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The world’s first folk film festival returns to Edinburgh with highlights of Ukrainian and Scottish folk cinema, complete with introductions by live musical performances.

The 1929 Ukrainian folk film “Arsenal” is set to screen at this year’s Folk Film Gathering, complete with a new backing soundtrack by Scottish electronic outfit Dalhous. (Still provided by Ruth Marsh)

Founded in 2015 as the world’s first festival of folk cinema, the Folk Film Gathering’s 2023 edition takes place between June 12th & 29th, with screenings at Cameo Picturehouse, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and North Edinburgh Arts space.

Curated by founder collective Transgressive North, this year’s film list includes a rare screening of the 1929 Ukrainian silent film ‘Arsenal’. The film is set to screen on June 24th at the Cameo, backed by a new live score from the Scottish electronic duo Dalhous.

This year’s Folk Film Gathering also focuses on Ukrainian folk filmmaking, with screenings of a social-realist and absurdist comedy ‘Amulet’, with a key scene shot during Ukraine’s 1990 independence demonstrations.

Other films include the ‘Voice of Grass’, a retelling of a classic Ukrainian folk story with a feminist perspective and the 2022 acclaimed ‘Pamfir’, a depiction of a man who has to help his family by turning to his troubled past. All these screenings will be introduced by live Ukrainian music performances.

‘The Bevellers’, written by Roddy McMillan, is set to screen as part of three films from the BBC’s ‘Play For Today’ series. (Still provided by Ruth Marsh)

Scottish folk cinema is also featured, with Alison McAlpine’s ‘Second Sigh’”, which follows 80-year-old paranormal investigator Donal Angus MacLean on the Isle of Skye, and ‘The Two Sights’ by Joshua Bonneta, which features the Hebrides and the local community.

This 2023 edition also features rare screenings of Scottish filmmaking from the BBC’s 1970s ‘Play For Today’ series, such as ‘Orkney’ - a trilogy of short films written by the late George Mackay Brown. ‘The Ploughman’s Share’, filmed in Stirlingshire and Ayrshire about a redundant ploughman amidst urbanisation, and ‘The Bevellers’ on the challenges and camaraderie within Glasgow’s industrial history.

'Pamfir’, a 2022 production from Ukraine, details how a man breaks the law to help his family, directed by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk (Still provided by Ruth Marsh)

The festival’s co-producers Jamie Chambers and Lydia Beilby said in a press statement, that Folk Film Gathering was delighted to be returning to screens at the Cameo, North Edinburgh Arts, and the Storytelling Centre, as well as online.

“Folk film is film that focuses upon community, place and people, and this year’s packed programme sets into motion a dialogue of solidarity between Ukraine and Scotland, which draws connections across the rich cinematic heritage of both countries,” the co-producers’ statement said.

For more details on this year’s film line-up and ticket bookings, please visit


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