Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews line-up revealed

The new international film festival based in St Andrews has unveiled it’s first ever line-up, with a focus on new filmmakers and shining a light on undiscovered talent.

Monday, 21st February 2022, 11:00 am

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article

The Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews has revealed the films taking centre stage from 25-27 March 2022.

Among the highlights are a documentary by a Leith-based duo about comic books, and an astonishing retelling of a notorious Scottish true crime story featuring Alan Cumming.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Alan Cumming portrays one of Scotland's most notorious 'pupils' in the new drama-documentary My Old School.

Filmmakers from around the world will gather in the Fife town for a range of events all housed in the festival hub, the Byre Theatre.

The inaugural line-up comprises 9 fiction and non-fiction feature films – including a special mystery film yet to be announced.

Organisers say Sands is dedicated to championing filmmakers at the beginning of their career, with many of the films showcased being feature debuts for their respective directors.

Leith-based filmmaking duo, Will Hewitt and Austen McCowan, who have received Scottish Baftas for their short films, present Long Live My Happy Head, a documentary love story about comic books and cancer that follows a long-distance couple as they navigate one of the most difficult challenges of their lives during a Covid lockdown.

The Byre Theatre in St Andrews will serve as the base for the festival.

Jono Mcleod’s documentary, My Old School, starring national treasure Alan Cumming, follows the jaw-dropping true story of Scotland’s most notorious imposter, and ex-classmate of Mcleod.

Blerta Basholli’s feature debut and breakout hit at Sundance, Hive, is inspired by one Kosovan woman’s true story of determination in face of patriarchal oppression and family tragedy.

Alongside the film programme will be an in-conversation session with filmmaker Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame, The Gray Man) who will talk about his career, his love of St Andrews and encouraging the next generation of film makers.

Ania Trzebiatowska, Festival Director said: “I am absolutely delighted to finally reveal the programme for the first ever Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews.

Hollywood director Joe Russo has backed the festival.

"Over the past two years, we’ve been reminded of what a privilege the collective cinema experience is, and that it can too often be taken for granted, so I am hugely excited that we will be able to share these 9 fantastic films with audiences.

"The process wasn’t without its challenges, but we are proud to have a programme that doesn’t just reflect the diversity of films out there, but showcases the quality of work that spawns from the inclusion of new voices.

"If audiences have half as much fun watching the programme as we had making it, then I’m sure we will be in for a fantastic festival.”

Also on the line-up is Amalia Ulman’s El Planeta, which focuses on a mother and daughter who scam their way to luxury in a post-crisis Spain.

Christopher Makoto Yogi’s film, I Was a Simple Man, will feature.

Nana Mensah writes, directs and stars in dark comedy Queen of Glory, a love letter to the Ghanian-American community of the Bronx that won her the Best New Narrative Director award at Tribeca Film Festival.

Jessica Kingdon’s now Oscar-nominated documentary Ascension, a dissection of the “Chinese dream” also won “Best

Documentary” and Jessica named “Best New Documentary Filmmaker” at Tribeca.

The programme also features work by filmmakers more established in their careers; Christopher Makoto Yogi’s I Was a Simple Man, and Diego Ongaro’s Down With The King.

Further details of screenings and events will be released in the coming weeks.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.