Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews Returns for Second Edition

The well-loved Byre Theatre is again playing host to and producing Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews who announces its second edition, with a bold and innovative programme that champions filmmakers, audiences and all those who cherish the power of cinema.

Last year’s inaugural festival affirmed itself as not only a major new event in the Scottish cultural calendar, but as a potential key player in the world film festival circuit. Over the course of three days, filmmakers and audiences descended on the iconic Scottish town for an exciting array of film premieres and industry events that included a special talk with key festival supporter Joe Russo (co-director of Avengers: Endgame and The Gray Man). Russo is confirmed to attend again this year, bringing an early sneak peek of a hotly anticipated project to which he was the executive producer.

As well as offering advice to the next generation of filmmakers, Russo is hosting a public discussion on the importance of gaming when it comes to contemporary storytelling with Epic Games Chief Creative Officer, Donald Mustard, who has worked as a creator and director of major titles such as Fortnite.

This year’s festival also features an appearance by veteran casting-director Margery Simkin, who will be sharing her extensive experience in a special industry talk.

With deep roots in the University of St Andrews, Sands takes pride in its close ties with the University’s prestigious Department of Film Studies and offers unique opportunities for students to connect with film festival curation and filmmaking talent operating at the highest levels. The festival also seeks to fulfil a broader mission by bringing fresh and innovative cinema, including filmmakers from Scotland to audiences outside the University, residents from local communities and those of the surrounding areas.

Since its inception, the grounding philosophy of Sands has been to nurture new voices in filmmaking by showcasing their work and connecting them with the wider filmmaking community. This year, there are bespoke networking opportunities where talent from Scotland can make meaningful connections with established industry figures from all over the world.

This year’s programme offers a glimpse at some of the most exciting new films of the year, many of them fresh from making waves at festivals such as Sundance and Berlinale. The selection process involved students on the Film Studies course at the University of St Andrews, who, as part of the festival’s commitment to nurturing new talent, have been mentored and encouraged by Ania Trzebiatowska to kick start their potential careers as film programmers.

Festival Director Ania Trzebiatowska said “I am absolutely thrilled to finally begin sharing the programme for the second annual Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews.

Last year was an incredible experience for us and we continue to build on that, adding layers of depth and meaning to the connections we can make between audiences, films and film industry.

I am so pleased that we’ve found such a diverse range of excellent films to show and of the calibre of the very special guests we are bringing to St Andrews. I’m extremely excited that we’ll all be together making meaningful connections very soon.”

Sands Film Festival runs from 14th – 16th April 2023

Full programme details at:

Sands | International Film Festival of St Andrews – Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews (

Irene Brown

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