A short film programme at
Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival
Sunday 6 May 2018 | Heart of Hawick | 16:00 | £5

Featuring animation, narrative, experimentation, performance and documentary, this selection brings together films that differently resist compliance, defy expectations and assert identity within the structures of family, religion, media, the economy and politics.


Lessons for Polygamists | b.h. Yael | 2017 | 14:33 | Canada | International Premiere

Told from her perspective growing up in a polygamous household, b.h. Yael addresses the patriarch directly, using animation and collage to convey the frustration and righteousness of their adolescent voice. There’s a sense of bottled-up childhood anger now released with the benefit of an adult’s hindsight, and yet Yael’s film is powerful for how it retains a child’s perspective. The film captures perfectly the tension between naivety and self-awareness, when injustices are clear to see but the power to speak is more elusive.

b.h. Yael is a Toronto based filmmaker and installation artist. She is Professor of Integrated Media at OCAD University and currently Chair of Senate. Yael’s work has exhibited nationally and internationally and has shown in various settings, from festivals to galleries to community and activist groups, as well as various educational venues.
Yael’s films and installations have dealt with the many intersections of identity and family; it has focused on activist initiatives in Palestine/Israel, as well as apocalypse, geopolitical and environmental urgencies. Select titles include: Fresh Blood, A Consideration of Belonging; In the Middle of the Street; and Palestine Trilogy. Collaborative and collective projects include Spontaneous Combustion; the Olive Project by the Hardpressed Collective; BlahBlahBlah, Re(viewing) Quebec; and the Approximations series with Johanna Householder. Yael has also programmed arts lectures and media screenings, and occasionally she writes.

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For Nonna Anna | Luis De Filippis | 2017 | 13:00 | Canada | Scottish premiere

When a trans girl is left to care for her elderly Italian grandmother for the night, she discovers a lost tenderness in their relationship that is revived in their shared vulnerability. Shot on 35mm in Luis de Filippis’ own grandmother’s home, For Nonna Anna is revelatory in its positive depiction of a nurturing, intergenerational relationship. Its simplicity of narrative belies the grand themes it explores; of dependency in ageing and self-acceptance

Luis De Filippis is a trans femme / gender fluid writer & director based in Toronto. Since graduating from Ryerson’s Image Arts Film program they have been making work that celebrates otherness and employs a fierce female gaze.  Their work has been shown at international film festivals including: The Toronto International Film Festival, The International Film Festival Rotterdam and Sundance where their most recent work, For Nonna Anna, was awarded a Special Jury Prize.


I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin | Maryam Tafakory | 2018 | 08:00 | Iran, UK | UK Premiere

Fragments of Forough Farokhzad’s poem, Sin, are read out against Islamic clergies advising women on how to control their lust. Maryam Tafakory’s latest film reveals the hypocrisy of gender binaries, using performance, poetry and tightly controlled editing to communicate a quiet outrage.

Maryam Tafakory (b. Shiraz, Iran) is an artist-filmmaker living and working in London. Her work draws on the notion of ‘personal as political’ in a fractured narrative that involves a subtle negotiation between factual and fiction, exploring allegorical forms of visual narrative, using abstracted, symbolic and textual motifs and their on-screen representation.

Part performance, her work draws on womanhood and rites of passage, interweaving poetry, (self)-censorship and religion, combining a formal minimalist syntax and figurative mode of representation.

Her work is screened and exhibited internationally including, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival​, Internationales KurzFilmFestival Hamburg, ICA London, British Film Institute, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Barbican Centre London, Ciné Lumière Institut Français, London Short Film Festival, ​British Animation Awards, Bloomberg New Contemporaries​ and BBC Three.


The Source is a Hole | Madsen Minax | 2017 | 25:00 | USA | European Premiere

A series of letters to feminine deities reveals interconnected stories – real and imagined – drawing on the author’s desires, memories and raw experiences. This assemblage of poetry, animation, pornography, re-enactment, archival and mobile phone footage uses beautifully the aesthetic of DIY filmmaking and the essay film, to reveal the complexity of our identities and our innate need for connection.

Madsen Minax makes interdisciplinary art projects about individual and communal embodiment; how we form relationships with other humans in the world. Projects investigate the relationship between intimacy and violence, the nature of chosen and biological families, transformation and power struggle.

Madsen toured the United States as part of the music performance duet Actor Slash Model from 2006-2012, co-founded the Threat Level Queer Shorts bi-monthly screening series that ran from 2008-2010 in Chicago and Brooklyn, and performed with The Homoticons from 2009-2011. His current solo musical project is called The Great Awakener.

Madsen received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005, an MFA from Northwestern University in 2012, was a Core Fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from 2012-14, and a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2014. In 2015 Madsen was in residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art and a Berlinale DOC Station participant in 2016. Most recently Madsen was a Flaherty Film Fellow, through the LEF Moving Image Foundation, 2017.

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YOU ARE BORING! | Vika Kirchenbauer | 2015 | 13:43 | Germany | European premiere

Direct address is the hugely effective mode in this witty, challenging and perceptive work about the problematics of ‘looking’ and ‘being looked at’. The way bodies, especially queer bodies are commodified, always expected to perform, is unpacked and exposed within the context of the new economy.

Vika Kirchenbauer is an artist, writer and music producer based in Berlin. In her work she explores opacity in relation to representation of the ʻotheredʼ through ostensibly contradictory methods like exaggerated explicitness, oversharing and perversions of participatory culture.

She examines the troublesome nature of “looking” and “being looked at” in larger contexts including labour within post-fordism and the experience economy, modern drone warfare and its insistence on unilateral staring, the power relationships of psychiatry, performer/spectator relations, participatory culture, contemporary art display and institutional representation of otherness as well as the everyday life experience of ambiguously gendered individuals.

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We Will Not be Silent | Caryn Cline | 2017 | 03:20 | USA | International Premiere

A 16mm camera roll using single-frame techniques to experimentally document the Seattle Womxn’s March on January 21, 2017.

Caryn Cline is a filmmaker, media educator, and urban composter. Originally from the Ozarks in southwest Missouri, she lived and worked in Seattle and Olympia, Washington for many years. She taught media literacy, communications and library/media research at The Evergreen State College and Seattle Central Community College. In 2005, she moved to New York City to pursue her desire to make films. She currently works in 16mm film and digital, exploring the porous seams among experimental, documentary, and narrative film making. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Caryn’s short films have screened at many festivals, including the 2013 Venice Biennale, London and Melbourne International Animation Festivals, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival (Czech Republic), the Crossroads Festival (San Francisco), Experiments in Cinema (Albuquerque), Madcat (San Francisco), New Filmmakers (NYC), Women in the Director’s Chair (Chicago), “Techniques of the Observer,” (New Delhi and Mumbai, India), the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (Albuquerque), the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival, and the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival.


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