Alchemy Film & Arts was established in 2010 by Richard Ashrowan. Our core ambitions are to celebrate the most creative, innovative and thought-provoking experimental film and moving image; to reach and engage with both national and international filmmakers and moving-image artists and bring their work to the attention of the widest possible audience; and to work for the benefit of unique communities in the Scottish Borders.
We engage in developmental projects for film and moving image in Scotland, including our annual film festival, community filmmaking initiatives, artists’ filmmaking residencies, a year-round exhibitions programme, filmmaking symposia, film commissioning and touring programmes. Our approach is distinctive in its dedication to experimentation, with an attitude that artistic opportunity is for everyone, rather than the privileged few.
Our initial focus was the creation of a film festival in Hawick, with a strong international outlook, aiming to show the highest quality experimental film and artists’ moving image work from around the world. No such festival existed in the UK and we were inspired by festivals such as the European Media Art Festival (Germany) and Ann Arbor Film Festival (USA). By taking an uncompromising approach to artistic excellence, Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival is now “widely acknowledged as one of Europe’s most important festivals of experimental film and artists moving image” (Scottish Arts News, 2017).
In 2017, Alchemy Film & Arts curated Scotland’s presentation at the Venice Biennale, with Rachel Maclean’s Spite Your Face, and in 2018 received three-year regular funding from Creative Scotland.
Building on the significant national and international recognition the festival has achieved, our activities have expanded over the last eight years to include: filmmaking workshops and creative skills programmes for young people; year-round exhibition programme in Hawick; community volunteering scheme; artist residencies; touring film programmes and artist film commissions.
Alchemy Film & Arts will continue to celebrate the best in artist film internationally and nationally, while also striving to be a catalyst for lasting change within our town, its individuals and communities, contributing toward a positive and re-energised sense of aspiration that celebrates Hawick as a dynamic creative place.