Transgressive North is a Scottish artistic collective, founded by directors Jamie Chambers and Mike Brogan in 2011 as a means of bringing together our many shared collaborations under one banner. Whilst we predominantly work as musicians and filmmakers, our projects take many different shapes and forms. They include producing our own music and film releases, film festivals, interactive websites, heritage research, artistic residencies, and academic journals.
In 2013 we released two films exploring cinematic depictions of Scotland’s living community folk traditions. The short documentary When The Song Dies won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Busan Film Festival and screened at Raindance, TriBeCa, Glasgow Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, AFI Silver Docs. Our feature-length drama Blackbird was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film, and has screened and won prizes at film festivals around the world.
Our work with a range of Scottish musicians, storytellers, and filmmakers has led to an ongoing collaboration with Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland and the Traditional Music Forum. In 2015 we founded the now annual Folk Film Gathering (the world’s first festival of folk cinema), and we are now curating the Move Sessions music residency project (2019-ongoing).
In 2014 we released the Everything is New project, a collaboration with Dalit ‘untouchable’ children in southeast India comprising of two albums of new music, and a feature-length film. Led by Transgressive North’s in-house band Marram, the album Sun Choir (7/10 The 405; 8/10 Clash; 8/10 NME; 9/10 Exclaim) featured the voices of Dalit children from the Light of Love Children’s Home in Tuni alongside contributions from Jarvis Cocker, doseone Owen Pallett, White Hinterland, and Scottish authors and poets Tom Leonard, Irvine Welsh and Valerie Gillies. The accompanying compilation album BOATS (7/10 Vice; 8/10 MOJO; 8/10 Clash) saw a host of collaborators – including Four Tet, Dan Deacon, Deerhoof, Gang Gang Dance, Califone, No Age and Rustie – work on new compositions using the children’s voices. Alongside these musicians, the feature-length drama film 'Everything is New', narrated by Irvine Welsh, embodied a further collaboration with the children’s home. Described by Mark Cousins as "an inspiring movie about the turning of the earth and the play of children, using music, colour and camera angles beautifully to tell a mythic tale about togetherness, peril and hope; it’s a valuable film and a memorable one".
More recently we have become involved with various initiatives advocating for the importance of film education worldwide. This led us to establish the Film Education Journal in 2018, an online, open-access journal published in partnership with UCL IoE Press, British Film Institute and Screen Scotland; and the Scottish International Film Education Conference, a now-annual event exploring global perspectives on film education. A further project, Our Cinema, is currently in development.
Our latest project, Map of Stories, was launched at the 2022 Scottish International Storytelling Festival. A unique multimedia celebration of Scotland’s rich oral storytelling heritage, the project features an interactive map of Scotland, populated by our filmed performances of some of the country’s leading storytellers.
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