Reality Makes You Sleep, Dreams Keep You Awake

Yarrow Frost is part of the Young Alchemy Programmers Team, read on to find out more about the process they used to curate Reality Makes You Sleep, Dreams Keep You Awake. You can find out more about the whole project here.

I recently took part in a group youth project with Alchemy, curating a short programme of moving image films for the 2018 Alchemy film and moving image festival in Hawick. Three of us met weekly with Harriet Warman and Kerry Jones to watch and rate a series of around 20 short films from which we selected our programme, we slowly narrowed the films down until we had nine which all had a link to one another and had an overall theme for the final programme. Working in a team was really interesting, we often had different views and opinions on the films, which I think somehow stemmed from our background influences and interests which affect how we felt about certain themes and visuals within them. Because we did not always agree on the films, it made it extra special when we all agreed on the brilliance of a film.
    Throughout our programme there is a strong thread of social and political commentary, the film makers showing their view on the world and events that are happening right now. We tried to juxtapose the more strongly commentary pieces with abstract films that maybe play more on the fantastical and unconscious mind. For instance we put  Demo-Cracy Is To Blame  next to  Poetry Of Dreams,  they both are very different in their themes but they compliment each other wonderfully, contrasting between the harsh and sometimes quite brutal documentary footage commenting on protests and fights around the world in  Demo-Cracy Is To Blame  and the dreamy serene cinematography of  Poetry of Dreams. 

This project has really opened my eyes to the world of experimental film, I now realise that film can be so much more then what we see at the cinema, experimental film challenges the norms of film making whether that be in the actual technical filming process or through the narrative or lack of narrative. It is more then just a story that leads you easily through it, it can challenge you and really make you think. Not all of the films we watched made “sense” which I found hard to get my head around at the beginning but then I came to realise that these films that didn’t have such a direct narrative storyline were the ones that stuck in my mind more then the ones that had a typical “narrative”. They make you really think about them, because you can’t quite understand what is was trying to say, it becomes almost like a puzzle that your brain really wants to solve. 

I am really excited to see our programme in the festival with a live audience and a Q & A with some of the filmmakers. I also am very interested in seeing some of the other programmes being shown. throughout the festival, especially Aftermath  which explores the lives of the four artists Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, Janieta Eyre and Fats Waller.