Scarborough's Shifting Sands festival brings documentary, debate and archive film to town

Scarborough. Picture: Gerard Binks.
Scarborough. Picture: Gerard Binks.

A new festival of documentary, debates, magazine creation and archive film is due to take place across Scarborough.

Shifting Sands will come to the seaside town in three waves between December and January.

Produced by community cinema collective sea/film, the festival will take place at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, in community and creative venues

around the town including Market Hall.

It begins with two special screenings of internationally renowned documentaries coming to the Yorkshire Coast for the first time on December 1.

A screening is of Honeyland (2019), directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanox, is at 6.30pm.

It tells the remarkable story of Europe's last female bee-hunter who is on a mission to save the bees. The film will be followed by a panel Q&A featuring the regional experts on bees.

Earlier in the day is The Great Flood (2012), directed by Bill Morrison, which is about the Mississippi River flood of 1927.

In the spring of 1927 the river burst its banks in 145 places and inundated 27,000sq miles to 30 feet.

The film, which starts at 3.30pm, will be followed by a panel Q&A featuring contributions from experts on migration and climate change.

Martha Catell, sea/film co-founder and lead programmer, said: “We're thrilled to be bringing Shifting Sands to Scarborough. It's our biggest and most ambitious line-up of alternative film culture yet.

"But what's really important is that our screenings are truly accessible.

"We want to involve the whole community in archive film, documentary and creativity because the stories we are exploring are so relevant and important to local people here.

"We are tackling big themes around the environment, the places people call home and how life changes before our eyes."

The second part of Shifting Sands moves on to a "participatory project".

The sea/film team are going to work with local artists, writers, photographers, designers and community groups to create a special zine.

It would be a DIY co-created community magazine that will feature "untold stories, unheard voices and using alternative film culture as new lens" to look at life on the Yorkshire Coast.

The third part, on dates in January yet to be confirmed, will take place in the Scarborough Market Hall and Vaults, where the team is aiming to "create a new way to see and experience archive film, screening a remarkable programme of iconic footage of life on the Yorkshire Coast in days gone by".

The archive film will feature people and places in Scarborough, Whitby and rural life.

The screenings will take place in secret spaces hidden in the depths of the vaults.

This will be accompanied by music, maps and surprises to bring the archive work to life.

The sea/film team is working with new partners to make the Shifting Sands micro-festival happen, including the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough Market Hall Vaults, The Black Friar Wine Cellar, and Totally Socially community support organisation.

The project is supported by National Lottery funding awarded by the BFI Film Audience Network.

Paul Drury-Bradey, sea/film co-founder, said: "How do our hidden histories and forgotten stories shape our collective past? Shifting Sands is so important for Scarborough because it's a chance for our town to listen to unheard voices and explore issues like identity, belonging and our changing environment that matter so much today.

"What's going to be really special about Shifting Sands is the way we'll use documentary, archive film and community work to take people to unexpected places. We'll use lots of local archive film and stories from people here, but also take an unexpected perspective too by bringing in international films to the Yorkshire Coast for the first time and have artists and academics taking a fresh look at Scarborough life."