Attending a film festival is always such a unique experience, from the award ceremonies, to the parties, galas, filmmakers’ panels and, of course, the screenings themselves. But that doesn’t mean that you can enjoy these films only during the festival – many of them are accessible all-year round! Here we have compiled a list of 15 Raindance gems that are available to stream on UK Netflix (sorry, non-UK readers! But some of them are also available in other countries). Make sure to check them out before the next festival’s edition, and happy viewing!
1) Don’t Knock Twice (Dir. Caradog W. James, UK)
In this supernatural horror, a mother is desperate to reconnect with her troubled daughter, but on the way ends up inadvertently becoming embroiled in the urban legend of a demonic witch.
2) Growing Up Coy (Dir. Eric Juhola, USA)
Winner of Best Documentary Feature at the 24th Raindance (2016), this emotional film explores the very timely issue of transgender rights by telling the story of Coy Mathis, a 6-year old transgender girl whose school in Colorado suddenly rescinded her access to the girls’ bathroom, ensuing in a landmark civil rights case.
3) Ice Guardians (Dir. Brett Harvey, USA)
This insightful film examines the unofficial role of ice hockey enforcers, as they fight for the existence of the role itself among the deaths of a few self-destructive players and debates about how much fighting should be allowed in the game.
4) Jules and Dolores (Dir. Caito Ortiz, Brazil)
Rio de Janeiro, 1983. In order to pay off his gambling debt and pacify his flamboyant girlfriend Dolores, fun-loving Peralta and his happy-go-lucky buddy Borracha decide to steal a golden replica of the legendary Jules Rimet football World Cup trophy. Too bad they thieve the original cup, putting the entire country on the alert.
5) Me and the Alien (Jesús Magaña Vázquez, Mexico)
In order to get ahead with their band, Lauro, Rita and Agus decide to bring in Pepe (‘The Alien’), a talented keyboard player with Down syndrome. As their success grows, so too do their egos and their precious friendships are put in jeopardy in this witty and charming feel-good comedy.
6) Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan (Dir. Linda Saffire and Adam Schlesinger, USA)
An intimate portrait of 46-year-old prima ballerina Wendy Whelan, tracking her life and career as the natural, physical problems of a lifetime of exertion begin to creep up on her. She still yearns to dance, but her body has to learn its new limits in one of the most testing moments of her life.
7) Money (Dir. Martin Rosete, Spain/USA)
A crime thriller involving two wealthy businessmen who are about to get away with $5 million in ill-gotten money until their plans are revealed by an uninvited house guests. Taking its tagline from Charles Bukowski, ‘There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little’.
8) Nila (Dir. Selvamani Selvaraj, India)
With a dreamy aesthetics and beautiful settings, this immersive film leads us right into the wondrous nighttime world of taxi driver, Vimal, as he meets his childhood love. Their rekindled bond soon has them wanting more from each other, in an age-old tale of head versus heart.
9) A Plastic Ocean (Dir. Craig Leeson, UK/Hong Kong)
In this adventure documentary, journalist Craig teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers, and they travel to twenty locations around the world over the next four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect.
10) Three (Dir. Johnnie Too, Hong Kong/China)
Realising that he will be defeated in no time during a police showdown, a thug shoots himself to force the cops to take him to the hospital. There he uses his human right to refuse immediate treatment to bide time for rescue. The detective sees through his scheme but decides to play along.
11) The Violin Player (Dir. Bauddhayan Mukherji, India)
The ordinary life of a failing violin player is overturned when he catches the attention of a stranger at the train station, a filmmaker who needs a score to his latest project. Agreeing to take the job because he’s desperate for money, the violinist follows his new employer through the back alleys of the city, revealing startling truths about music, art, life and survival.
12) Gored (Dir. Ido Mizrahy, USA)
This is the story of Antonia Barrera, holder of the dubious title of ‘most gored bullfighter in modern history’. The film explores how Barrera sees the bullfight as the ultimate experience and the most intimate of relationships, while maintaining a gut-clenching tension as it cuts back to the final fight: will the man be gored for the 24th – and maybe final – time?
13) Kung Fu Elliot (Dir. Matthew Bauckman & Jaret Belliveau, Canada)
Elliot ‘White Lighting’ Scott dreams of becoming Canada’s first-ever action hero, with the help of his supportive partner Linda and his rag-tag group of friends. This documentary full of punch is a fascinating exploration not just of Elliot’s antics and of his truly awful action movies, but of his deeply weird – and slightly scary – character.
14) The Culture High (Dir. Brett Harvey, Canada)
This eye-opening and hard-hitting documentary explores the debate about the legalisation of marijuana in the United States, examining the wider impact that the criminalisation of marijuana has had on American society and showing how hard it is to find an area of life where the ‘war on drugs’ hasn’t made a deep, damaging impact.
15) On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace (Dir. Heitor Dhalia, Brazil)
Heitor Dhalia’s serene documentary follows acclaimed photographer Michael O’Neill in understanding the philosophy and spirituality of yoga, in a deeply humanist and positive portrait that demonstrates people’s capacity for self-satisfaction in their attempt to find mental and physical balance.
Pulp Fiction (Dir. Quentin Tarantino, USA).
In this cult classic that needs no introduction (and opening night film for the 3rd Raindance in 1993!), Jules and Vincent are two hit men who are out to retrieve a suitcase stolen from their employer, mob boss Marsellus Wallace. Wallace has also asked Vincent to take his wife Mia out a few days later. Butch is an aging boxer who is paid by Wallace to lose his fight. The lives of these seemingly unrelated people are woven together comprising of a series of funny, bizarre and uncalled-for incidents.
Would you like your film to become a future Raindance gem? Submissions for the 26th edition are now open!