The 2024 Folk Film Gathering

Bella is delighted to be supporting the Edinburgh’s Folk Film’s 10th anniversary programme. The event is the world’s first film festival devoted to folk cinema, celebrating the lived experiences of communities worldwide, will run at Cameo Picturehouse and the Scottish Storytelling Centre from the 3 – 12 May. We’ll be hosting a Q&A after the To See Ourselves screening on the 8 May.

All the details HERE.

The festival – the World’s first film festival devoted to folk cinema- will open with a rare showing of 1993’s As An Eilean (From An Island), one of the first Gaelic language feature films. Mike Alexander’s feature is a gentle, humorous exploration of Scottish island life, following Callum in the final year of school and choosing between leaving for university or staying on the island to be with Kirsty, a girl from the neighbouring village he has fallen in love with. The screening will be introduced with live Gaelic songs performed by Wilma Kennedy, one of the stars of the film.

Other highlights across the 10 day programme include:

  • The Scottish premiere of Irish auteur Pat Collins’ new documentary Songlines,  a poetic celebration of the songs and singers at the heart of the Irish traveller community. The premiere will be introduced with a special mini-concert of Scottish traveller songs from Jess Smith and Joss Cameron (5 May). 
  • The UK premiere of Je’vida, Sámi director Katja Gauriloff’s moving, poetic new film telling the story of Iida, an elderly Sámi woman forced to reckon with her past, as she clears outher family’s home in preparation for its sale. The first ever to be filmed in the Skolt Sámi dialect (only now spoken by roughly 300 people), Je’vida will be introduced with a special mini-concert from Finnish musicians LAU NAU and Pekko Käppi, who produced the film’s score. LAU NAU and Käppi will also perform an exclusive extended concert later that evening, a rare chance to hear two pioneering Finnish musicians live in the UK (10 May).
  • The World premiere of a newly composed score from visionary Scottish musicians Luke Sutherland (Long Fin Killie, Bows, Rev Magnetic) and Semay Lu for Earth, one of the most visually-striking films in the history of cinema. Shot in 1930,  it is the celebrated Ukrainian filmmaker Alexander Dovzhenko’s ultimate paean to nature and the land; to those who toil on it and whose lives are inextricably bound up with it. (11 May)
  • The UK premiere of Edinburgh-based Mexican director Itandehui Jansen’s Itu Ninu, an imaginative work of indigenous science-fiction shot in Edinburgh. It tells the story of two climate migrants who, stuck within a dystopian ‘smart city’, find connection through their shared heritage within Mixtec language. The film will be introduced with live Mixtec poetry from the film’s writer and star Armando Bautista Garcia. (6 May)
  • 1995’s Tale of the Three Jewels, a moving tribute to the children of Gaza, telling the story of Yussef, a child of the First Intifada, who embarks upon a perilous adventure after meeting the mysterious Aida. Mixing magic and folk tale with a clear-eyed perspective upon the injustices faced by Gaza’s oppressed communities, Michel Khleifi’s film is testament to the resilience and the horrors endured by Gaza’s children. The film will be introduced by Palestinian/Scottish poet Nada Shawa, and followed by a discussion led by Falastin Film Festival. (9 May)
  • Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a masterpiece of Ukrainian poetic cinema, and one of the most visually-striking films ever, the 1965 classic is the tale of star-crossed lover Ivan, who falls in love with the daughter of his father’s killer among the Hutsul people of the Carpathian mountains. The film will be introduced with a mini-concert from Edinburgh’s Ukrainian Choir. (7 May)
  • Mapantsula, a triumph of guerrilla filmmaking produced under extreme censorship in apartheid South Africa in 1988. The film follows Panic, a petty gangster who becomes caught up in the growing anti-apartheid struggle and must choose between individual gain and a stand against the system. The film will be introduced with live music from South African/ Scottish musician Neo Vilakazi. (5 May)
  • To See Ourselves is a moving portrait of grass roots organising during Scotland’s independence, focusing on Musselburgh-based activist and local councillor Fraser McAllister and his tireless efforts for a better future. The film will be introduced with songs from renowned folklorist and musician Stuart McHardy and followed with a discussion with the filmmakers and Fraser himself. (8 May).

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