Danny Leigh at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2013 - Photo: Will Sadler
Danny Leigh at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2013 – Photo: Will Sadler

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival returns this September. The 10th edition of the award-winning Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before with international commissions, film premieres, installations as well as a Short Film Award for filmmakers and artists with a cash prize attached.

The festival, which attracts over 8,000 visitors is considered to be a highlight on the cultural landscape of the Scottish Borders and Northumberland and welcomes people from across Scotland and England who come to enjoy a range of film and art installations all set within historic Berwick.

Since its inaugural festival in 2005, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival has had a vision to transform Berwick into one big moving image installation – a visual and cultural spectacle and it certainly delivers. The festival occupies a unique space in the UK festival landscape – in uniting cinema with moving image art, while taking inspiration from other art forms…all in one place, over five days.

Field Music perform score to John Grierson's film Drifters - Photo: Will Sadler
Field Music perform score to John Grierson’s film Drifters – Photo: Will Sadler

It is also distinctive in its setting, the town of Berwick provides an awe-inspiring background to the festival programme, with screenings taking place in the most unusual of venues, from the medieval town walls to prison cells in the Town Hall and the more traditional Maltings Theatre & Cinema.

The festival organisers have announced this year’s call for entries which closes on 16 June. Each year, the festival curates its programme to a specific theme, and this year, with the Scottish independence referendum taking place, it seems pertinent that the theme is ‘Border Crossing.’ The Festival is calling all artists and filmmakers to respond to the theme by submitting work via its website.

‘Border Crossing’ will take audiences on a journey, setting out to cross and transcend borders in all directions, exploring border identities all over the world. Berwick-upon-Tweed makes an ideal starting point: a border town in a region once known as ‘the debatable lands,’ with an identity neither English nor Scottish, but all of its own; it will bring together independent film and artists’ video to explore boundaries – on the map and in the mind – and the spaces in between.

Works submitted to the festival can explore themes of cultural heritage, changing identities from individual to societal and cultural, travel and migration, and the crossing of boundaries; your work can be of any type and any length including including narrative and experimental, live action and animation, fiction and documentary. What’s more, all single screen works under 20 minutes will automatically be eligible for selection for the Inntravel Short Film Award. The competitive programme will be selected by the festival curators, and the winning work will be awarded by a professional jury during the festival, where £750 will be donated towards the artist/director’s next project.

Visit the festival website here for details on how to submit an entry.

Amit Madheshiya's Talkies Wallah projected onto the Berwick Watchtower
Amit Madheshiya’s Talkies Wallah projected onto the Berwick Watchtower

In addition, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival in partnership with Northern Film & Media have recently announced a new opportunity for filmmakers and visual artists from anywhere in the world to submit a proposal to create a new moving image work. Visual artists and filmmakers are invited to submit proposals in response to the festival theme of Border Crossing. Proposals may be for projected, installed or screened work, to be made either for single or multi-channel presentation. The new commission will be premiered at the 10th Film & Media Arts Festival in September 2014. The selected proposal will be awarded £5,000 GBP in artist/production fees, and installation costs will be covered in addition.

For further information and to submit a proposal for the commission, please visit the festival website.

Proposals Deadline: 28 May
Call for Entries Deadline: 16 June

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