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Alchemy Live to kick off online on 1 May


- The Scottish festival, co-directed by Michael Pattison and Rachael Disbury, will take place entirely online owing to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak

Alchemy Live to kick off online on 1 May
Corporate Accountability by Jonathan Perel

The tenth edition of the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, exceptionally renamed Alchemy Live, will be the online iteration of the annual flagship event organised by Alchemy Film & Arts, whose activities are year-round and are not limited to the days of the festival. On this occasion, the event will take place from 1-3 May.

Alchemy Live will include 15 film programmes, including ten curated shorts screenings, three new “spotlight” slots and two features (one UK premiere and one European premiere). Each of the programmes is set to screen once, viewable in real time on this webpage.

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The festival will kick off with a morning screening of the “Ghost Dwelling” shorts programme, followed by the “Build Me a Dream” strand. The two features being presented at this year’s Alchemy are Jonathan Perel’s Corporate Accountability (UK premiere) and the closing film, Stephen Broomer’s road movie Phantom Ride (European premiere), set to be shown on Sunday evening. The first film sees the filmmaker tracing, recording and confronting the companies that colluded in the repression and disappearance of 30,000 workers and union delegates during Argentina’s military dictatorship. Meanwhile, Phantom Ride is made from American home movies, shot by a hosiery mill owner in Pennsylvania and retouched by Broomer.

Speaking about the virtualisation process and the peculiarities of this year’s edition, festival co-director Michael Pattison disclosed to Cineuropa: “Once the scale of the situation became apparent, we began to think more actively of different contingencies, each one more severe than the last. We knew we couldn’t wholesale postpone the festival to the autumn due to the size of our team and the year-round nature of our programme, which includes artists’ residencies, exhibitions and other events that require advance production. We were due to send our at-a-glance guide to print on the day we finally realised we would have to cancel all in-person elements. We were heartbroken because all of the in-person elements – delegate dinners, opening receptions, discussion events, expanded cinema performances, nightcaps and DJ sets – are as curated as anything else. As painful as that decision was, we felt a strong duty of care towards the artists who had permitted us to screen their work, and towards the staff and contractors who were working on the festival – some of whom had relocated to Hawick in order to deliver the job. We identified three needs: any online version of the festival should demonstrate the same quality in curation as the in-person screenings programme; it should be meaningful to the artists showcased, to the community watching it, and to us as an organisation; and it should be deliverable with the team’s existing skill sets and the organisation’s current resources, even in the event one of us falls ill.”

For further information, you can access the festival programme here.

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