The Filmmaking Trends You Need to Know in 2017 - Raindance

2016 has been a bumpy year. (It’s no surprise, I still like euphemisms as much as I did same time last year.) 2017 seems equally daunting, news-wise.

But filmmaking-wise? Meh. 2016 hasn’t been bad, really. We’ve had some amazing events at Raindance, all the way to the BIFAs a few weeks away. And there’s plenty more where that can from in the next twelve months. You can attend our Taster Day in January to get an idea of what the full Raindance experience is like.

The main question you may be asking yourself right now, though, is “but where is it at?” I hear you. We all want to know what the next big thing is, and especially in such a competitive market as film, we want to be the first one riding that wave no one saw coming.

Look no further. JWT put together their annual list of trends for the next year, The Future 100.

Here’s the ones you should absolutely be aware of and start surfing on.

#03 – Untabooing womanhood

Pair this with #04 Post-women’s interest media and #33 Age of the single lady

This one has been brewing for a while -some may say, since the dawn of time. The past few years have since the rise of more better female characters onscreen all the way to the point of having two films this year branded “post-feminist” (both of which have been shut out of the best foreign film Oscar race, incidentally). We’re in the age of female characters not necessarily being “liberated” or “vehemently independent”: they just had to be, beyond the now tired trope of being a “strong female character”. And we’re all the better for it. There are so many awesome characters and works we have yet to see.

#06 – Generation Z arts platform

Along with #08 – The attention economy

Each generation has quirks that their elders are trying to come to terms with. I’m supposed to be of the Y generation and I don’t get my cousin who’s four years younger than me when she talks. (Seriously, it’s going to be a problem over Christmas.) However, the newer generations, today’s teens, embrace digital like no one ever before, the new platforms and the new means of communications -and take them to new heights. Some call it oversharing, they call it building an audience. Some call it pandering, they call it a successful crowdfunding campaign. In doing so, they develop new ways of communicating and expressing themselves -and these are available to the disenfranchised, those that are on the fringes of the world. The world is opening up and we need to embrace it.

#10 – Diverse Hollywood

Embracing the “politically correct”? Call it what you like, Hollywood is catching up in terms of representation. The latest Star Wars instalment was led by a woman, and its main supporting cast was made of Asian, African American and Caucasian actors. (Obviously, there was some backlash, because how can it be that a galaxy far far away, a long time ago, has better representation than we do.) Hollywood is not there yet, as this year also saw the backlash over the casting of Tilda Swinton as an Asian character in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. But the wave of indie films improving representation (including the BIFA-winning Moonlight) and the new measures announced by BAFTA are definitely pointing in the right direction.

#36 – Unexpected platform tie-ups

And #37 – Political consumers

You’ve got to go after the money where it is available. Corporations have a lot of money to put in branding activities that will extend brand recognition. A fashion show sponsored by a porn site? Why not. (Yes it happened.) Grindr sponsoring a fund for LGBT athletes? After a double take, it makes sense. These brands have users. And guess what, the younger audiences don’t want to be considered passive. They are active, they’re here, and they want to be engaged. We’ll wait for an okay film to be on Netflix, but we’ll make sure we’ll turn up for that documentary on climate change or to support Moonlight once it opens. You bet. We’ll make a stand by the way we consume things. Some films want to be sanitised and not offend anyone? We’ll go the other way. Trump is going to be the US President, and we felt the Bern. People want to be engaged. The more creatively and unexpectedly, the better.

#82 – Future Hollywood

And #15 – Augmented Reality Evolves & #VR ads

Talking of unexpected, creative engagement: here’s a trend that Hollywood is embracing and every filmmaker should do the same: embrace technology. We’ve seen a lot this year with VR seriously taking off, Augmented Reality being all the rage when PokémonGo was released… It seems that technology and craftsmanship are being reunited with art and artistry. These new technologies are here to be brought to the next level, made better, and engage us with new stories told in new ways. You can start by creating a small VR experience to promote the film you made on £5k. You can develop a transmedia story. You can do anything, and that’s what’s exciting.

Happy new year

Those are just a few of the trends you should be aware of and should be making the most of in the 12 months to come. There’s a lot more (check the report here). That’s a good place to start. Make your resolutions. Build the future of creative endeavours. Make more films, better films. Happy filmmaking!



Baptiste is a writer hailing from the part of France where it is always sunny. After a stint in politics and earning his Master's Degree in Management, he was a marketing intern for the 23rd Raindance Film Festival in 2015, then joined the team permanently in 2016 as the Registrar of the MA in Filmmaking. He is passionate about diversity in film, which he researches and writes about extensively. He is the producer of the hit webseries "Netflix & Kill" and the multi-award-winning short film "Alder", as well as a writer for stage and screen. His short film "U Up?" is currently in pre-production.