Did you know that there has been a huge number of famous people who have participated in making Raindance what it is today? For instance, the 2016 Raindance Film Festival welcomed, for the second time, the multi Palme d’Or winner Ken Loach to speak about his films and career while also presenting him with the Raindance Auteur Award.
Over the years Raindance has deepened its dynamic by extending its programme and creating events such as retrospectives, master classes, and conversations with different film industry actors. In addition to being a daring indie festival programme, every year Raindance brings together a range of filmmakers, actors, cinematographers, producers, artists, musicians and so on.
We decided to compile an ultimate list of names, based on our personal tastes that will indubitably match yours, of famous Raindance alumnus. Our list extends to artists from around the world of different forms of art to reflect the diverse fun and creativity that is Raindance.
Please note that the people listed may not have attended the festival itself but their artworks have.
Alan Mak (filmmaker)
We all know Martin Scorsese, we all know his film The Departed (2006), and we also all know a little bit about the original movie who inspired Marty called Infernal Affairs (2002). But we don’t really know much about Infernal Affairs’ two directors: Wai-Keung Lau and Alan Mak. So it’s time to pay tribute to them. Specifically Alan Mak, who came to Raindance in 2003. Three years before Scorsese decided to remake Infernal Affairs, Alan was at Raindance to speak about the movie. A graduate of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Mak specialised in thrillers with original scripts that have allowed us to enjoy the follow-up films Infernal Affairs 2 and 3, that you won’t find with Marty (even if the idea of The Departed 2 was planned a few years ago…
Christopher Nolan (filmmaker)
As a past student of Raindance courses, Christopher Nolan came to the festival in 2000 as a special guest to speak about filmmaking and his movie Memento. What makes Nolan different as a director in Hollywood is that he knows cinema. Telling a story is not easy, but he has demonstrated his skill as an auteur with The Prestige (2006). The film is not only a tale about magic tricks, Nolan also speaks about cinema and uses science fiction to convey his ideas. Cinema is all about fake, tricks, manipulations, editing which is totally what’s The Prestige deals with. Possibly one of the biggest names to have been part of Raindance’s history, it would be a real pleasure to welcome him back to the festival. Who doesn’t have just one question about Interstellar (2014)? Or what about his next masterpiece, Dunkirk (2017)? If we had to pick just one film directed by Christopher Nolan, it would be The Prestige… or Interstellar… well, watch them all.
Corey Feldman (actor)
Children of the 90’s will remember the little dude from The Goonies. Corey Feldman is certainly one of the biggest names of our childhood. From the family adventure comedy The Goonies (1985) to the more dramatic Stand By Me. Feldman has acted across a range of genres and in memorable films from our childhood. Years after his fame died down from the 90s Corey, still just as cool as he was as a kid, came to Raindance in 2008 with a spanish movie called The Birthday (2006) and discussed his new projects and involvement with animal rights.
Dave McKean (illustrator)
With a specific darkness to his gothic inspired drawings and oneiric, fantastic characters straight out of our deepest imagination, what else could embody Raindance better than Dave McKean’s (http://www.davemckean.com/) memorable style? McKean collaborated with Neil Gaiman on many comics, Sandman (http://www.vertigocomics.com/characters/the-sandman) being the most famous and inspirational one. He is not only a cartoonist, McKean is also a multi-faced artist, illustrator, filmmaker and musician. McKean designed the Raindance Festival catalogues from 1996 until 2002 and directed the 1999’s festival trailer. His underground style intimately binds with Raindance’s fearless spirit. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that Dave McKean won the 2014 Best British Feature award with Luna, a mesmerizing experience between dreams, reality and the depth of emotions. A must see!
Iggy Pop (musician)
In 2007, Iggy Pop was a Raindance jury member and became the most rock’n’roll name of the festival. Iggy Pop gives cinema a taste of madness but that doesn’t mean he is a novice! He has worked with the incredible and crazy John Waters on Cry-Baby in 1990, wrote songs for both Emir Kusturica’s Arizona Dream (1992) and a French cartoon titled Space Goofs. We love him here at Raindance because he’s a multifaceted. Like The Rolling Stones and U2, Iggy will have his documentary coming out in 2017. In fact, it is Jim Jarmusch who dedicated his documentary Gimme Danger to Iggy & The Stooges.
Laura Poitras (documentary filmmaker)
The first women on the list! Laura Poitras is an American journalist and multi award winning documentary filmmaker. In 2015, Poitras got international recognition by winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for Citizen Four. However, her documentary My Country My Country (2006) is what link Poitras and Raindance. In fact, she presented her Iraq war documentary at the 2006 Raindance Festival. Laura Poitras is a deeply needed watchdog for our contemporary society; there is no doubt why Snowden chose to approach her in supporting his whistleblowing process on US spy programme.
A guy who is as brilliant in music as he is in cinema. Quentin Dupieux took part of the French Touch music in the ‘90s, but being a French icon of the electronic music scene wasn’t enough to him. In 2001 he directed Nonfilm (2001) starring some famous French musician names like Sébastien Tellier and Kavinsky. His sense of humour is odd but effective and has the ability to export itself internationally, as seen by his first French-American co-production, Wrong in 2012. Three years later in 2015, Dupieux came to Raindance with his feature Reality. It’s about a filmmaker who plans to make a movie. Dupieux is a director that still have a voice on cinema, and he is one that we will continue to follow as he continues to call his art into question.
Rebecca O’Brien (producer)
The second feminine face on the list is not only one of the leading independent film producers in the UK but she also serves as a board member on the UK Film Council. With more than 25 years experience, Rebecca O’Brien shapes the face of UK indie production, mostly thanks to her collaboration with Ken Loach. Together O’Brien and Loach created Sixteen Films (http://www.sixteenfilms.co.uk/), a production house that hosted most of Loach’s movies. Rebecca O’Brien also produced Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley, winner of the 2006 Palme d’Or award. She was involved in the 2008 Raindance festival as a jury member and a guest speaker, where she gave a Producer Master Class on her career path, diverse projects evolution, and her current position at Sixteen Films.
Steve Buscemi (actor, filmmaker)
If you don’t know his name, you probably either remember his voice or his face gives you a sense of déjà vu.
Steve Buscemi has played the memorably creepy diamond robber in Tarentino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992) and the unlucky kidnapper in the Cohen Brothers’ Fargo (1996). Not only is he an actor but he has also directed shorts and features, such as Animal Factory with Willem Dafoe in 2000 and Lonesome Jim in 2005 starring Casey Affleck and Live Tyler. Buscemi short film Luna Macaroona was selected at Raindance in 2003 under the Shorts Programmes Selection. The 8-minute short gives an insight to the nutty art performances and artistic life of the Lower East Side in 21st century New York.
Wim Wenders (filmmaker)
The famous German filmmaker, who has received worldwide recognition and the a Palme d’Or for Paris Texas in 1984, was programmed at Raindance’s Short Cut programme in 1997 with his short movie Madredeus. The short is divided into two four-minute-long videos connected to his movie Lisbon Story (1994) and stages a Portuguese music band playing its song. Lisbon story is the tale of a sound recorder looking for a mysterious, missing movie director who invited him in Lisbon in order to record the sound of the city. While going across Lisbon and looking for his host, the main character discovers the city’s moods and musical declinations. His short movie is an extract from Lisbon Story which delivers in a few minutes the atmosphere of the movie as well as Wenders’ personal cinematographic style.
Written by Julia Branche and Jason Lanlo