Category: Film History

The Must Read Top 10 Movie Lists of 2019

It’s year end again! All bloggers and social media experts are busily publishing their Top 10 Movie Lists of 2019.  Rather than duplicate the obvious I thought you would prefer a top ten of the Top 10 Lists – especially if there was any context behind the selection rationale. It might even assist you in choosing which movie to see next, which would make everyone at Raindance feel special.

Top 10 Movie Lists of 2019

These lists are all good, but very different. They are presented in no particular order.

1.The Best Undistributed Movies of 2019 by indiewire

We start the list off with this passionate list from indiewire. There is practically no chance you will be able to see many of these movies now their festival circuit is nearing completion. But you will be able to watch them online.

One of the films, Alice, was written, directed and produced by Raindance Alumni Josephine Mackerras. It deservedly won the Spirit of Raindance Award in 2019. It does have a UK distributor. We await the release date.

Alice Spirit of Raindance 2019 Award

2. The Telegraph Newspaper’s Top 10 List

One would not normally consider a super business newspaper, and huge Tory supporting publication to be very good at arts coverage. But Raindance jurors and frequent Raindance screening hosts Tim Robey and Robbie Collin consistency turn out some of the most thoughtful and intelligent reviews on the web. And not without a wicked sense of humour. Tim gave Cats his first ever zero star rating, for example.

Although the Telegraph covers the big Hollywood schlockbusters, the films Tim and Robbie have decided that left the lasting impressions were quiet love stories, strange thrillers and adventurous world cinema. Near the top of their list is For Sama – the British Independent Film Awards Best Film 2019.
Add these to your New Year watch list. Although their reviews are behind a pay wall, new subscriber can get limited access to their reviews.

3. James Merchant’s Top 10 list

You may not have heard of James unless you are an industry insider. I know James. – James and filmmaker Jesse Vile produced Raindance Film Festival way back in 2007 – a vintage year.

James is now th head of film and music at Trafalgar Releasing – the hugely successful and influential #eventcinema distribution company. What makes James’ list so interesting to me is that he sees tonnes of movies from all over the place.

1. The Irishman
2. Midsommar
3. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
4. Apollo 11
5. Hail Satan?
6. Booksmart
7. If Beale Street Could Talk
8. Monos
9. Dragged Across Concrete
10. American Factory
Huge caveat: Parasite is released next year in the UK so I haven’t included on this list, but it would absolutely be my #1 of the year.
Also loved: Diego Maradona, Vox Lux, Marriage Story, Under the Silver Lake, Velvet Buzzsaw, Fyre, Eighth Grade, Mid90s, Us, Knock Down the House.

4. IMDB’s Top 10

Founded by Col Needham a quarter century ago, IMDB is now this industry behemoth that has earned a secure place in the film industry as data cruncher and influencer. I first met Col the very first time he went to Cannes in the early naughties. Since then we have kept in touch. The IMDB list is not where you turn for the heavyweight films. Surprisingly, their list carries indies like ˆ and Mid Sommar as well as, at #37, Avengers – made by Raindance alumni The Russo Brothers. A well-balanced list.

5. Deadline’s Top 10 List

No filmmaker should pass a single day without reading all the cool tips and news on Deadline. Here is the Top Ten List from this year’s AFI Awards in December. Good solid choices here.

If you want a change of pace from actual movie watching, why not look at The Black Lists Top Unproduced Scripts – you’ll get an inkling which movies will be getting made in the next couple of years.

6. Screen-Space

Sydney based Simon Foster launched Screen-Space in 2012 to keep up with the changes in movie distribution. His Top Movies Lists of 2019 includes a wide range of films, both topical and entertaining. Simon’s thoughtful choices range from Once A Time In Hollywood to the engaging and multiple ward-winning Alice.

7. The Vuture’s Best Horror of 2019

New York Magazine has one of the best organised websites I know of. And it’s culture section is under “The Vulture” tab. Jordan Crucchiola is a witty and engaging reviewer. You can follow her on Twitter here. Her Top 10 Horror Movies of 2019 includes a Raindance Film Festival premiere: Knife + Heart.

8. The British Film Institute

Loved and loathed by independent filmmakers in the UK, the BFI nonetheless has compiled a pretty daunting and hip list of the best 50 films of 2019. It’s true that many of these were part-funded by the BFI – but should that make any difference? These results were complied from a poll of a hundred contributors to their magazine, Sight & Sound.

Ex-runner Ben Roberts has taken over as CEO and has amazingly ambitious plans for the organisation.

Interestingly, the best film of 2019, according to the BFI list, is Souvenir, which debuted at the Raindance Film Festival.

9. Screen International’s Best Movies Lists of 2019

Screen International is Britain’s only film trade paper – and a damn good one at that too. It’s roster of journalists is second-to-none. Editor Matt Muellor is a Raindance alumni. Features editor Charles Gant has been a long-time support of the British Independent Film Awards, and stringer Ben Dalton’s first London movie job was at the Raindance office in London!

Each of the staff were asked to pick their top five films of 2019. They’re published here.

Ben Dalton, bless, chose Greener Grass as his number one. It had it’s European premiere at Raindance 2019.

10 The Guardian’s Top Movies 2019 List

No European film article would would ever be complete without including The Guardian. Film editor and former Raindance juror Peter Bradshaw and his team has compiled a list of their top picks of 2019. It’s a wide range of films from The Joker to little known UK indies like Bait – a hypnotic take on tourists – and second home owners – ruining Cornwall which launched Mark Jenkin onto the homegrown cinema scene with immense wit and monochrome style.  Bait had it’s world premiere at Raindance.

Fade Out

Do you have a movie list you like? Please add it to the comments box below.

Filed under: Film History, Filmmaking, In Our Opinion

The Best Movie Cats for International Cat Day

Never have the Raindance HQ team been so confused as when I wandered around the office asking “What is your favourite cat appearance in any film?”. But nonetheless I gathered a comprehensive list of feline features and have whittled them down to a top 10 list of the Best Cat Movie Appearances for International Cat Day 2019. I want to get slightly technical with this so I’m going to devise a brief rating system and apply it to each furry friend. So without further ado here are the employees’ of Raindance paw-some picks. (I apologise in advance for the amount of puns in this blog post). 

Coraline (2009) – The Black Cat 

It would be wrong to start without my personal favourite, wouldn’t it? The Black Cat in Coraline, whose name is widely debated on the internet, is arguably one of the most useful feline friends in this list. His intellectual and witty personality (voiced by Keith David) makes him a captivating presence on screen and he is perhaps the driving force for Coraline to escape the Other Mother. 

Cuteness: 6/10- It doesn’t look you can cuddle a clay model but the eyes are amazing. 

Usefulness: 10/10- He tears out the eyes of the Other Mother so really he wins?

Screen Time: 8/10- I would personally like a movie of just him but as cat appearances go, he gets a lot more exposure than most.

The Godfather (1972) – Vito’s Cat 

Made famous in the opening scene of the film where honestly this kitty gave the performance of his/her life. I challenge anyone to stay attentive to the steely dialogue whilst that little cat rolls around in the lap of Marlon Brando. Supposedly it was also a stray cat from the Paramount lot, which is a sweet fact

Cuteness: 10/10- Obviously. 

Usefulness: 4/10- Unfortunately the cat doesn’t do much but that’s not to say it isn’t appreciated. 

Screen Time: 2/10 It seems the cat is only really seen in this scene but is heard throughout the film.

Cinderella (1950) – Lucifer

Harshly named I think? Lucifer belongs to Cinderella’s evil stepmother, and so naturally he only serves to make the heroine’s life harder. He certainly provides comic relief to what is actually quite a gloomy story.  The interaction between Lucifer and the mice is entertaining however, and his regal presence makes for a great character.  

Cuteness: 8/10- Very fluffy. 

Usefulness: 5/10- He is honestly just a nuisance. 

Screen Time: 7/10- Better than most! But he is also an antagonist.

My Neighbour Totoro (1988) – Catbus

It has so many legs? And windows? And is also a bus? Catbus plays an integral role in transporting Mei, Satsuki and Totoro out of the forest. I’m not sure what else to say about this cat appearance, aside from the fact that its eyes act as headlights and I find that mesmerising. I think I love it but I’m not sure. 

Cuteness: 5/10- Half cute also half terrifying. 

Usefulness: 15/10- It’s a cat… that is also a bus, need I say more? 

Screen Time: 6/10- He has an actual role so I salute that.

Blofeld’s Cat

One of the most iconic cats in filmic history. It is argued that most cat villain duos are a homage to Blofeld’s cat such as Mr Bigglesworth in Austin powers and the already mentioned cat in The Godfather. The cat who appears unnamed belongs to antagonist Ernst Blofeld, the head of criminal organisation Spectre, and is actually a recurring feature throughout the Bond franchise.

Cuteness: 20/10- It’s a Persian white cat so. 

Usefulness: 6/10- I can’t find anything that says the cat is much of an aid to the villain… 

Screen Time: 10/10- Appears in seven Bond films.

Shrek 2 (2004) – Puss in Boots

It wouldn’t be a complete list of cinematic cats without the fur-midible Puss in Boots. There is a rich history behind the feline character as written by Charles Perrault in 1697. But for rating purposes I’m going to refer to the adaptation of the character in Shrek which we all know and love. At this time I also want to note there is perhaps an argument here for animated cats over live action, but that is a debate for another time. 

Cuteness: 10/10- The eyes, the boots, the hat, enough said. 

Usefulness: 11/10- Wields a sword and is a hired assassin. 

Screen Time: 10/10- Arguably one of the best characters in Shrek

Alien (1979) & Aliens (1986) – Jonesy

There’s nothing better than a film in which you wholeheartedly do not expect a cat to be present, and then there is. Alien is a prime example of this because really why is there a cat in a movie about space and face huggers? He seems to provide emotional support and honestly adds value to the films in my opinion. 

Cuteness: 10/10- I think there is a theme here for the cuteness rating… 

Usefulness: 11/10- Survives the alien invasion of the ship and then enters hypersleep with Ripley. 

Screen Time: 5/10- Would like to see him catching rodents on the ship as is stated was his original purpose. 

Alice in Wonderland (1951) – Cheshire Cat

Another animated cat, sigh, perhaps I am biased. But I couldn’t leave the Cheshire Cat off the list as he is truly iconic. He supposedly inspired other cat appearances on the list such as the Coraline cat and Catbus. His magical presence and haunting smile perfectly complement his mischievous behaviour which makes him quite unforgettable. 

Cuteness: 8/10- Mostly cute and only slightly creepy. 

Usefulness: 5/10- Seems to be all knowing but only uses this gift to mess with people.

Screen Time: 7/10- More Cheshire Cat is always required but we see quite a lot of him.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – Orangey

This one kept coming up time and time again, a classic cat appearance that everyone loves in the most romantic setting possible. I’m sure many hearts were broken when Audrey Hepburn throws Orangey out the New York cab and leaves him in the rain, but they make their way back to each other so I suppose that’s all that matters.

Cuteness: 11/10- The name alone is heartwarming. 

Usefulness: 6/10- Is once helpful as a kitty alarm clock and I suppose helps set a romantic tone?

Screen Time: 6/10- Would like to see poor Orangey do more that be sandwiched between two people kissing.

Men in Black (1997) – Orion

If I were an undercover alien trying to keep a whole galaxy under wraps then of course I would hide it on my cat, makes sense right? Orion the cat actually has an integral role in the film and remains fiercely loyal to his owner Rosenberg even going so far as to guard his dead body. If that doesn’t make him worthy of this list then I don’t know what does. 

Cuteness: 10/10- The ginger and white cat is a theme and honestly I like it. 

Usefulness: 100/10- Holds an entire galaxy on his collar. 

Screen Time: 5/10- We don’t know what happens to Orion after the galaxy is retrieved and thus his story remains untold. 

Filed under: Film History, In Our OpinionTagged with: , , , ,

12 Times When Films Use Famous Songs Effectively

I haven’t seen Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis’s new film Yesterday, but I am sure already that its music licensing budget must have been through the roof. Songs by The Beatles are the most expensive in the world to use in film/tv/commercials. All great films using famous songs in your film can be extremely effective, but also potentially terrible (*cough* Hallelujah in Watchmen). Here’s a list of some good examples, consciously ignoring biopics about musicians and James Bond title songs because that’s a whole other ball game. 

Mommy – Wonderwall

Any excuse to rewatch this scene. This scene still gives me shivers. In a movie full of trauma and discontent, and a whole lot of yelling, this scene is one of the purest depictions of liberation ever put to film. The aspect ratio trick is an ingenious touch. Wonderwall may have generally been played in the world far too many times, but Dolan seems to breathe new life into it in this scene, and it complements the visuals perfectly. 

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – Life on Mars

The perfect example of Wes Anderson’s use of music is this scene from his polarising Life Aquatic with Bill Murray and a stop-motion shark. The song quietly builds up a momentous scene between newly met father and son, and then explodes into chorus as Steve travels up the deck alone to compose himself. It’s a powerful moment brought to life by David Bowie. 

Varsity Blues – Thunderstruck 

This Jon Voight sports film has a compelling mid-film scene that shows the team struggle with hangovers on the pitch after a big night out, and get brutally rolled over in glorious slow motion, to AC-DC’s Thunderstruck. This song reportedly cost the filmmakers $500,000, which considering the film’s entire budget was $16m, was a serious chunk of cash. It is an impressively shot scene, though, and hearing the song while watching Jon Voight maddeningly throw a clipboard in slo mo is always a pleasure. 

Dazed and Confused – Sweet Emotion

Richard Linklater’s cult slice of growing up in America opens with this hit Aerosmith song. A montage of high schoolers going about their general day (on the last day of school before summer), the song plays to totally muted dialogue. It instantly provides an incredibly specific and effective atmosphere that perfectly sets up the film’s stoned yet genuine aura. 

Magnolia – Goodbye Stranger 

Paul Thomas Anderson’s monumental mosaic features a particularly memorable scene in which braces (or corrective oral surgery) enthusiast Quiz Kid Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) ponders life and love to the sound of Supertramp’s Goodbye Stranger. He sees an attractive bartender, Brad, who has the braces that Donnie so badly wants himself. Brad seems to be an easy embodiment of everything Donnie wants at that moment in time – a material goal, a physical goal, but actually a goal of finding love and deep connection. It’s before Donnie fights for Brad’s attention with a brilliant Henry Gibson, who has the one thing Donnie doesn’t – money. The two intellectuals quote greats at each other, and yet while their academic abilities are clear, the sad truth is they are both emotionally stunted and lonely to the point of despair. Unfortunately the only video online is dubbed in French, but it’s easy to see the power that the song brings to the scene.

Mad Men – Tomorrow Never Knows

Ok, this isn’t a film, but Mad Men is better than most films, and its use of music is so incredibly astute that it would be unfair to not include it on this list. At the end of Season 5’s “Lady Lazarus”, Megan Draper pesters Don into listening to a new Beatles album Revolver, starting with Tomorrow Never Knows. She wants to bring an old fashioned Don into a new and incomprehensible world of hippies and modernisation, one that Don has until now refused to join. Now that he has a young new wife, he is thrown into this world, from a home with a housewife and kids in the suburbs to a Manhattan penthouse apartment. A classic Mad Men ending, it manages to bring together the concerns of different characters into a cohesive montage. But Don turns the song off, indicating his rejection of changing times and perhaps signifying a doomed marriage. AMC spent $250,000 getting the rights to this song, which for one episode of a thirteen episode season, demonstrates just how important it was to the show. 

Mad Men – You Only Live Twice

I know, no Bond songs, but this Mad Men scene uses Nancy Sinatra’s You Only Live Twice to one of the greatest shots in the entire series. The camera dollies back as Don walks away from Megan on a soap set, away from the fantasy. It’s super meta, and the overly glamorous James Bond song shows that it really is fantasy. The double entendre of “Are you alone?” is such a sharp question that shows the whole illusion of glamour around that world. 

Chungking Express – California Dreaming

Wong Kar-Wai is one of the greatest when it comes to using music – imagine In The Mood For Love with a Hans Zimmer soundtrack. No thank you. California Dreaming is embedded into the narrative of the film – it links to the two separate stories together, it links two characters together. It shows “the grass is greener on the other side” feeling as universal yet illusory. Don’t watch past 8 minutes if you haven’t seen the film. 

Apocalypse Now – The End 

Arguably the most evocative opening few minutes in the history of cinema. A zoomed in view of a jungle canopy. The Doors’ The End plays, and in an instant, the jungle lights up in a terrifying blaze. It’s the ultimate use of music for ultimate intensity. No blood, no guts, just the sheer consuming power of napalm.  

McCabe and Mrs Miller – The Stranger Song 

Robert Altman’s revisionist Western opens to the haunting beauty of Leonard Cohen. Using modern music anachronistically in period films is always a risky business, but Altman’s pensive and starkly beautiful opening of a snowy mountain town on the American Frontier is made immortal by Cohen’s calmly mournful song.  

The Graduate – The Sound of Silence 

In 1967 Roger Ebert said that the music Mike Nichols chose to use in his film was “instantly forgettable”. Thirty years later he re-reviewed the film and conceded defeat. The Simon & Garfunkel music in this film is perhaps its most memorable feature, a brilliant soundtrack that bring together a suburban classiness somehow with youthful angst. The brilliant shot of Benjamin sliding along the moving walkway in the airport to The Sound of Silence is an amazing opening sequence, but watch the second clip for the eternally famous cuts that Mike Nichols uses to link the compartmentalised parts of Benjamin’s life. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Father and Son

Filling an overload of VFX with 70s nostalgia is welcome juxtaposition, and it made the original Guardians film one of the most refreshing in the extremely-extremely-well-trodden Marvel universe. In Vol. 2, James Gunn uses this Cat Stevens song to play over Yondu’s space funeral in this Marvel sequel. Apart from being a great song, it adds a level of poignancy and keeps up the 70s charm to go with this rather sad moment as a villain achieves catharsis. Its relevance also works on a number of levels, both centrally with Kurt Russell and Chris Pratt as the fighting father and son, but also a number of family relationships throughout the Guardians’ universe. 

Filed under: Directing, Film History, Filmmaking, In Our OpinionTagged with: , , , ,

Great Short Films from the 90s

Before you write your next short, check out this list of great short films that were made in the 90s. This era is interesting right now because some of the best filmmakers today got their start making shorts in the 90s. A couple of these shorts even became features in their own right, kickstarting some seriously big careers. 

Bottle Rocket (1992) – Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket was the screen debut of little-known brothers Owen and Luke Wilson. Filmed in stylish black and white, Wes Anderson finds comedy and yet also deep human empathy in two clueless young men trying to find excitement in life by attempting to be high flying criminals. Its sarcastic humour and offbeat style doesn’t represent the modern Wes Anderson we know and love, but it demonstrates the same interest in whimsy and incongruous action that work so well in his more famous films. It finally screened at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. Its juxtaposition of stylish crime and deprecating comedy wowed James L. Brooks, big-time producer as well as developer of The Simpsons, which led to a feature film. Although unsuccessful at the box office, Anderson’s debut Bottle Rocket remains his most criminally underrated work, although Martin Scorsese listed it as one of his favourite films of the 1990s. 

The Waiters (1993) – Ken Webb

Ken Webb, a student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts made this film as part of his film school thesis. He collaborated with members of a comedy troupe called the New Group, which later became the State, which later had its own MTV series. Written by Thomas Lennon and starring Joe Lo Truglio, this film represents everything good about student film, wonderfully bending structure and narrative into a weird, hilarious and artful film that was a finalist at the Student Academy Awards. It’s a film that is literally about waiting, and this universal human experience is presented in many different paradigms, to humourous and yet touching effect. Ken Webb is the only director on this list that hasn’t had a hugely successful directorial career (to be honest, the only non-auteur), having become a lecturer, although it seems he has delved back into directing more recently. 

Cigarettes & Coffee (1993) – Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson already made The Dirk Diggler Story (the basis for Boogie Nights) as a 17-year-old in 1988, because life is unfair, but after dropping out of film school, he made Cigarettes & Coffee (busted, Jim Jarmusch), starring future PTA-regular and Seinfeld alumnus Philip Baker Hall. A Robert Altman style story of how many characters are connected by a $20 bill, the film screened at Sundance and formed the basis of Anderson’s debut feature Hard Eight (1996), starring Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson. The film already demonstrates PTA’s signature visual style, with a steady but fast moving camera, large cast and substitute father figures. He apparently financed the film mostly on his film school money as well as gambling winnings. Unfortunately Youtube only has a low res VHS rip.

Small Deaths (1996) – Lynne Ramsey

Lynne Ramsey’s graduation project from the National Film & Television School was Small Deaths, a series of vignettes demonstrating the staggered corrosion of innocence of a Scottish girl. It’s a quiet, nuanced film, with Ramsey’s own niece playing the little girl. Like The Waiters, it’s a film that structurally works well in short form, in this case providing a moving portrayal of external occurrences shaping the mind of a girl. It was screened at Cannes and widely acclaimed, helping to kickstart Ramsey’s career as a unique directing force. 

Doodlebug (1997) – Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan made a number of short films for the film society at UCL, before making his no-budget feature breakthrough Following in 1998, regularly cited as an example of high quality films made on extremely low budgets. Like that feature, Nolan shoots Doodlebug on 16mm in high contrast black and white, with Following’s Jeremy Theobald starring as a man whose sanity is slowly crumbling before his eyes as he tries to squash an elusive bug. Doodlebug is a perfect example of Nolan’s preoccupation with mind bending mystery and twists, as well as his unique practical ability to create remarkable, believable scenes on a low budget. 

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The History of Sci-Fi Films

Sci-Fi films have depicted unimaginable scientific phenomenons since the beginning of time. The category combines the real world with the supernatural to question thoughts of the unknown in science. Over the past century, technology has improved special effects and futuristic elements in these films, which has resulted in a rising popularity and success in this area of the film industry. Here is how the sci-fi genre all began. 

The Era of Silent Film

The history of sci-fi films dates back to the early 20th century in the Silent Film Era. The attempts were usually 1-2 minute short films, shot in black and white, and had a technological theme that was intended to be comical. The first film categorised as science fiction was Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902) by George Méliès, telling the story of a spacecraft being launched to the moon in a large cannon. The special effects used in the film paved the way for future sci-fi films, and became very popular after its release. Science fiction literature also had a huge impact on early films. Books like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1910) and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1913) were adapted into films, mixing sci-fi and horror together. 

1930’s and 40’s

Films in the 30’s were influenced by sound, dialogue, and the effects of the Great Depression. The decade however, saw a rise in film serials which were low budget, quickly produced short films that depicted futuristic adventures filled with action and gadgetry. One of the first films was The Phantom Empire (1935), about a cowboy who stumbles upon a technologically advanced underground civilization with ray guns, robots and advanced TV’s. More films throughout the decade continued to use elements like space travel, high tech gadgets, and mad scientists. Most of the successful sci-fi films in the 30s continued in the 40s as sequels. However, sci-fi films were mainly inert throughout the course of the war. 

Post War and 1950’s 

Developments of the atomic bomb and anxiety about apocalyptic effects of a nuclear war strongly influenced the sci-fi genre during the 50s. The Cold War and communist era in the United States also led to an increase in sci-fi films, which later started a Golden Age of Science Fiction. One of the most important films during the time was Destination Moon (1950), which tells the story of a nuclear powered rocket that brings four men to the moon while competing against the Soviets. This film was largely publicised and very successful, which resulted in more financing for sci-fi films. The decade also saw a rise in popularity for alien films. The films featured political commentary mixed with the concept of UFOs. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) became a major success and set a new wave of sci-fi monster films. The film depicts the monster Rhedosaurus destroying areas of the United States after being thawed out by atomic testing. This decade of films include sci-fi and horror with a mix of apprehension in regards to  nuclear technology or dangers of outer space. The success of sci-fi during this decade influenced future success and international growth as a genre. 

1960’s

In the beginning of the decade, not many films were produced after the rush in the 50s. The films that were produced during this time were either aimed at a child audience or a continuation of 50’s sci-fi films. In the second half of the decade however, many sci-fi films were produced and transformed the genre. Fahrenheit 451 (1966) is a social commentary on freedom of speech and government restrictions and Fantastic Voyage (1966) tells the story of the main character exploring the inside of a human body. Planet of the Apes (1968) was also a very popular film that eventually resulted in four sequels and a TV series. One of the most significant sci-fi films during this decade is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The film tells the story about a voyage to Jupiter with the computer HAL after discovering a dark machine that is destroying human evolution. The film was considered to be groundbreaking for its time in regards to the quality of visual effects, the realistic portrayal of space travel and the legendary scope of its story. After this film was released, sci-fi films that followed would have immensely larger budgets and an improvement in special effects. 

1970’s

There was much more interest in sci-fi films with a space adventure theme in the 70s. The discoveries made in space during this decade created a marvel about the universe portrayed in these films. In the early 70s, many sci-fi films still included themes of paranoia with a threat against humanity in regards to ecological and technological conflicts. Some popular films during this specific time in the decade were A Clockwork Orange (1971), and the sequels to Planet of the Apes. Conspiracy thriller films were very popular during this time, which emphasised paranoia and conspiracy among national government or corporate entities. Some big successes in the 70s were Star Wars (1977), Superman (1978), and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).

1980’s

Resulting in the success of Star Wars, this decade increases popularity of sci-fi films. Many major studios began to produce many more films. Both the Star Wars and Star Trek films influenced escapism becoming the dominant form of science fiction in the 80s. Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982) was one of the most successful films of the decade. The distinction between science fiction, fantasy and superhero films were obscured from the influences of these films as well. Every year during this decade saw at least one major sci-fi or fantasy film released. The decade also saw a growth in animation which acted as a medium for sci-fi films. This was mostly successful in Japan where anime started. This industry became very popular and has gradually expanding across the world.   

1990’s

The creation of the internet led to the emerging cyberpunk genre in the 90s. This genre is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that features advanced technological and scientific achievement. Both the internet and the genre paved the way for many internet-themed films. A very popular film that was released during this time is The Matrix (1999), which tells the story of a machine-run virtual prison that was created for humanity. Disaster films still remained popular during this decade and included updated themes to reflect more recent influences. Computers play an important role in the addition of special effects and the production of film. Software was improving rapidly over time which made it easier to produce more complicated effects in films. The improvements of special effects allowed many sequels of films like Star Wars to include features with many enhancements. 

2000’s

During this decade, films turned away from space travel and more towards fantasy themes. Star Trek and Star Wars film series are the only films that appear in the first years of the decade and in present day. While fantasy and superhero films are vastly popular during this time, earthbound sci-fi films like The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were also popular. Sci-fi films in this decade were used as a tool for political commentary. Films like A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) and Minority Report (2002) questioned the materialism of today’s world and questioned political situations post 9/11. As the years went on, the theatre audience began to decline due to online streaming services becoming widely popular. 

 

To conclude, science fiction films have transformed the film industry over the past century. With the advancement of technology, these productions enhance the quality of special effects to make the concepts look and seem more realistic than the audience could ever imagine. This genre is one that is greatly appreciated in the industry for bringing the extraordinary to life on the big screen. 

Filed under: Film History, Filmmaking, In Our Opinion, Promotion, Marketing and DistributionTagged with: , , , ,

10 Memorable Movie Kisses

A kiss can convey so much emotion and feeling, and there’s no better way to capture this than on film. From an innocent first crush as a child to a passionate declaration of love, a kiss is a way to communicate how someone feels towards another. In honour of World Kissing Day, here are 10 of the most memorable kisses in film in no particular order:

1. Lady and the Tramp

http://https://youtu.be/1nWNXO3CZkU

The iconic scene from the beloved 1955 animated film is one that has been parodied and reenacted countless times. It is such a sweet, unexpected moment that shows how even movies meant for children can tug at our heartstrings and make us believe in love. But this scene almost wasn’t in the film. Apparently, Walt Disney himself had a hard time being convinced to include it in the final cut. He thought that two dogs partaking in fine dining were pushing the limit in terms of humanisation. Ultimately, Walt was convinced to keep the scene, and audiences have loved it ever since.

2. The Notebook

Oh, the drama that comes with kissing in the rain! As a rainstorm starts, Noah (Ryan Gosling) rows to shore, where Allie (Rachel McAdams) demands to know why Noah never wrote to her. After the revelation that Noah had indeed written to Allie, they share a passionate kiss. This film was McAdams’ first foray into leading lady status, and it cemented Gosling as the “hey girl” heartthrob we know him to be. It also had couples saying, “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird,” to each other for months after its release.

3. My Girl

When you’re young, navigating life, love and friendships can be confusing. That’s exactly what happens to Anna Chlumsky’s 11-year-old Vada in the 1991 film. While sitting under a tree with her best friend Thomas J., played by a young Macaulay Culkin, the two share an innocent first kiss “just to see what’s the big deal.” It’s a brief, yet relatable moment in a film chalked full of them. 

4. The Godfather Part II

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Not all kisses are the product of romantic love. In the 1974 continuing saga of the Corleone crime family, mafia boss Michael (Al Pacino) is trying to figure out which one of his close associates betrayed him. In this famous scene, Michael grabs his brother Fredo Corleone (John Cazale) tightly by the head and kisses him. This is what’s known in the mafia as “the kiss of death” and signifies that a member of the crime family has been marked for death, usually because of perceived betrayal. He follows the kiss with the line, “I know it was you Fredo; you broke my heart.”

5. Call Me By Your Name

This is the most recent film on this list, but it’s one that is sure to have a lasting impression for years to come. It’s another a tale of first love and how intense it can feel. 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) falls for graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) who also happens to be his father’s research assistant. The scene where the two share their first kiss is beautiful and warm. The film is one of the most celebrated and talked about LGBTQ movies of the past decade as it depicted a tender yet relatable relationship. It was so loved that a sequel is reportedly in the works.

6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The film adaption of Breakfast at Tiffany’s differs from Truman Capote’s short story in many ways, but the “happily ever after” ending is the most memorable difference between the two. In the scene, Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) races through the wet, rainy New York streets in search of the no-name cat she kicked out of her taxi cab. When she finds the cat, she is overcome with emotion and shares a passionate kiss with Paul (George Peppard). It’s a familiar moment where the main character’s emotions finally get the better of them. The only thing that makes this classic “kiss in the rain” better is the fact that the no-name cat is sandwiched between the two the entire time.

7. Spider-Man

Another kissing in the rain moment, but this time it’s upside down. The scene where Spider-Man (played by Tobey Maguire) is hanging upside down and receives his first kiss from Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) after saving her from a group of thugs. It’s an iconic image that puts a twist on the typical “token-of-appreciation” kiss.

8. From Here to Eternity

Few kissing scenes can rival Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr embracing on the beach as waves crash around them. It’s so perfectly dramatic and passionate that it’s hard to believe that they didn’t have true feelings for one another. It’s rumored that Lancaster suggested the actors lie down for the kiss as opposed to the standing kiss that was written in the script. This change makes all the difference and earns the film a spot on this list.

9. Titanic

Now seems like a good time to queue the off-key humming/singing of “My Heart Will Go On.” The iconic song plays in the background of another iconic romance scene. As Rose (Kate Winslet) stands at the front of the ship with her arms extended to her sides, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) stands behind keeping a careful hold of her. The sweet moment where she is “flying” ends in an even sweeter kiss between the two characters. Their love transcends their vastly different social circles and has you rooting for a much deserved happy ending. *Spoiler,* they don’t get one. The fate of the real Titanic was a grim one, so you kind of know what you are signing yourself up for when you watch the film.

10. The Princess Bride

A case of mistaken identity and the revelation that the man she believes is kidnapping her is none other than her “dead” lover, Westley (Cary Elwes) lead to this reunion-spurred kiss. Because Buttercup (Robin Wright) believed that the Dread Pirate Roberts killed Westley many years ago, she pushed him down a mountainside. As he tumbles down, the truth is revealed as he says “as you wish,” something which Westley used to say to Buttercup. Buttercup realizes that the man in black is Westley, so she Buttercup goes down after him and they share a kiss after many years apart.

Filed under: Film History, Filmmaking, In Our OpinionTagged with: , , , , ,

Five Quintessential Queer British Films

‘Pride’… for a word that may arouse celebration, a growing number of LGBTQ+ individuals are nowadays quicker to frown at the term. Whilst Gay Pride began through rebellion and riots, today, corporate presence has come to characterise aspects of Pride month (see M&S’s Lettuce Guacamole Bacon Tomato sandwich). It is important for us – those of the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike – to counteract the growing erasure of queer voices and history from their commodification.

On the dawn of London’s Pride Parade (this Saturday 6 June), here are five of Britain’s most quintessential queer films to turn your attention to.

 

Victim (1961)

‘Victim’ depicts the threatening of barrister Melville Farr’s idyllic life on account of his associations with a young gay man. Farr himself, portrayed by Dirk Bogarde, is a closeted homosexual. Although, the film’s perhaps most moving tension lies in the knowledge of actor Bogarde’s closeted sexuality too.

The writers and director of this 60’s set noir film – the first of English language to use the word ‘homosexual’ – were indeed straight. However, ‘Victim’ was written in the wake of Wolfenden Report, which called for the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain. The social significance of Basil Dearden’s film in its era is undeniable, yet even today we can learn from its courage to loudly depict gay experience.

Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)

If a certain U2 song is the first thing to come to mind upon hearing this title, don’t fret; maybe Bono’s line “How long must we sing this song? ‘Cause tonight, we can be as one,” is the ideal stepping stone to this John Sclesinger directed feature. In this case, the song is one that over-dramatises sex and superiorises monogamy, to which ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ has no care to sing.

Sclesinger depicts artist Bob Elkin’s (Murray Head) two ongoing romantic relationships with recent divorcee Alex Greville (Glenda Jackson) and doctor Daniel Hirsh (Peter Finch) respectively. Hirsh and Greville are aware of each other, and their separate intimacy with Elkin, yet neither hold any particular concern.

In contrast to attitudes still maintained today, even within the LGBTQ+ community, Elkin’s relationship with his bisexuality is deeply relaxed. He isn’t identified to be in a state of confusion or rebellion. Whilst it really shouldn’t be for this aspect, the film is indeed nothing short of revolutionary.

Blue (1993)

On the colour, French artist Yves Klein writes that “Blue is the invisible becoming visible. Blue has no dimensions, it is beyond the dimensions of which other colours partake.” The films of queer British director Derek Jarman are popular for their aversion to political and sexual oppression. In ‘Blue’, the director explores these aforementioned dimensions of colour and these sociopolitical issues on somehow widely accessible grounds.

In simplest terms, ‘Blue’ is a single shot filled by a saturated blue, underscored by conversations, names, stories, and other sounds. Jarman made the film whilst AIDS-related complications began to render him blind. But with ‘Blue’, he proves that losing sight does not equate to losing vision.

The director’s effort is described by many as a poem. It is at once a dreamlike experiment of the senses, as an intricate insight to queer suffering during the AIDS epidemic. For a film absent of naturalistic images, it is described by Christopher Nolan as “one of the most intimate films I’ve ever seen.”

 

Weekend (2011)

Andrew Haigh’s ‘Weekend’ was filmed across two weeks, and is set over the course of 48 hours. And yet, capturing the intimate moments of post-hookup conversations and shared bicycle rides, nothing here is rushed or made pretentious. Watching the relationship of Russell and Glen unfold – the pair portrayed by Tom Cullen and Chris New respectively – is like watching a documentary.

Increasingly, cinema is exploring identity politics, with increased concern for diverse casts (be it by gender, race, sexuality, or more). In effect, let us take inspiration from visions like Haigh’s here. To Roger Ebert, “it underlines the difficulty of making connections outside our individual boxes of time and space.” Homosexuality is never shied from, and to call this ‘not a gay film’ would perhaps be redundant. Instead, ‘Weekend’ is to be treasured for its presentation of a gay relationship without sensationalisation.

Carol (2015)

Yes… Carol’s director is American, and its romance blossoms within the snow-dusted exteriors and Christmas-lit interiors of 1950’s New York. However, its production by British companies, delicate writing by English screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, and the bias of this article’s English writer are enough to edge it onto this list.

In ‘Carol’, pioneer of New Queer Cinema Todd Haynes unravels a love between Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) and Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) – one forbidden for reasons more complex than social laws. If ‘Victim’ is innovative in its explicit declaration of homosexuality, Carol explores what happens when one doesn’t believe that that simmering feeling that so obviously is love, could be love. The words ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ needn’t be mentioned.

In turn, its genius lies in its manifestation of queerness and romance through silence, burning gazes, and alluringly nervous dialogue. And wouldn’t we all want our own romances scored by Carter Burwell, and lives costumed by Sandy Powell.

 

Filed under: Film History, Filmmaking, In Our OpinionTagged with: , , , ,

On Agnes Varda – Photographer, Filmmaker, and Cat Lover

Agnes Varda was a tiny woman with dimming eye-sight who left a huge mark on the world cinema through her career that spans over 60 years. The Belgian-born filmmaker and the so-called “Grandmother of the Nouvelle Vague” (a term she despised as it was first given to her in her early 30s) embodied the idea of radical cinema in both her life and her work, and her vital solar energy kept her going strong well into her 90s.

Agnes Varda died this year, on March 29, at her home on Rue Daguerre, Paris, only a few months after releasing her last film, Varda par Agnes. Her seminal cinematic work contributed to the birth of the Nouvelle Vague, but Varda wasn’t only a filmmaker, as her passionate spirit could not be contained and it spilled into many other art forms. Both her career and her life are worth exploring and admiring.

Photographer & Filmmaker & Installation Artist

Before becoming a filmmaker, Varda studied photography in Paris. Her fondness for photography eventually manifested itself throughout her entire career in various forms, be it cinema, or later in life, visual installations.

It was during this period that she became interested in trying her hand at making a film, although she was in no way a film buff, she had only seen around 20 films by the age of 25.

Her first film, La Pointe Courte, a drama with the aesthetic of a documentary, became the precursor of the Nouvelle Vague, the French New Wave.

The experience of embarking on this ambitious project without any previous film training shaped Varda into a relentless powerhouse who fearlessly delved into any artistic field that attracted her.

Thanks to the success of this first film, edited by her friend, Alain Resnais, she could skip the mandatory years of working as an assistant and work alongside her male counterparts as a film director from the very beginning.

Her filmography includes fiction films, shorts,  documentaries, and everything in between. In 1961, she released her most famous work, Cleo from 5  to 7, the story of a beautiful and successful pop singer who awaits the results of a biopsy. Varda follows Cleo through the streets of Paris in seemingly real-time for two hours, and we see her as she struggles with her own mortality.

Many of her films explore the theme of illness and death (Vagabond, Le Bonheur), but none more than Jacquot de Nantes,  her homage to her late husband, fellow filmmaker, Jacques Demy, who died of AIDS in 1990. The film lovingly recreates Jacques’ childhood in Nantes.

The Little Old Lady Who Loved Life (and Cats)

In her most recent interviews, Varda often called herself “a little old lady”, but one who is still alive and loves to work. All her movies are infused with a joy for living, adventure, and the common people, but none as much as Faces Places, the 2017 documentary she directed along with French muralist, JR.

The film explores their trip through rural France in JR’s van, a van that is equipped with a photo booth that prints photographs on the spot. The unlikely pair, Varda, an 80-something icon, and JR, a 30 something muralist and street artist, form a friendship that is heart-warming, sincere and full of child-like candor.

They are both driven by an unstoppable love for their subjects, the men, women, and children they meet along the way, and an endless curiosity for each individual’s story.

The film earned Varda her first Oscar nomination, and also the title of the oldest person to receive a nomination. The film didn’t win, but she received an honorary Oscar the same year.

“I received my honorary Oscar [in 2017] with joy and modesty. It was interesting to know that I exist as a film-maker in Hollywood, even though I never made a blockbuster.” – Interview with the Guardian

Varda didn’t care much about distinctions and accolades. She was determined to follow her passion for the common people, her cats, the beautiful beaches she loved, and even heart-shaped potatoes she used to create her surrealist installation, Patatutopia. She filled entire rooms with potatoes, and even came dressed as one!

“I see myself as a heart-shaped potato—growing again.”

She was very amused by the fact that she was a “beginner” installation artist in her late eighties, and she rejoiced in the freedom she found yet again through a new artistic pursuit.

What You Should Remember

Agnes Varda left behind a body of work that is worth exploring and (re)discovering. She was a feminist icon, trailblazer, and rebel who generously shared her unique worldview, enriching the cinematic experience with a sense of poetry and fun. She never lost her undying curiosity for the world of the mundane which she infused with a magical touch and an overflowing feeling of love.

Although she never became a household name and she never directed a blockbuster, her films are loved and shown all over the world. This mattered to her more than any award. Agnes Varda may have died, but her irreverent, punk cinema still remains. Goodbye, grande Dame Patate!

Filed under: Film History, Filmmaking

11 Iconic Dance Scenes in Film

Bust out your dancing shoes and turn on some music! In honour of International Dance Day, here are 11 of the most iconic dance scenes in film.

1. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” Dirty Dancing (1987)

The lift says it all. The most iconic image from the film comes from the dance number Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze) have been training most of the film for. While it may not be the backdrop they expected, Baby and Johnny’s final performance sparks the desire to dance in all of the assembled guests. The film ends by showing everyone in the hall enjoying themselves and dancing together.

2. “Love My Way,” Call Me By Your Name (2017)

The ‘80s backdrop and music transforms a night out into the first real moment of closeness for the main characters. Oliver’s (Armie Hammer) carefree and goofy dancing, which launched hundreds of memes and filled the hearts of the audience, prompts Elio (Timothée Chalamet) to join in. Even the song acts as a way for them to get close to each other without expressly saying it.

3. “Canned Heat,” Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

In an effort to help his best friend, Pedro, make up for a nervous, rushed speech during the high school presidential debate, Napoleon (Jon Heder) takes centre stage in front of his entire school and starts dancing. Not just any dancing, but full-body, stage-crossing disco-like moves that come out as the music takes over. It’s a dance that has been parodied many times since its release, but it’s one that garners standing ovations every time.

4. Jack Rabbit Slims Twist contest, Pulp Fiction (1994)

Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) take centre stage during a twist competition at the fictional restaurant, Jack Rabbit Slims. The somewhat improvised dance is electric, and combined with the setting, instills nostalgia for the ‘50s and old Hollywood. Thurman recently said that she was terrified of shooting this scene which would end up becoming one of the most iconic moments in the film.

5. “Old Time Rock and Roll,” Risky Business (1983)

A classic tale of a teen having free range of the house while the parents are away. Joel Goodson (Tom Cruise) pours himself a glass of whiskey, turns up the music and slides across the hardwood. The outfit alone is a classic and is a go-to look for fancy dress parties as it is minimal yet classic, much like the dance itself.

6. The Full Transformation, Black Swan (2010)

Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a committed ballerina who earns the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”. It’s a film about a woman’s descent into madness as she finally succumbs to the darkness in her mind. The dance is entrancing as she “transforms” into the black swan and it visually shows her development throughout the film.

7. “The Time Warp,” Rocky Horror (1975)

It’s just a jump to the left! From the cult classic film came “The Time Warp,” a dance that became an audience favorite during screenings as it sparks participation. “Normal kids,” Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), happen upon an old castle when their car breaks down and are ushered into a great hall where a kooky group of conventionists are dancing and singing. You’re probably just as confused as Brad and Janet are as they watch the action unfold, but you’re also intrigued. It’s a song that will inevitably get stuck in your head and make you want to join in on the dancing.

8. “Singin’ in the Rain,” Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

A Gene Kelly classic, the titular number is impressive and certifiably iconic. After getting a good night kiss from Kathy (Debbie Reynolds), Kelly’s Don Lockwood happily splashes about the puddles and dances out his feelings. It shows a man falling in love and happily singing about it as the rain falls from above.

9. “We Are Not Alone,” The Breakfast Club (1985)

A group of teenagers from different social circles is all locked in a room together for a Saturday detention. They seem to have nothing in common, but after a full day of fighting, smoking and sharing emotional secrets, they end up leaving with a new understanding of themselves and each other. The dance scene is peak ‘80s and acts as a welcome break to both the characters and audience from all the sitting around.

10. “We Go Together,” Grease (1978)

The lyrics of the song make absolutely no sense, but that doesn’t stop it from being absolutely fun. It’s the perfect (yet absolutely bizarre) ending to the coming-of-age musical. The entirety of Rydell High is brought together for the last day of school carnival and, naturally, they all burst into song and dance. It’s whacky and energetic and will have you tapping your feet along to the beat.

11. “Footloose,” Footloose (1984)

Let’s dance! The entire movie builds up to the final scene of the unofficial senior prom which Ren (Kevin Bacon) organizes in an act of rebellion to the town’s ban on music and dance. The prom turns out to be a success and it features one of the most iconic dance sequences in film.

 

Filed under: Acting, Film History, Filmmaking, NewsTagged with: , , , , , ,

Ten Reasons On The Importance Of Film Festivals

Anyone close to the organisation of Raindance will wonder; time and time again, year after year, why the tireless staff at the Film Festival subject themselves to the stress of organising this annual event. The answer is simple. We at Raindance believe strongly in the importance of film festivals.

1. Expose independent cinema to new audiences

Most of the general public are bombarded with marketing messages about mainstream movies. A good festival shows films and related content that are resistant to the commercial pressures of the standard mainstream fare. It is through independent films made by independent voices that new ideas are expressed. A great film festival champions these ideals at its core.

2.Test screenings

Over the decades we have seen many filmmakers use the platform of our festival as a test screening. They attend and canvas the audience in much the same way as commercial film production companies test screen their films. After weighing and gauging the audience reaction at a film festival screening, the filmmaker may choose to re-edit their film prior to a commercial release.

3.Marketing exercise

The importance of film festivals to a filmmaker rests in the marketing nous of the film festival they attend.

Any filmmaker, large or small, needs to raise awareness of their film. Large studios use large-budgeted public relations and marketing campaigns out of the financial reach of an independent filmmaker.

There are three ways a film festival strives to assist the filmmaker in their film’s marketing:

a. Awards
Winning an award is a great reason to put laurels on a festival poster. Of course, the stature of the festival will determine the importance of the award. But does a passerby really read which festival has awarded the film? And if the laurel comes from a prestigious festival like Raindance – wouldn’t the filmmaker make the important laurels larger? Raindance Film Festival has a wide range of awards, from its features and (OscarTM qualifying) shorts, to its dynamic Virtual Reality strand.

b. Reviews and interviews
One of the great reasons to attend a festival is to start the hype of the film. Getting local bloggers and reviewers to view and comment on a movie is one way filmmakers start the buzz about their latest projects.

c. Selling the film
Certain festivals are really good at attracting film acquisition executives and commissioning editors to their screenings. These film buyers attend hoping to discover and acquire the latest hot property before their competitors do.

4.Learning

Many festivals have engaging panel discussions and masterclasses on aspects of filmmaking. These are of interest to both filmmakers and to the general public. Events like these are a useful way to promote the filmmakers and their films, as well as to help attendees learn about what goes on behind the mysterious black curtains shrouding the film industry.

A good series of learning events at a festival will also strive to create debate about important issues facing not only filmmakers, but humanity in general. At Raindance festival past we have engaged on panel discussions on a wide range of general interest topics: everything from climate change, to racial and sexual prejudices and social injustices.

5.Networking

The film industry is a people industry. It’s not what you know, but whom!

Attending a festival with an audience of like-minded people from all walks of life is a great way to expand your circle of influence, underscoring again the importance of film festivals.

Whatever your position in the film industry, or whatever your interest in filmmaking, a film festival is a terrific place to meet new people.

6.Platform for new talent

Festivals have traditionally been the place where professionals and filmmakers alike go to spot new talent. I can remember the first time I went to a film festival in my native Toronto and was completely swept away by Jim Jarmush’s debut Stranger Than Paradise. The fact that he attended in person, adorned in black with a mop of prematurely white hair was an added bonus to his 1984 TIFF screening.

Raindance itself has championed new filmmakers like Edgar Wright, Christopher Nolan and many others since it’s launch in 1993.

7.Tourism and the local economy

Any community with a successful film festival prides itself in the artistic, cultural and commercial kudos a festival brings. For a local community, it’s not just the red carpet and all the hype surrounding a festival. It’s the jobs the festival creates, the hospitality provided to visitors and the buzz around the commercial establishments in the festival area. Not to mention the hotels, snacks and meals festival attendees use while at the festival.

With 20,000 attendees in 2018, Raindance estimates that the boost to the Central London economy to be in excess of £1,000,000. In 2019, for example, Raindance has engaged with the local businesses to amplify the festival, and to bring business to the local area of London’s Leicester Square that hosts the festival.

8. De facto theatrical release

Distribution expert Jonathan Sadler will confirm how difficult a theatrical release of an independent film has become. He has assisted many filmmakers who use the whirl of excitement surrounding their festival screening as a precursor to their home video and/or online distribution release. And why not? Film festival run in movie theatres. And it’s a great opportunity for a filmmaker to strut their stuff in front of the public. And who knows? They might win an award as well!

9.Community engagement

Film festival are a great way to unite a community. A festival can get a wide range of people to enjoy films, engage with the filmmakers, as well as celebrating the stories told with the verve and enthusiasm of the filmmakers. Festival create a sense of community, where locals mingle with visiting filmmakers and share their experiences, and react to the work they have seen.

10.Celebrate diversity

We do live in very troubled times. Polarisation is a trend best opposed. And what better way to break down prejudices than through cinema. Is it not that most of today’s troubles are caused by misunderstanding of how different people live? Or how they love, work or pay in different cultures with different religions? And what better way to break down this misunderstanding than to take an audience to these different world and show how life really is?

Why we Raindance

We love cinema at Raindance. And we love when an audience comes out form a screening feeling as if they have seen something cutting edge, or something just plain straight entertaining. Raindance is known for showcasing issues and ideas that cannot be mass-communicated due to local laws and cultural taboos. And thats why we continue, year after year, to bring the very best of independent cinema to the heart of London.

If you want to help is continue to expand our programme or our reach, please have a look at our Benefactors page , or call us on +44 (0)2 207 930 3412 for a chat.

Filed under: Documentary, Festivals, Film History, Filmmaking, Filmmaking Career, In Our Opinion, Producing, Promotion, Marketing and Distribution