Month: September 2019

Raindance Means… Queer

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The 27th Raindance Film Festival Queer strand showcases films that celebrate queer life and love. In this strand we aim to not only provide a platform, but to commend the inspiring stories told by, or about, the Queer community. Raindance 2019 will be showing these life changing stories from the 18th- 29th September in central London. Including a range of both narrative films and documentaries, you can be sure that the indie filmmakers of this year’s programme have compelling stories that need to be told. Without further ado, here are the selection of feature films that make up our Queer film strand. 

Krows TRANSformation

The very first gala and screening of this year’s festival is dedicated to the world premiere of director Gina Hole Lazarowich’s documentary Krows TRANSformation. Telling the story of Krow, a twelve-year-old who flies to Japan to start their career as a female model. Six years later, the same person cuts his ponytail off, takes his first dose of testosterone, and adopts the name Krow. The intimate documentary shot over three years depicts in detail the long, difficult, and rewarding journey of one trans male model. Join us for the opening gala and screening of Krows TRANSformation by using the link below. 

Book your tickets for Krow’s Transformation

Queering the Script 

Gabrielle Zilkha’s documentary Queering the Script paints a detailed and intimate history of on-screen romances between women, and the adjacent growth of fandoms. Zilkha’s tracing wisely points to the subtextual queerness of such televised relationships, and smoothly develops to the complexities of unashamed queer representation. This film underlines not just the necessity of candid LGBTQ+ representation, but the stories that this community deserves. It has already been screened at Outfest Los Angeles, Inside out Toronto LGBT Film Festival and will be having it’s UK premiere at Raindance. 

Book your tickets for Queering the Script 

Finding Bobbi

Trans people are sometimes portrayed as something ‘new’ – they are not. Bobbi Charlton underwent her transition at the age of 51, and this touching documentary traces both the highs of her new life, and the lows of the one that came before. Directed by Scot Morison and Ava Karvonen, this inspiring story is opening at Raindance on 20th September for its European Premiere.

Book your tickets for Finding Bobbi

Label Me 

Written and directed by rising star Kai Kreuser (who has already picked up an award for the film at the Max Ophüls Film Festival) LABEL ME is a film of unique sensitivity. While considering a slew of social issues – masculinity, sexuality, and the status of refugees – it also examines the societal, and the personal. Already having a successful festival run, LABEL ME  has been shown at Outfest Los Angeles and Sehsüchte Film Festival to name only a few. The German film will be coming to Raindance for its UK Premiere. 

Book your tickets for Label Me

World Beyond My Mind 

Eibe Maleen Krebs’s directorial debut feature unfolds entirely within a single room. Sven is almost entirely paralysed, and relies on his carer, Christoph, to assist with his everyday needs. Sven’s caustic attitude and Christoph’s inexperienced optimism result in an unlikely friendship, and a truly moving conclusion. The film has already picked up by the Atlanta Film Festival 2019 but will be having its UK Premiere at Raindance.

Book your tickets for World Beyond My Mind

Family In Transition

In a relatively conservative neighbourhood, one family decides to forge their own path as their much-loved parent transitions from male to female. It’s a story of resilience, raw emotion, happiness, and heartbreak, set against a backdrop of religious and cultural norms. Director Ofir Trainin was awarded Best Film at DovAviv Film Festival for Family in Transition, in amongst its many festival appearances including Krakow International Film Festival and Toronto Jewish Film Festival. 

Book your tickets for Family in Transition

Song Lang 

Leon Le directs a love story masquerading as a crime film, set in 1980s Vietnam. A thug working for a loan shark will go to any lengths to recoup a debt. A young Cải lương performer tries to save his opera troupe from destruction by repaying the debts owed to the loan shark. The UK Premiere of the film at Raindance will be on the 23rd September, coming after it’s win at Bejing International Film Festival for Best Director. 

Book your tickets for Song Lang

Explore the other festival strands here.

Filed under: Raindance Film Festival

Raindance Means… Politics 

[NEW] Download the Raindance App – Google Play and Apple Store

As the 27th Raindance Film Festival opens its doors again in 2019 the political climate of not only the UK, but all over the world, is tense and decisive. Against the backdrop of Brexit and #RaindancemeansRaindance, we want to champion films featuring stories of social and political impact. Our Politico strand features films that not only inform but have the power to make your stomach churn and your heart race. Many of which have been nominated for awards in a wide variety of categories, below is a small selection of the Politico strand to give you a taste of what is to come! Raindance, the UK’s largest film festival begins on the 18th September in Leicester Square, tickets can be purchased using the links below. 

On the President’s Orders

Directed by Emmy-winning documentarians James Jones and Olivier Sarbil, On The President’s Orders is an unflinching investigation into the drug war embroiling Duterte’s Philippines, and the societal fallout of a country trapped under the boot of its police force. Nominated for Best UK Film at this year’s festival On the President’s Orders has also been featured in Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Dokufest and Sheffield Doc Fest, to name a few. Tickets can be bought here:

Book your tickets for On The President’s Orders

Erased

Written and directed by prolific author and award-winning filmmaker Miha Mazzini (with co-direction from accomplished cinematographer Dusan Joksimovic), Erased is a moving account of a mother lost in the cracks of a cold and thoughtless bureaucracy. A post-Yugoslav Nightmare. Erased will be having its world premiere at Raindance whilst also competing for Best Screenplay.

Book your tickets for Erased

Chicuarotes

 Gael García Bernal’s sophomore film as director sees him return to the Mexico City slums of his own acting breakthrough to tell a darkly comic tale of two fast friends desperate for a better life. Cagalera and Moloteco are two teens who spend most of their days clowning around to avoid the grim realities of their home lives. Cagalera’s plan to skip town with his girlfriend propels the friends through an increasingly misjudged series of crimes that seem destined to end tragically. Chicuarotes has earned a nomination for Best Director at Raindance, where it will be having its UK Premiere having previously been featured at Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival. 

Book your tickets for Chicuarotes

Jirga

Jirga is a searching and emotive journey of redemption and self-reflection. Shot in Afghanistan and Pakistan and employing genuine ex-Taliban as cast members, it is as authentic as it is urgent. Previously featured at the Toronto International Film Festival  and Sydney International Film Festival, director Benjamin Gilmour is exhibiting Jirga at Raindance for its UK Premiere where it is also in the running for Best International Film. 

Book your tickets for Jirga

Iraq: A State of Mind 

In this BBC documentary, Namak Khoshnaw examines an oft-ignored element of the post-war experience: mental health. The wars and insurgencies that have shattered the country over the past four decades have precipitated an unseen crisis among Iraq’s post-war populace. This political piece will be hosted by Raindance for it’s International Premiere on the 19th September at Vue Piccadilly. 

Book your tickets for Iraq: A State of Mind

Explore the other festival strands here.

Filed under: Raindance Film Festival

Interview with Gina Hole Lazarowich, director of Krow’s Transformation

Ahead of the World Premiere of Raindance Film Festival 2019 Opening Night Film Krow’s Transformation, we sat down with director Gina Hole Lazarowich to talk about the film. 

Let’s talk about how the idea for the film came about and how you met Krow?

 I had been in the film industry for over 25 years, but after having kids I stepped off of the long hours on set and started producing photo & video shoots, specializing in fashion shoots. When Krow decided to transition, his mom Lisa reached out to me one day, out of the blue, and asked me if I could produce Krow’s very last photo shoot in his female body, prior to transitioning. I said ‘of course!’ and that I could put together a great photo team, as we were all so proud of Krow for becoming his true authentic self (the fashion industry is like a big family of support), and hung up and got to work on producing that shoot….but I thought about it all night, inspired by how brave a move Krow was making, and thought, ‘wouldn’t this be amazing to document this transition from BEFORE his transition to after?!’ So the next day I contacted Lisa & Krow and put forward the idea of the documentary to them. He had to think about it as it is not an easy position to be in to then to be always known as a ‘Trans Male’ instead of just trying to blend into society as a man. My hat’s off to Krow for accepting my idea and challenge, which was not an easy one! You can see this ‘final female’ shoot in the documentary as well as his very first photo shoot as a male model. 

How did you manage to get so close to such am intimate and life changing chapter in Krow’s life?

 I was very adamant that Krow and I had to be in touch every step of the way to be authentic, every appointment, every ‘life event’, everything that involved transitioning, I needed to be a part of, tough for him as what an invasion of privacy! So everything you see in the film is authentic, I always referred to it along the way as a ‘how to transition’ so there was no steps missed. I always had a vision of who our  audience was, maybe a young person -who potentially did not have any support- who could at least see all of the ‘steps’ of transitioning (female to male) and to see that just maybe it wasn’t ‘as scary’ as they had imagined. Krow tackled every step with such joy (of course mixed with a lot anxiety as well for sure!), that the documentary started to shape itself as a real ‘metaphor for happiness’. I also call it a film of ‘one-take wonders’ as every scene is real and only one take, we didn’t talk prior to each shooting day (texts/emails only to coordinate) as I wanted to ‘save it all for on camera’, it got be be a bit of a joke between us all, ‘shhh, save it for on camera!’, Krow would end up always saying, ‘I know, I know, save it for camera right?!’, we did talk about the weather though, lol! 

It seems Canada is quite progressive in accepting transgender people but Krow was bullied as a teenager before even understanding his true sexual identity. Have you made this film to help promoting a cause, to support those who, after transitioning, find it hard to be accepted? 

 Yes absolutely I made the film to promote the cause. Canada is extremely accepting, especially in our Province of BC where the Government changed the Human Right Code of Conduct to include Gender Identity and Expression (so rights are protected) as well as our medical covers both top and bottom surgeries now for free…but even Canada has a long way to go on understanding, and that is why I made this film, to help people understand transitioning a bit easier, as with knowledge becomes understanding. I see the Transgender community as some of the most marginalized people in society, bullied by people’s own opinions of what and who THEY think they are or ‘should be’, instead of just simply empathizing. One common thread of feedback I have consistently received after people screen the film from the Heterosexual community AND even some of the Queer community is, “Gina I didn’t know!”. I hope we get this message delivered far and wide to spread the word of empathy, that the bullying must stop and caring begins with your heart, they are going through a tough enough journey alone, they need our support! 

I personally found the idea very challenging and stimulating but why did you choose a fashion model to represent this cause?

 I didn’t really choose it, they reached out to me! I knew immediately it was an amazing story that should be documented, and honoured they allowed me to do so, to spread the word to children and adults alike. What I did NOT know was how it would affect the Cisgender community as well, which it really has taken on a life of its own there. We started this film for kids in schools but it has grown to so much more. I believe this was because when interviewing I put myself in the position of the parent who’s kid was coming out to them, and formulated my questions that way (‘what would I want to know as a parent?!’), so this answers a lot of questions sort of everyone has. 

Have any of the big fashion brands become involved with the project? Why?

 Well it is no secret Louis Vuitton is a big part of Krow’s final journey in the film! It’s a fairytale ending (or as I said as the filmmaker, a ‘What the F*@#?’! story ending) that NONE of us saw coming! This only unfolded at the end of year 3 shooting, I was TRYING to get him into Men’s New York Fashion Week but I kept getting shut down but the top model agencies in New York, they didn’t want to touch a Trans Male Model on camera, all until I introduced him to the fortuitous Canadian Agent Liz Bell, who submitted him for Louis Vuitton’s great vision of casting Trans Men in their women’s Paris Fashion Week show, and the rest is HIStory…now he is everywhere and has some of the leading and forward-thinking agents worldwide who have steered his career to becoming the 1st “Trans Male Super Model” in the world….who would have ever thought this to be our outcome of this film and ESPECIALLY Krow’s career, I still am in disbelief…what an amazing role model he has become for Trans kids, teens and men, in fact for the entire community. Book your ticket for the premiere of Krow’s Transformation at the Opening Night Gala of Raindance Film Festival 2019, followed by a Q&A with Gina Hole Lazarowich and the main subjects, Krow Kian, Kas Baker, Emily Seal, and Ashton Sciacallo, followed by an after party.

Filed under: Interviews, Raindance Film Festival