The Raindance Film Festival returned to London 18-29 September for its 27th edition. Against a backdrop of divisive politics and global turmoil, Raindance uses the medium of cinema to amplify the voice of indie filmmakers with compelling stories to tell. Whether it’s honest narratives from trans people, exposing environmental crimes, or tales of vulnerable individuals forced by fate to make risky choices, Raindance is a champion of the underdog, the marginalised, and the independently minded. With features, documentaries, short films, industry events and immersive VR experiences, Raindance is a place to see the kind of fascinating, multi-faceted characters who thrive in today’s crazy world of indie film. The 27th Raindance Film Festival included 92 feature films, with 13 World Premieres, 10 International Premieres, 9 European Premieres and 54 UK premieres. The programme also included 108 short films, 19 music videos, and 30 VR experiences.
Despite Brexit uncertainty, we brought the boldest and freshest talent from the world of indie filmmaking to the heart of London. Raindance is proud to have a global vision, not a narrow one, and this year’s festival had an incredible range of stories from Britain and across the world. And remember that Raindance means Raindance.
We look forward to welcoming you back in 2020.
Raindance Film Festival | The British Independent Film Awards
“This leading indie festival has become our homegrown answer to Sundance”
Metro newspaper: “5 UK film festivals to fit in this year”
“Simply the best chance to see some of the most interesting independent cinema”
“Annual celebration of all things indie”
“Some of the most exciting and pioneering indie filmmakers around”
GQ, #2 in “10 coolest things to do in London this week”
“Forget Sundance, we’re all about Raindance”
Evening Standard, ES Magazine
RAINDANCE ICON AWARD – OLIVIA COLMAN
Hosted by the May Fair Hotel, supported by Heart of London Business Alliance, Two Keys Mixers and Tequila Patrón
The inaugural Raindance Icon Award was awarded to Academy Award and BAFTA winning actress Olivia Colman. The Raindance Icon Award is a natural evolution of Raindance’s Auteur Award, whose past recipients were directors Terry Gilliam, Guy Richie and Ken Loach. Renamed the Raindance Icon Award, this annual award now has a broader mandate to honour and celebrate the true icons of independent film: the men and women who have made an enduring impression via the medium of film.
“Raindance has reigned over Britain’s independent film scene for 27 years. Many of our industry’s most important voices have been amplified because of Raindance, and it remains a place where non-mainstream stories can be told, and where underdogs can flourish. I’m incredibly proud to be the recipient of the Raindance Icon Award.”
Special guests included Raindance 2019 Jurors Ella Balinska (top left, photo by Roger Alarcon), Hugh Skinner (top right, photo by Bertie Watson), Kacey Ainsworth (bottom left, photo by Bertie Watson) and Josh Dylan (bottom right, photo by Roger Alarcon), as well as Ed Skrein, Susan Wokoma, Chloe Pirrie, Janna Vanderham and Sadie Frost among others.
The event was preceded by the Programme Launch at Vue West End, in Leicester Square, with the nominees being presented by Raindance 2019 Juror Susan Wokoma.
RAINDANCE OPENING GALA
Supported by Lumix, Telefilm Canada, Vue, The Telegraph, Bulmers, Two Keys Mixers, Theodore Gin, and Heart of London Business Alliance
The 27th Raindance Film Festival launched in London with the exclusive World Premiere of KROW’S TRANSFORMATION, followed by a Q&A with Director Gina Hole Lazarowich and the main subjects, Krow Kian, Kas Baker, Emily Seal, and Ashton Sciacallo, hosted by The Telegraph. This took place at the Vue West End, in Leicester Square.
A successful female model as a teen, the film charts Krow’s transition over a 3-year period, including Krow walking the catwalk for Louis Vuitton’s iconic SS19 show in Paris – his first show since transitioning to a male.
The premiere was followed by after party at Café de Paris, celebrating independent cinema with a live performances by Winter Youth, who are subjects in the film, as well as Guilty Pleasures, with a selection of their all-time hits.
Photos by Charlotte Lake
RAINDANCE INDUSTRY FORUM
The Raindance Industry Forum returned for 2019, showcasing quality events on every single day of the festival. Highlights included Masterclasses on Cinematography, Casting, and Writing for Indie Horror. We had two LIVE Podcast Recordings with leading industry figures, and a special partnered event with high end talent from GERMAN FILMS.
Never shying away from the political, we also hosted a series of conversations that look critically at our industry, striving away from the theoretical, and looking at practical, actionable advice on what needs to change.
We also welcomed back crowd-favourite Raindance events such as the LIVE AMMO! film pitching event, Boozin’ & Schmoozin’, and Anatomy of a Reel.
Notable Industry speakers and guests included representatives from companies such as Sony Music, Stamp Audio, ScreenSkills, King’s College London, FilmDoo, Mandy, Peccadillo Pictures, The Tip Off Podcast, BAFTA, Festival Formula, Industry Minds, ITV Restoration, Sociograph, BBC Writers’ Room, Dreamax Media, BBC, and Vue Entertainment.
LONDON TV PITCHBOX
In Partnership with Filmarket Hub
Another special event worthy of mention is the London TV Pitchbox. The second UK edition of Filmarket Hub’s pitching event was a great success, including high profile guests from AMP International, Euston Films, Evolutionary Films, Ingenious, NBCUniversal, Rocliffe Productions, Ruby Rock Pictures, Salon Pictures, Sky,Wild Bunch TV, Working Title Television and World Productions.
Special guest Peter Harness opened the event with a case study based on his experience writing on top shows such as ‘Doctor Who’, ‘McMafia’, ‘Wallander’ and the upcoming BBC Mini-series ‘The War of the Worlds’.
Photos by Marie-Helene Junker.
SPECIAL GUEST CONTINENT: EUROPE
This year’s festival image was a linear reinterpretation of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus – a symbol of love and beauty, but equally defiant and empowered. That’s because in the year of Brexit, Raindance’s continent focus was Europe, with an emphasis on strong and empowered European women in the EU Female Gaze strand. Key titles included LUNA, a dark coming-of-age tale, AURORA, a romantic, melancholy comedy, and EMMA PEETERS, and independent comedy with a lighter shade of dark.
The guest continent was also reflected in the festival trailer, a political satire titled Raindance Means Raindance. The trailer is set in a dystopian London in 2023, a city torn apart by no deal Brexit. Only one fragment of civilisation remains in this ghost city – the 2023 Raindance Film Festival.
Europe was also present in the Industry Forum with the German Films collaboration TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN, a cross-comparison of up-and-coming British and German talent, with participants including actors Maria Dragus and Christian Friedel, and director Anca Miruna Lazarescu.
In partnership with Bose
Raindance Immersive, in partnership with Bose, showcased this year’s selection of 29 Immersive experiences, 10 of which had their world premiere at Raindance. The gallery, hosted at OXO2 in London’s Southbank, included Mixed Reality (MR) experiences, multi-person VR experiences, Immersive Games, VR animations and curated mobile playlists showcasing 360° films.
Highlights of the gallery included COSMOS WITHIN US (Winner of the Spirit of Raindance: Best Immersive Experience of the Festival award), a room-scale VR experience that mixes immersive soundscapes with scent and touch, the UK premiere of GLOOMY EYES (Winner of the Artistic Achievement and Audio Achievement awards) starring Colin Farrel, and A BOX IN THE DESERT (Winner of the Best Interactive Narrative Experience award), an interactive theatre performance with live actors in VR. With 10 award categories to recognise creative excellence and technical achievement, Raindance is only festival in Britain to celebrate XR on such a large scale.
Festival-goers were also able to try innovative audio AR experiences created by the Bose AR community, showcasing the power of Bose AR-enabled products such as Bose Frames, Bose Headphones 700 and QC35 headphones II.
Nominees came together to discuss their work at the Raindance Immersive Stories Summit, the annual symposium of eye-opening talks and panel discussions, shining the spotlight on leading creators and new voices and including a keynote speech by Matt Neutra, Lead Experience Engineer at Bose.
Photos by Charlotte Lake.
EMERGING FILMMAKERS’ DAY
In Partnership with De Montfort University
We hosted the second edition of the Raindance Emerging Filmmakers’ Day offering a full day of free events for young filmmakers hungry for that insider knowledge on how films get made. The programme included a special presentation by Raindance Postgraduate partner institution De Montfort University, a Freelance 101 session by The Freelance Circle, and a Pitching Skills talk by our very own Elliot Grove.
We were also honoured to welcome award-winning actor Ed Skrein (Deadopool, Game of Thrones, left photo below) as our very special guest speaker!
The event ended with attendees being able to watch free film screenings and workshops, choosing between award-nominated films from the Raindance Festival programme and special Bose AR Masterclass.
RAINDANCE HIGHER EDUCATION DAY
This year, Raindance Higher Education extended its festival presence with a whole day of screenings of film made by our students, reflecting the full breadth of their work and talent. Students from Raindance’s two Higher National Diploma programmes (HND in Film and HND in Acting & Filmmaking) presented a selection of their work in three showcases, ranging from documentary to narrative shorts.
In the MA Showcase, students in the Raindance Postgraduate Degree in Film presented films made as part of their curricular. Every student gets to designed their own learning pathway, and each film reflects the variety of interest and international background of their creators. Representatives from De Montfort University, partner university of Raindance Postgraduate, were also in attendance.
CLOSING NIGHT GALA
Supported by German Films, Bulmers, Green and Blacks and Dalston’s
The 27th edition of the festival ended with a screening of closing night film AREN’T YOU HAPPY? – a postmodern comedy in pink and blue by first-time feature film director Susanne Heinrich, who was in attendance for a Q&A after the screening.
Festival attendees celebrated the end of the festival with a Closing Night Party at the stunning OXO2 in the Oxo Tower Wharf, surrounded by breathtaking views over London and the river Thames.
Sponsored by Stamp Audio
To recognise the outstanding achievements of the filmmakers showcased at the 27th Raindance Film Festival, 10 jury prizes were awarded to features and 5 to shorts/music videos at the Raindance Awards Ceremony. Feature winners were awarded a share of CDN $100,000 in audio and music post-production prizes, provided by STAMP AUDIO as part of its continuing Filmmaker Grant Initiative. And as of this year, Raindance is a triple Oscar qualifying festival: the recipients of 3 of the shorts awards are eligible for consideration in the Short Film category of the Academy Awards®.
Powerful documentaries BY THE NAME OF TANIA, ON THE PRESIDENT’S ORDERS, PLATFORM, WHO MADE YOU? triumphed at the festival by winning Best International Feature, Best UK Feature, Discovery Award and Best Documentary Feature respectively.
Written, directed and starring Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder, triple F-Rated feature THE PLANTERS was named Film Of The Festival.
Director Steve Krikris won for THE WAITER, with further awards for ALICE (Spirit of the Festival Award), THE MAN WHO SURPRISED EVERYONE (Best Performance), THE REAL THING: REAL LIFE IN FAKE CITIES (Best Cinematography), ERASED (Best Screenplay).
Amongst the shorts, BROTHERHOOD was awarded Short of the Festival.
Photos by Charlotte Lake
Developed by FilmBath and now expanding across the UK, the F-Rating is a new film rating which highlights films made by and featuring women.
We adopted the F-Rating system for the second year in a row because we are committed to all aspects of inclusion both in front of the screen and behind the camera. In 2018, we were the first top 50 Film Festival to do so. We aim to support and promote women and redress the imbalance in the film industry.
More than 60 titles in the programme, ranging from shorts and documentaries to full-length narrative features, have been given the rating. The F is given to any film written by a woman or directed by a woman. Any film that meets both criteria and features women in significant on-screen roles is awarded a Triple F-Rating.
Over one-third of this year’s features were F-rated (30 films, up from 27 in 2018), including the F-rated opening night film, and the Triple F-rated closing night film. F-rated shorts have increased from 35 in 2018 to 58 this year.
F-rated films triumphed at the festival awards, including triple F-rated film THE PLANTERS, and F-rated documentaries BY THE NAME OF TANIA, WHO MADE YOU?, and PLATFORM.
RAINDANCE FILM FESTIVAL APP
In Partnership With Greencopper
Raindance was pleased to partner with Greencopper for the second year in a row in order to develop a cutting edge film festival app which is an important part of Raindance’s continuing effort to cut down on paper waste. We are proud of being the first film festival that Greencopper has collaborated with and have decided to continue our work with them for 2019 in order to bring our community of filmmakers and members another innovative and easy way to be informed about our ongoing schedule of courses and events.
From top left: Olivia Colman (The Crown, photo by Roger Alarcon), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, photo by Roger Alarcon), Tom Felton (Harry Potter, photo by Bertie Watson), Tanya Burr (Youtuber, photo by Roger Alarcon), Sadie Frost (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, photo by Roger Alarcon), Chloe Pirrie (Troy: Fall of a City, photo by Bertie Watson), Dominique Moore (Horrible Histories, photo by Bertie Watson), Susan Wokoma (Chewing Gum, photo by Roger Alarcon), Joanna Vanderham (Warrior, photo by Roger Alarcon), Ed Skrein (Deadpool, photo by Bertie Watson), Victoria Yeates (Call the Midwife, photo by Bertie Watson), Craig Roberts (Submarine, photo by Roger Alarcon), Greta Bellamacina (director, Hurt by Paradise, photo by Roger Alarcon), Nathaniel Martello-White (director, Cla’am, photo by Bertie Watson), Jasmine Jobson (Top Boy, photo by Bertie Watson), Mike Edmonds (Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, photo by Roger Alarcon).