Filmhouse Creative Scotland Transgressive North

Supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network

Folk Fim Gathering Tradfest Logo

Folk Film Gathering 2020


Friday 29th – Sunday 31st May


TRANSGRESSIVE NORTH are proud to present the sixth edition of the world’s first festival of folk cinema, in partnership with Filmhouse Edinburgh. The theme of the 2020 Folk Film Gathering is 'collectivity against the odds': exploring ways in which we might hold onto our sense of community when forced into ever greater levels of individualism - both by the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic and by wider, longer-term forces in society.


Join us over the weekend of 29th – 31st May where we will be screening a series of films (among them some Scottish and UK premieres) alongside Q+A and discussion sessions with the filmmakers, and performances from some of Scotland’s most celebrated folk musicians.


Links to stream all the below films will be available on this website starting from 6pm on Friday 29th May.


Follow the links below to sign up NOW for our Q+A and discussion events.


Everything is free!


Although – for those who can, we are inviting donations to Medicens Sans Frontiers 



Scottish premiere

Amber Collective, 2016, UK, 86 mins


In 1987 the Amber Collective were the only British film crew allowed into the GDR, to document the lives of a fishing co-operative and a Brigade of Women Crane Drivers in Rostock, East Germany. 36 years later, Amber returned to track down the individuals they had first met in 1987, to find out how their lives had changed in the years since. A unique, powerful documentary which troubles many of the assumptions we have about the fall of the Berlin wall, ‘From Us to Me’ explores some of the many stories of ‘Die Wende’ (the turn), of the changes experienced by ordinary people during the collapse of the GDR. What was gained and what was lost?


Watch the film here


Live Q+A with Amber Collective

Friday 29th May, 7pm

Sign up to join the Q+A here 



UK premiere

Nadir Bouhmouch, 2019, 99 mins


In 2011, the Amazigh community in Imider (southeastern Morocco) shut down the water pipeline to Africa’s biggest silver mine to stop it drying out their almond groves and destroying their oasis. Shot in close collaboration with the community eight years later, Nadir Bouhmouch’s contemplative, poetic documentary follows the villagers as they consider an ongoing resistance cobbled together from the few means at their disposal: songs, weekly assemblies, a flimsy camera, a film festival and endless ingenuity.


Watch the film here

Promo code to watch the film for free: folkfilm2020



1) You will be asked to login, using an email, Google account or Facebook account

2) You will then be directed to a payment page. TO BE CLEAR: this is a FREE screening, and you will not be asked to pay. Here, under card details, there is a button for 'promo code'. That is where you use the code (folkfilm2020). This will make the rental free for 24 hours, with no card details required.

3) You will then get access to the film and receive a confirmation via email, allowing you either to watch the film right away or catch up within 24 hours.

4) If the English subtitles don't appear automatically, you should click on the 'CC' button on the bottom-right corner of the video, which will allow you to switch them on.


Live Q+A with Nadir Bouhmouch, hosted by Noé Mendelle (Scottish Documentary Institute)

Saturday 30th May, 3pm

Sign up to join the Q+A here



Amber Collective, 2001, 95 mins


The last pits have closed, the redundancy money has been spent and the Elliot family is in crisis. 70-yr-old pigeon man Arthur is losing his allotment to the local authority’s coastal redevelopment scheme. Working as a trumpeter and club singer, his son Joe – a 40-yr-old ex-miner – is just about scraping a living, but increasingly struggling to hold his family together. Can he hold onto his relationship with his father, and his 10-yr-old son, Michael? Three generations struggle to come to terms with the past and to the ties that still bind them together in the powerful 2nd installment in the Amber Collective’s coalfields trilogy.


Watch the film here


Q+A with Amber Collective, hosted by Will Higbee (University of Exeter)

Sunday 31st May, 3pm

Sign up to join the Q+A here



Barry Barclay, 2005, 136 mins


Barry Barclay’s provocative, lyrical documentary focuses upon a rural community in New Zealand, led by charismatic indigenous activist Mikaera Miru, who stage a collective resistance when unsustainable commercial fishing practices start to endanger their local waters in the Kaipara Harbour. A moving testament to the power of community with a powerful resonance for debates around land reform and community land ownership in Scotland, Barry Barclay’s film invokes the sense of a Maori ‘hui’; a community gathering at which multiple voices come together to discuss who really owns the land.


Watch the film here


Film provided with the kind support of Ng Taonga Sound & Vision.

Ng Taonga Sound & Vision is New Zealand's audio-visual Archive, with the purpose of holding our nation's audio-visual heritage in safe keeping and making it widely accessible. Ng Taonga is a charitable trust and cares for an ever-growing collection of films, radio and television programmes, sound recordings, props and documents spanning over 120 years of Aotearoa New Zealand's sound and moving-image history. Ng Taonga aspires to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi /the Treaty of Waitangi and implement Treaty principles in its policies and practices.



Zacharius Kunuk, 2019, 112 mins


In Kapuivik, north Baffin Island, Noah Piugattuk (Apayata Kotierk)’s nomadic Inuit band live and hunt by dog team just as his ancestors did. When the white man known as Boss arrives at Piugattuk’s hunting camp, what appears as a chance meeting soon opens up the prospect of momentous change. One of the highlights of the 2019 Toronto Film Festival and co-starring Killing Eve’s Kim Bodnia, Zacharius Kunuk’s new film is another masterful, poetic account of the challenges confronting indigenous communities in resisting the encroachments of Western society.


Watch the film here

Password: NP_TransgressiveNorth

Folk Film Gathering - Film Ceilidh 2020


Watch performances from some of Scotland’s most celebrated traditional musicians - Simone Caffari, George Duff, Iona Fyfe, Robbie Grieg, Catriona Hawksworth, Allan MacDonald, Megan MacDonald, Rachel Newton, Tom Oakes, Eileen Penman, Alasdair Roberts, Sally Simpson and more.







Sunday 31st May, 6pm / Discussion Event: ‘Community Under Pressure’


What can we do to hold on to our sense of community and stay connected, not only during the Covid-19 pandemic, but once it is over? How can we hold onto our sense of collectivity, and prioritise the ties that bind us all together, rather than the forces pressurising us apart? In a world where the "collective" and the "public" were already concepts under sustained attack, this has become an urgent pressing issue.


Screening elsewhere at the 2020 Folk Film Gathering, Amber Collective's 'From Us to Me' explores what happens a society goes from thinking of itself collectively to thinking of itself simply as a group of disparate individuals. Similarly, Bernie Sanders' recent campaign in the US Democratic primaries used the rallying call of "Not Me, Us", echoing calls in the last British general election to 'think of the most vulnerable person you know and vote in their best interests'. In the Western world in particular, following Margaret Thatcher's infamous statement 'there is no such thing as society', it often seems as if the rights of 'the individual' are more important than those of 'the community', and that we lead our lives in ways which are increasingly detached from those around us. Covid-19 risks to make that worse, placing us in situations whereby we can't go within 2 metres of other people, and where it is difficult to be in the same room and have the same in-person sense of community we have previously enjoyed. Increasingly, we find ourselves in shut-off in small units, looking after ourselves, without the easy ways we have had in the past of reaching out directly to those around us.


Exploring ways we can connect and stay together in a world where gathering and proximity is a health issue, join Mike Small (Bella Caledonia) and other guests for a discussion as to how might best resist the increasing pull towards individualism in prioritising our sense of community and connectedness, and the role that culture might play within all of that.







Discussion Event: Filmmaking and the community


Watch some of the filmmakers whose films are screening as part of the 2020 Folk Film Gathering - members of the Amber Collective in Tynecastle and Nadir Bouhmouch in Morocco – discuss the challenges and rewards of collective filmmaking, and committed engagements with communities.


















Essays: Community Under Pressure


Our director of the Folk Film Gathering, Jamie Chambers, explores how some of our films this year articulate the increasingly urgent important of collective values. Read that here


David Francis, director of the Traditional Music Forum explores how communities in Scotland have fought to prioritise the collective over the communal in a specially commissioned essay for the Folk Film Gathering. Read that here