asking questions to those already established in the industry.
It was so lovely to be able to work at and enjoy the festival as a volunteer. I had a shift or two each day but had plenty of free time which allowed me to see the screenings which I’d highlighted in my programme, as well as go on walks around the gorgeous local countryside and parks and even a trip to the well-stocked charity shops – we were very lucky with the weather too which was sunny everyday but one!
Mariella Driskell, 3rd Year BAFSS
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