LONGLIST OF FILMS REVEALED FOR
BIFA’S RAINDANCE DISCOVERY AWARD 2020
Britain’s biggest independent film festival, Raindance is considered a place to discover the work of passionate and pioneering new filmmakers: those whose determination to tell compelling stories never wavers, even on a restricted budget. It is therefore fitting that Raindance should put its name to the Raindance Discovery Award at the annual BIFA’s (British Independent Film Awards), the awards ceremony founded by Raindance in 1998. This vanguard award honours British films that demonstrate innovation, uniqueness of vision, risk-taking and maverick filmmaking, all achieved with a budget under £500k.
Previous recipients include Ben Wheatley, receiving an early accolade for his bold first feature Down Terrace. BIFA’s Raindance Discovery Award was presented in 2019 to Zara Balfour, Marcus Stephenson and Mark Hakansson for the stunning and inspiring Children Of The Snow Land.
This year’s Raindance Discovery Award longlist comprises 10 standout films. Some focus on female protagonists, others embrace the diversity of love including a love of Air Jordan sneakers and nuclear power. These remarkably varied films are altogether unified in their vision to tell relevant and uncompromising stories.
“Raindance will always be a place to discover and be discovered, which is why we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on this list of bold, fresh and innovative work,” says Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance and BIFA. “More than ever, this year has been a tough one for new filmmaking talent, so we hope that the Raindance Discovery Award helps to give these indie filmmakers the extra boost they need.”
BODY OF WATER (writer/director: Lucy Brydon, producers: Dan Cleland, Jeannette Sutton)
Lucy Brydon’s powerful debut feature sensitively explores the impact of an eating disorder on a family. Having just completed another round of treatment for chronic anorexia, acclaimed war photographer Stephanie (Sian Brooke) is working hard to reconnect with her family. Her mother Susan (Amanda Burton) is supportive but preoccupied by her forthcoming wedding to Annette (Kazia Pelka). Meanwhile, Stephanie’s teenage daughter, competitive swimmer Pearl (Fabienne Piolini-Castle), is angry and full of resentment, refusing to give her mother a second chance. Stephanie will need all her strength to keep her head above water
FLIGHT (writer/director/producer: Vaughan Pilikian)
Shot in 2015 and 16 at five locations on the overland route from Greece to France, ‘Flight’ revisits the founding event of our era: the so-called ‘migrant crisis.’ Eschewing polemic and hyperbole, the film aims to bear witness at ground level, face to face. It weaves its music of images to the soaring maqaams of Iraqi saxophonist Amar Alaw, in search of something both more intimate and more universal.
JUSTINE (director/producer: Jamie Patterson, writer: Jeff Murphy, producers: Sarah Drew, Jason Rush, Julius Beltrame)
Justine (Tallulah Haddon), is a young woman with a fierce intelligence and an equally strong appetite for self-destruction. Along with her only friend Peach (Xavien Russell), she finds herself suffocated within a world that makes little sense and where alcohol is the only escape from her view of a hopeless future. Her probation officer Leanne (Sian Reese-Williams) and her doctor (Steve Oram) try to guide her back into society, but Justine understands all too well what that society can offer her and she doesn’t want to play by its rules. One day, on a shoplifting spree, she meets Rachel (Sophie Reid) and the possibility of happiness, love and a future starts to emerge. Justine is a love story from writer Jeff Murphy (Hinterland, Denmark, Hidden) and director Jamie Patterson (Tucked) which looks at the search for love and belonging in a chaotic world.
LOOTED (writer/director: Rene van Pannevis, writer: Kefi Chadwick, producers: Jennifer Eriksson, Jessie Mangum)
Rob loves driving and stealing cars, living his life at a hundred miles an hour in the cash-starved port town he calls home. He shares a house with his dying father who thinks he’s out job hunting. Rob manages to keep his two worlds perfectly separated until best mate Leo gets him involved in a bigger, riskier job which goes terribly wrong. With his relationship with his distant father in shreds and betrayed by his best mate, unexpected hope comes from Leo’s girlfriend Kasia.
NUCLEAR (writer/director: Catherine Linstrum, writer: David-John Newman, producer: Stella Nwimo)
Brutalised by her own brother, a traumatised young girl, Emma and her Mother are on the run. Finding refuge in an isolated retreat, where a nuclear power station looms. Emma begins to break away from the protection of her mother and is forced to navigate a hostile world alone. Nuclear is a tense and haunting tale of a toxic family with a dangerous past.
ONE MAN AND HIS SHOES (director: Yemi Bamiro, producer: Will Thorne)
The story of the phenomenon of Air Jordan sneakers showing their social, cultural and racial significance and how ground-breaking marketing strategies created a billion dollar business. But it is also a story with a dark side – for thirty years people have been willing to kill for a pair of Air Jordans, while manufacturers Nike have turned a blind eye. This film is a parable of America’s dark love affair with consumer capitalism and celebrity culture.
PERFECT 10 (writer/director: Eva Riley, Jacob Thomas)
14-year-old Leigh (impressive newcomer Frankie Box) lives with her neglectful father on the outskirts of Brighton. She’s a talented gymnast, training hard for her first competition despite her lack of confidence, some bitchy fellow gymnasts and little money to pay for her fees. When an older half-brother appears at her house one night, Leigh’s lonely existence is altered. Mistrust gradually transforms into exciting new feelings as Leigh receives the attention she craves. Debut director Eva Riley delivers an assured and spirited coming-of-age story that explores with heartfelt sensitivity a sibling relationship. A keen visual style and lively soundtrack complete this portrait of willful yet sensitive teenage-hood.
REAL (writer/director/producer: Aki Omoshaybi)
In inner-city Portsmouth, an unremarkable newsagent’s sits between a courthouse and a business centre. It’s here that sparks fly between well-dressed Kyle (Aki Omoshaybi) and equally poised Jamie (Pippa Bennett-Warner). Yet despite their outward appearances, both are struggling to move on from hardship they’d rather keep hidden. As their feelings for one another blossom, their pasts resurface, threatening to break them apart before their relationship has even begun.The critically-acclaimed feature debut from actor turned writer-director Aki Omoshaybi, REAL is an authentic and touching love story from a place where second chances are hard to come by.
ROSE: A LOVE STORY (director: Jennifer Sheridan, writer/producer: Matt Stokoe, producers: April Kelley, Sara Huxley, Rob Taylor, Sophie Rundle)
Rose is the story of a young couple living alone in the woods, who must contend with a life-altering illness that manifests itself in a violent and terrifying way. Rose’s disease is a vampiric, parasitic thirst for blood. As her hunger grows, all humanity seems to give way to a feral violence that harms both her and those around her. Their loving relationship strains under the burden of Rose’s illness, and it is only a matter of time until the secluded life that they have built is upended entirely.
THE ATOM: A LOVE AFFAIR (writer/director/producer: Vicki Lesley)
Behind-the-scenes political drama meets sentimental screen romance in this sweeping international feature documentary, delving deep into the past of the world’s most controversial energy source. With gems from the archives, a lush romantic score and a warm and playful tone, the film charts the West’s rollercoaster love-hate relationship with nuclear power over the past 75 years. It’s a dramatic tale of belief, betrayal, intrigue and hope, and it’s told by the scientists, engineers, politicians and campaigners who experienced it first hand.
The final list of five nominations will be announced on Wednesday 9 December. The BIFA winner announcements will take place in February 2021.
For more information, please contact Stuart Haggas