“Something special is happening in Hawick...”

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is the UK’s festival of experimental film, taking place each spring in Hawick, a town of 14,000 people in the Scottish Borders.

Across an international programme of cinema screenings, live performances, moving-image exhibitions and a Festival Ceilidh in venues around town, the festival is known for the openness, solidarity, humour and non-competitive nature with which it is delivered.

Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is the flagship event of Alchemy Film & Arts, an organisation that works year-round with communities and artists both locally and internationally, using film as a way to come together, have conversations and strengthen community. We strive to create spaces in which collective expression, creative learning and critical thinking can take place.

We are constantly questioning the broader contexts in which we live and work. Through collaboration, partnerships and a critically engaged practice that places inclusion, equity and social justice at its centre, we aim to put Hawick on the map as Scotland’s Film Town, and contribute to a fairer creative industry.


"A film festival unlike any other in Scotland, with a distinctive focus on unusual, experimental filmmaking that blurs the boundary between cinema and visual arts."

"With their focus on community, education and inclusivity and their year-round events and programmes, Alchemy are showing how film festivals can be more than transitory parties for cinephiles and industry types. They’re building a lasting legacy for their community."

"Experimentation is no more than a style if it doesn’t change the structures we participate in… If the current film industry specialises in the extraction and exploitation of human resources, then Alchemy is an exercise in radical imagination… A space of mutual aid, solidarity, a care network for both the people and the land…"

"It was really inspiring how you held the festival, the care and attention, and to see the way that relations are building in and around Alchemy in Hawick. I am already looking forward to next year!"

"Alchemy is a true flagship for inclusion."

"Really had a wonderful time screening with Alchemy! The communication was impeccable and it is clear they love filmmakers."

"Wonderful curation, beautiful festival, a dream for experimental filmmakers!"

"A truly wonderful film festival, run by people who are professional and passionate about experimental film. Both of these traits shine consistently through every step of the process."

"One of the best festivals out there."

“It is clearly impacting the community and nurturing creativity for all kinds of people be they from Hawick or international. I really can’t understate how brilliant a weekend it was.”

“Film festivals can sometimes feel airdropped into their surroundings. No such charge could be laid at the feet of Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival. With every edition, it feels more integrated with its community.”

“Something special is happening in Hawick, and these four joyous days were only the tip of the iceberg.”

We are proudly non-competitive in nature. All selected artists are paid.

We ask that filmmakers submit their work on a 'pay what you can afford' basis. We do not ask for proof of circumstances, but do ask that you are honest to allow us to keep fees as low as possible.

— Earlybird £12 / Regular £14: For those who are easily able to meet their basic needs and have expendable income.
— Earlybird £10 / Regular £12: For those who can usually meet their basic needs and have some expendable income.
— Earlybird £8 / Regular £10: For those who often struggle to meet their basic needs and do not have expendable income.

— If you are submitting a multi-channel installation, please give as much detail as possible, including documentation (if available) and essential needs in terms of space and tech. Alchemy will provide dedicated technical support during install and de-install.

— We have no restrictions on the premiere status of a film, though prefer not to screen work that has already been widely shown in Scotland. We will also favour work completed after 1 January 2024.

All selected artists are remunerated for their work. All payments will be made via PayPal after the Festival.

— We screen films from DCP and 16mm, and can accept most other common digital formats.
— We provide all films with descriptive subtitles for deaf and hard of hearing audiences (SDH), in the event descriptive subtitles are not already available.

— All notifications of selection will be sent out in February 2025 if not before.
— Final screening copies should be received by us within 1 week of notification.
— In the case of digital files, we prefer to receive final screening copies electronically – i.e., via Dropbox, WeTransfer or download link.
— We hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to communication and the screening of your work; we test all digital files and work closely with our partners and screening venues to ensure your work is shown in the highest standard possible. For this reason, we ask that all selected films are transferred to us in advance of test screenings. So as not to impact other selected filmmakers, failure to meet these deadlines may result in your film being withdrawn from our programme.
— We take a great deal of care each year to curate a meaningful and critically engaging programme. Once a film is selected and invitation is accepted, a filmmaker may not withdraw their film from the programme, and we would appreciate it if you communicated any updates to us following your submission as to any other planned screenings.

Overall Rating
  • Lars Koens

    The strange has once again been embraced!

    July 2024
  • Louise Barrington

    I had a fabulous time at the Alchemy film festival, what made it so special was the friendly atmosphere. It was a great opportunity to meet filmmakers and see an inspiring programme of films. The Alchemy team and the community of Hawick made the festival an amazing experience, and I am honoured that Four Seasons was part of the programme.

    June 2024
  • Gabby Follett

    BY FAR, the best festival I've ever attended as either a maker or an attendee. I have never known such hospitality and clarity from any art organization. The staff clearly takes great pride in this gathering and forefronts care in all of their interactions and decisions. I cannot overstate how much the size of the festival is key to its success. This is an intimate gathering with no overlapping screenings, which heightens the sense of collective experience. I love Alchemy. I hope to be back in attendance in the coming years.

    May 2024
  • Wilma Smith

    Absolutely LOVED this festival. The team are so helpful, lovely and genuine. The programmes are so beautifully curated. As a filmmaker attending, I was so well looked after. Overall an excellent and must see festival of experimental film.

    May 2024
  • Matthew Burdis

    The best place I've shown my work by a long way. An incredible programme and team. The engagement with the local community and inclusive atmosphere was fantastic, can't sing its praises enough - everyone should go!

    May 2024