batum (2016) at Alchemy film and moving image festival, hawick, scotland (2017)
I heard plenty of praise for Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival. My film Fluchtpunkt (2015) screened there in 2016, while I was completing my Artist in Residence programme in New Mexico. I was therefore very pleased that Batum (2016) was screening in the Festival’s 2017 edition (‘Self Registration’ programme) and that its images featured in this year's Festival trailer and posters.
Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is an international festival of experimental film and artists’ moving image. The festival is onto its seventh edition and it is held in a charming town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Importantly so, Alchemy Film & Arts also ‘engages in developmental projects for experimental film and artists’ moving image production in Scotland, including artists’ filmmaking residencies, filmmaking symposia, international and rural touring programmes, and community filmmaking initiatives.’ Richard Ashrowan has been the Festival’s Creative Director since 2010. Dr Ashrowan is a moving image artist and film curator. He is also a curator for Scotland + Venice at the Venice Art Biennale 2017. He works with video and 16mm film, creating short single channel films, immersive video installations and live multi-projector performance experiments. His works are exhibited at artist-led spaces, galleries and film festivals around the world.
From the Self Registration Programme description: ‘seven films that differently explore how we occupy space, be it through the formation of groups, or individual expression, mapping the journeys of others or creating something familiar from an uncertain space. In Ursula Mayer’s Atom Spirit, genetic study, the forming of communities and the tension between a ‘natural’ and urban environment are enigmatically woven together on gorgeous 16mm. In Ourself and Self Registration the motion of half-glimpsed female forms is concealed and revealed through by turns, an enveloping darkness and the apparition that remains from hand processed 16mm. Meanwhile, the camera registers the slumped presence of a woman during a séance in Susan MacWilliam’s Pull Down. Considerations of place, belonging and national identity connect Prysia’s Garden by Miso and Lida Suchy with Tracy MacKenna and Edwin Janssen’s Jo, Josephine, Giuseppina and Tracy, and the ‘self-interrogation’ of Kamila Kuc’s Batum.’
Film Farm screening was among my favourite moments of the whole Festival. ‘Films from the Independent Imaging Retreat (aka. Film Farm) offered in rural Ontario every summer by Canadian experimental filmmaker Philip Hoffman and his dedicated staff. Film Farm’s 22 years of handmade experimental filmmaking have deeply influenced the work of both Canadian and international filmmakers and have dramatically influenced the re-imagining and implementation of artist-centered models for the teaching and production of film.' Phil Hoffman and Eva Kolcze's film By the Time We Got to Expo (2015) is part of the Disasters of Peace vol.1 programme I co-curated with Sam Jury for 2016 edition of Experiments in Cinema Festival.
The Festival ended with Mike Holboom’s Incident Reports (2015, Canada, European premiere). This feature film which took as its starting point a story of the post-bicycle accident amnesiac, who undertakes audio-visual therapy by producing a suite of one minute shots. I have always liked Holboom’s work and our films are often programmed in the same festivals. A few years ago in Belgrade, at the Alternative Film/Video I was fortunate to see Buffalo Death Mask (2013), a conversation with a painter Stephen Andrews 'returns us to a pre-cocktail moment, when being HIV+ afforded us the consolation of certainty.' His Scrapbook (2016), which I saw at one of the Experiments in Cinema editions 'tells the story of audacious autistic Donna Washington in her own words, as she encounters pictures of one of her former selves fifty years later.'
See also SHOW AND TELL #6: Kamila Kuc.