The hotly anticipated line-up for our 24th Raindance Film Festival, which takes place in London’s West End from 21 September – 2 October 2016. As the largest independent film festival in Europe, we received our highest ever number of entries this year with 6250 submissions from 98 countries. We are excited to be screening 90 feature films and 85 short films across the 12 day festival, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Our Web Series strand returns for its 4th year showcasing the best in online series content, and our new immersive Virtual Reality Arcade is at the cutting edge of festival exhibition. With numerous awards, including the Discovery Award for best debut and Best Music Video, specialist Women in Film and LGBT+ strands and International, European and UK premieres, there really is something for everyone.
Raindance Founder Elliot Grove announced the programme today with musician Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol, who will be a jury member. We’ve got the best in the business to judge the best of independent cinema, as alongside him will be a host of British talent, including Stephen Fry (Wilde, V For Vendetta), Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous, The Wolf of Wall Street), Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, Harry Potter series), Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch, Attack the Block), Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies, Limitless) and Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean series, A United Kingdom).
What can you expect from the films at this year’s festival? Let’s take a closer look…
Features are the backbone of Raindance Film Festival. As filmmakers ourselves we understand how challenging and exhausting making a full feature can be, so it is only right that we celebrate those brave enough to go it alone in the world of independent cinema. We have hand selected the best of all those submitted to be nominated for the coveted titles of Best Film, Best UK Feature Film, Discover Awards for debut features, and Best Documentary Feature Film. We’re immensely excited to be screening the International premiere of Stephen Elliott’s highly praised After Adderall, and the UK premiere of journalist Craig Leeson’s thought-provoking documentary A Plastic Ocean, which looks at the devastating impact of plastic pollution on the global marine ecosystem. Alongside these two features will be countless other works of filmmaking artistry making their World, International, European and UK premieres at Raindance 2016.
Short films often showcase the most experimental and innovative work of cinema, allowing filmmakers more creative freedom. This year we are featuring a diverse range of filmmakers in our shorts category, with a twisted queer romance set in 19th Century Bohemia from Czech Republic in Peacock, and a humorous British film about a haunted oven in Pauline. Our International Short Film award includes the international premiere of A l’Arraché, while Moloch and What a Beautiful World This Will Be will both be making their UK debut at Raindance. This is the very first chance to see these spectacular shorts, so don’t miss out! Look at the nominees for UK Short Film for the best work from our homegrown talent.
This year’s festival will highlight the work of Women in Film and the LGBT+ community in two dedicated strands. Featuring films and industry panels Raindance hopes to provide a platform for these two marginalized groups by celebrating the crucial contributions they make to cinema, and encouraging opportunities for discussion on challenges they face within the industry.
The number of women working in the film industry is a huge issue, with just 13% of UK film directors being women, and less than 2% being women from BAME backgrounds. Through our Women in Film strand we will showcase the work of female directors, providing a platform for their work to be celebrated and appreciated. For many women, film is an opportunity to make a statement or give a voice to those that are often silenced. Ebony Butler’s political exposé A Brilliant Genocide looks at the unrecognised atrocities against the Acholi people in northern Uganda, while Fiona Rayher and Damien Gillis’ documentary, Fractured Land, follows a young Aboriginal lawyer working to expose the Canadian oil industry. Female directors continually defy convention and take cinema to be a rebellious political act.
The LGBT+ strand provides a unique insight into the sociopolitical issues many individuals within the community face. A hot topic given the current controversy around transgender bathroom policy in the USA, documentary Growing Up Coy is one family’s struggle for their 6 year old transgender daughter’s right to use the girls’ bathroom at school. This broad programme of films spans across genres and styles, exploring personal stories of LGBT+ characters, both factual and crafted, but all with a good dose of realness. A highlight of the strand is Margo Pelletie’s film Thirsty, which spills the Tee on the life of drag queen sensation and Cher impersonator, Thirsty Burlington.
Virtual Reality Arcade
Features and shorts are just one part of our festival programme, however. Raindance has been exploring and praising the possible applications for Virtual Reality technology in the film industry with our VR courses. For this year’s festival we are featuring the work of incredible VR and 360° filmmakers with our VR Arcade, sponsored by Lexus. From the 30th September until the 2nd October we will be hosting a packed schedule of experiences and discussions surrounding the exciting new medium. Our space at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden will be kitted out with headsets and the best films from filmmakers and teams who are redesigning the concept of cinema. At various stations you can become immersed in the unique experience of seeking a legal abortion in the conflicted and tumultuous environment of America in Across the Line, or go Inside the Box of Kurios to explore a Cirque du Soleil performance in 360° where you become the director.
Raindance’s Web Series strand continues to be an industry leader in showcasing the work of the online video industry. As an easily accessible platform, filmmakers are increasingly looking to the online community for opportunities to show their work. In our fourth year, we are excited to again showcase the best web series at our festival and celebrate achievements with our Independent Series Awards. These span two awards categories, UK Web Series and International Web Series. Those nominated range from an improvised comedy mockumentary series in Rich Keeble Vanity Project, to a horror anthology in which gory death is essential in 20 Seconds to Live. These masters of web series will inspire current and future filmmakers to branch out into alternative platforms and practices.
So that’s what you can expect to see at Raindance Film Festival 2016. But we also have uniquely crafted events, masterclasses, seminars and panels for filmmakers to hone their skills and grow their network. Our special Raindance Film Festival Boozin’ N’ Schmoozin’ on 26th September at Century Club is not to be missed, whether you are a filmmaker looking for collaborators on a future project, or a film-lover searching for some cine-banter amongst some like-minded pals.
Guillermo Arriaga Masterclass
After the success of last year’s Masterclass, Guillermo Arriaga will be returning to the Raindance Film Festival to share his experiences as a screenwriter and lead a 2 day intense course exploring story, structure, character, scene design and more – the perfect cocktail for an Oscar and BAFTA nominated screenplay. The Mexican writer has collaborated with director Alejandro G. Iñárritu and actor Gael García Bernal so you’ll be learning from the absolute best.
UK / Ibero-American Co-Production Forum
This year’s Co-Production Forum will focus on the relationship between the UK and the Ibero-American film industries. In collaboration with the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) the forum will feature workshops, panels, seminars and events which encourage production partnership across the ocean.
But it doesn’t end there! Stay locked in to the Raindance blog, Twitter and Facebook for all upcoming announcements for Raindance Film Festival 2016, including our Opening & Closing Night galas, Music strand, full Co-Production and Industry Days forums and additional Jury members.
IN COMPETITION FEATURE FILMS
The Violin Player, dir. Bauddhayan Mukherji (India) [UK Premiere]
Jules and Dolores, dir. Caito Ortiz (Brazil) [UK Premiere]
A Double Life, dir. Yoshiyuki Kishi (Japan) [European Premiere]
Train Driver’s Diary, dir. Milos Radovic (Serbia/Croatia) [UK Premiere}
Hortensia, dir. Diego Lublinsky, Álvaro Urtizberea (Argentina) [UK Premiere]
Between Us, dir. Rafael Palacio Illingworth (USA) [UK Premiere]
After Adderall, dir. Stephen Elliott (USA) [International Premiere]
The Shepherd (El Pastor), dir. Jonathan Cenzual Burley (Spain)
Panamerican Machinery, dir. Joaquin Del Paso (Mexico) [UK Premiere]
Hotel Dallas, dir. Livia Ungur, Sherng-Lee Huang (Romania/USA) [UK Premiere]
BEST UK FEATURE
Long Forgotten Fields, dir. Jon Stanford [World Premiere]
For Grace, dir. Sebastian Armesto [UK Premiere]
Gozo, dir. Miranda Bowen (UK/Malta) [European Premiere]
AmStarDam, dir. The Lennox Brothers [UK Premiere]
Five Days on Lesvos, dir. Richard Wyllie [World Premiere]
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Growing Up Coy, dir. Eric Juhola (USA) [European Premiere]
A Plastic Ocean, dir. Craig Leeson (UK/Hong Kong/USA) [UK Premiere]
A Brilliant Genocide, dir. Ebony Butler (Australia) [UK Premiere]
Off The Rails, dir. Adam Irving (USA/Canada) [European Premiere]
Death By A Thousand Cuts, dir. Juan Mejia Botero, Jake Kheel (USA/Dominican Republic) [European Premiere]
BEST FEATURE DEBUT
Dusky Paradise, dir. Gregory Kirchhoff (Germany) [UK Premiere]
Her Composition, dir. Stephan Littger (USA/Germany) [UK Premiere]
The Farm, dir. Angel Manuel Soto (Puerto Rico) [UK Premiere]
The Habit of Beauty, dir. Mirko Pincelli (UK/Italy) [UK Premiere]
BEST SHORT FILM
A l’Arraché (Snatched), dir. Emmanuelle Nicot (Belgium) [International Premiere]
Furiant (Peacock), dir. Ond?ej Hude?ek, (Czech Republic)
Moloch, dir. Szymon Kapeniak (Poland/ Ukraine) [UK Premiere]
Seide, dir. Elnura Osmonalieva (Kyrgyzstan)
What a Beautiful World This Will Be, dir. Tyler Walker (USA) [UK Premiere]
BEST UK SHORT FILM
Balcony, dir. Toby Fell-Holden
Dunroamin, dir. Oliver S. Milburn
Healey’s House, dir. Rob Savage [World Premiere]
Pauline, dir. Fred Rowson
You are Awake, dir. Pedro Martin-Calebro
BEST UK WEB SERIES
Blood, Sweat & Chokes, dir. Sol Rikweda
Ren: The Girl with the Mark, dir. Kate Madison
Rich Keeble Vanity Project, dir. Rich Keeble/Sam LeGassick/ Edd Wright
Shield 5, dir. Anthony Wilcox
S- Band, Hannah George
BEST INTERNATIONAL WEB SERIES
20 Seconds to Live, dir. Ben Rock (USA)
Discocalypse, dir. Dirk Rosenloecher (Germany)
Il Sonnambulo, dir. Hannah & Douglas Rath (UK/USA)
The Fourth Door, dir. Tony E. Valenzuela (USA)
Young Graduate, dir. Shannon Renaudeau/ Florent Sabatier (France)
Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, Oscar Raby, produced by the BBC (UK)
Home – An Immersive Spacewalk Experience, Kate Bartlett and Tom Burton, produced the BBC (UK)
The Turning Forest, Oscar Raby, produced by the BBC (UK)
The Rose and I, Eugene Chung (USA)
In My Shoes: Dancing With Myself, Jane Gauntlett (UK)
Across the Line, Nonny de la Peña (USA)
6X9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement, Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton, produced by the Guardian (UK)
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness, Arnaud Colinart, Amaury La Burthe, Peter Middleton and James Spinney (UK/France)
Inside the Box of Kurios, Paul Raphael and Félix Lajeunesse (Canada)
Tomorrow, Future Lighthouse (Spain)
CTRL, Breaking Fourth (UK)
RecoVR: Mosul, Visualise Films, commissioned by the Economist (UK)
Invisible, Darren Emerson (UK)
Witness 360: 7/7, Darren Emerson (UK)
Tickets for all screenings and events at Raindance Film Festival will go on sale at noon on 1 September 2016. For more information, please visit www.raindancefestival.org/