A FILM about a Borders town that resisted a takeover by English marauders is to open a unique Scottish festival.

The Battle of Hornshole still plays a central role in Hawick’s historic Common Riding and the town’s coat of arms features a pennon with the 1514 date of the battle.

It commemorates the year following the Battle of Flodden when the Borders was particularly vulnerable after the terrible loss of life.

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However, when the remaining young men of Hawick heard there was an English raiding party on the outskirts of the town, they attacked under cover of darkness and sent them packing.

Sixty years ago on the 450th anniversary of the battle, Hawick Film Group made a commemorative film called Sons Of Heroes which has now been digitised and will open the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival on May 2.

Based in Hawick, Alchemy is the biggest film festival of its kind in the UK, blurring the boundary between cinema and visual arts and blending the global with the local.

The National: A Night We Held Between by Palestinian artist Noor AbedA Night We Held Between by Palestinian artist Noor Abed

This year’s event features 75 films and screenings which will take place in the Heart of Hawick art centre with installations in neighbouring venues such as Borders Textile Towerhouse and Heritage Hub.

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Artists showcased in the festival include Palestinian artist Noor Abed, who will receive a special focus screening of her work, including A Night We Held Between, filmed in the spring and summer of 2023 in ancient sites in Palestine.

The festival will also screen the UK premiere of Background (below), a feature-length documentary by the Syrian artist Khaled Abdulwahed, presented in partnership with London’s Open City Documentary Festival.

The National: Still from Background courtesy of Khaled Abdulwahed.

In the film, Abduwahed creates links with his father, Sadallah, who is trapped in the contemporary difficulties of Aleppo, by investigating his youth as a Syrian who went to study engineering in the German Democratic Republic in the 1950s.

The festival will also present eight Installations featuring UK, Scottish and international premieres of work by artists including Emily Jacir, Sonya Dyer, Sanaz Sohrabi, Madison Brookshire and Lilan Yang.

The National: Sonya Dyer's Andromeda trilogySonya Dyer's Andromeda trilogy

“We are particularly pleased to launch our 2024 festival with the much-anticipated premiere screening of the newly digitised version of Sons Of Heroes on the 60th anniversary of its creation and with a contribution from the Hawick Saxhorn Band – the group which created the original score for the film,” said festival director Rachael Disbury. “Sadly, we lost the film’s director, Scott Renwick, only a few weeks ago, but will celebrate his remarkable contribution to Hawick’s film culture at the festival.”

She added: “This year in response to popular demand we will also be extending the opening hours for our programme of film installations and will be welcoming around 100 artists and filmmakers to town, many of whom will be visiting Scotland and the UK for the first time.”

The festival will run from May 2-5 and all cinema screenings will have descriptive subtitles with all Q&As also having BSL interpretation.