It’s so easy to make a no budget film with today’s digital technology. When I started Raindance in 1992  it was different – you really needed about a million to make a film.

Then Robert Rodriguez changed everything with el Mariachi. In London there were several of us trying to outdo each other with a film made cheaper than the efforts of our rivals. A few of these films actually made it out of our basement bedrooms and onto the big screen.

Incredibly, you can get this entire library of astonishing and fantastic debut films delivered to your own front door for less than forty quid. Many of these films have a strong Raindance connection.

Check these out:

Blair Witch Project, 1999

Blair Witch Project

This film swept away box office record after record following it’s premier at the Raindance Film Festival in 1999.

Hard to beat it’s Official Website

Did the Blair Witch Project fake it’s online fan base?

The Last Broadcast, 1998

The Last Broadcast

A lot of people think that BWP was heavily influenced by The Last Broadcast, 1998,  a film made by Cultural Hacker (the official website of director Lance Weillor) and Stefan Avalos.

Cube, 1997

Cube 1997

Vincenzo Natali’s Cube, 1997, is Canada’s contribution to the no budget realm, and was a stunning success, winning a series of international accolades at film festivals and industry awards.

Reputedly made for a paltry $100,000 (Canadian) at a time when the currency was nearly worthless, this film makes compelling watching.

Pi, 1997

Pi

Darren Aronofsky’s debut feature won best first feature at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and a fistful of other awards.  His film is made following the principles of Raindance’s own Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking class.

He’s done rather well out of it.

Clerks, 1994

Clerks

In 1993, Raindance could have screened Clerks as a work in progress, except Kevin Smith’s debut feature came in days before we were due to start. As a result, it went to Sundance, and the rest, so they say, is history for this no budget feature.

Night of the Living Dead, 1968

Night of the Living Dead

George Romero, the king of slash, launched his career with this ’12 kids in a house and chop ’em up’ classic.

See it for free on Google

El Mariachi, 1992

El Mariachi

Robert Rodriguez’ $15,000 debut follows the trail of a wandering minstrel who is mistaken for a murderous criminal.

Living In Oblivion, 1995

Living in Oblivion

Writer/director Tom DiCillo got inspiration for this film from the frustrations he experienced when making the film Johnny Suede (Brad Pitt’s first movie), and his long struggle to make his next intended film, Box of Moon Light. Living in Oblivion was rejected by all producers but the actors and friends of the director felt so strongly about the project that they financed it.

Living in Oblivion is divided into three parts. The first part was shot in five days and after DiCillo realized that it was too short to be a feature and too long to be a short he expanded it into a full feature film with parts two and three.

London To Brighton, 2006 (Screened at Raindance)

London to Brighton

Paul Andrew Williams broke through with this no budget feature which cleaned up the Best British Film at Raindance that year, and then waltzed off with a coveted BIFA.

Producer Ken Marshall is a Raindance regular, and several of the other cast and production team have circled around the festival and our training programme for years. Paul and Ken have just finished The Cottage starring Andy Serkis, which has just been sold to Sony for American distribution. Top that!

Following, 1998 (Screened at Raindance)

Following

Chris Nolan’s debut, made on 16mm for just over £15k remains one of the most astounding debuts ever, although it didn’t get the marketing and publicity that Blair Witch got.

There is a strong Raindance connection to this film: our office was used as a storage centre, and most of the film is shot within a couple of hundred metres from the office.

 

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over hundreds of short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

He has produced over 700 shorts and 6 features including the new action film AMBER.

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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