Tag: independent film

Independent Film in the Age of Netflix

Our 2019 Crowdfunding Campaign is based on the idea that “you always remember you first” – the first indie film experience that turned us into film lovers and filmmakers, and that would like to share with young audiences to spark their interest in indie film. We’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be cult indie films (from Pulp Fiction to , and in doing so we’ve accumulated a variety of questions about what independent film is and what it means to us. Also, what does it mean in this age of streaming services like Netflix? Though it’s a passion of ours, we too find these questions difficult from time to time.

Award Qualification

Technically, an independent film is one that is made without the funding of a major motion picture studio based out of Hollywood. According to the British Independent Film Awards website, these companies are 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, Amazon, and Netflix. Assumably, funding from these companies might call for disqualification. However, BIFA does not disqualify films funded by these films if the budget is under 20 million or if the film is made in their studio, but instead assess individually.

What if it is nominated or wins a Film Independent Spirit Award? As an organization that recognises achievement in independent film, are there the same expectations of what qualifies a film as independent? According to the FISA website, the awards committee judges what makes a film ‘independent’ by meeting the following criteria: uniqueness of vision, original/provocative subject matter, economy of means, and percentage of financing from independent sources. Like BIFA, however, the financing of a film by a major studio may still be considered if the subject is of an original or provocative matter.

These qualifications fuel controversy in the film industry of what the true definition of an independent film actually is. Some, like the awards above, believe the qualifications have limits. If finances fall under a certain number, Hollywood studios can assist in production. Others feel that any involvement from major studios strips a film from its independent worth. Artistic vision cannot be bought, and should be left up to the independent artists whom fund the film themselves. Independent film simply does not have a single connotation.

Streaming Services

In the era we live in, there’s no denying the power streaming services have created. Theatrical releases are in jeopardy, and qualifications for major awards ceremonies are beginning to shift. This new approach to the cinematic experience has some cinephiles up-in-arms, worried that this is contributing to the death of indie film.

According to an article from Deadline, streaming sites are not to blame for a decline in cinema goers, but praised for expanding the marketplace. In discussion of the controversial release of Roma on Netflix, Deadline spoke to director Alfonso Curaón about his opinions on streaming and the effects it had on his film:

[Cuarón] ‘exclaimed that he has the best of both worlds in Netflix’s handling of Roma,’ he said. ‘They’ve made the movie available in theaters with Dolby Atmos and 70MM theaters as well as to their 139M subscribers, an anomaly for a black and white foreign language title [that normally] would have been challenged at the box office. Roma’s win is a triumph of art over commerce.’ Whether or not you agree with Curaón, what is worth mentioning is the effect that a streaming service like Netflix has done for an independent film such as Roma. Though it challenged both cinematic and award ceremony standards with a limited theatrical release, the film excelled eventually taking home three Oscars.

Not everyone supports the marriage of independent film and streaming, of course. In an article from The Ringer titled ‘The End of Independent Film As We Know It’, the conversation of streaming services’ involvement in the independent film market is a toxic one. The article claims indie film faces huge interruption from streaming kings like Netflix and Amazon, bringing the future of film into question. Film festivals are what was originally used to market indie film, and now distributers have taken it to the internet. The author cites:

‘Film festivals that screen these movies were once the bastion for work created beyond the perception of Hollywood’s studio structures . Today, a movie that has been bought, paid for, and strategized against a global calendar by a massive public company is dissonant with the spirit of independent movies.’

What It Means To Us

The definition of independent film is a tricky one that comes with layers. Some may feel that studio backing is acceptable if limited, while others may feel that they should be alleviated from the category all together. Whatever the case may be, independent film will always be what matters most at Raindance. We support filmmakers’ stories being told, and appreciate how they get there. Though a topic that may never reach a singular resolution, it is one that deserves conversation regardless. What does independent film mean to you?

Filed under: Filmmaking, Filmmaking Career, Promotion, Marketing and DistributionTagged with: , , , ,

6 Reasons To Attend The Independent Filmmakers’ Ball

Filmmaking can sometimes lead to the depths of isolation. Every waking moment is spent chained to a never-ending film project. The inability to edit one’s own life is undeniably frustrating. Unshakeable focus and unwavering passion can generate feelings of captivity.

This solitary darkness can be soothing to the artistic soul, for sure.

You know what else is good for the artist? A colossal party brimming with fellow film enthusiasts. But where on earth would you find all these film lovers under the same roof at the same time?

On Wednesday 1st May, Raindance is throwing you a party: The Independent Filmmaker’s Ball.

Put on your best threads, leave your basement and join us for a night of frivolous tomfoolery designed to support and acknowledge Independent Film.

If you still need some prying away from all that hard work, here is a list of five reasons to join us.

1. Networking/Cannes

If you are amused by people who find film trivia too abstract or people who find commentary on every feature/short/documentary/Game of Thrones episode irritating beyond belief, fear not! We have rustled up a space for you and your fellow film aficionados to join together to talk about all things film. If you’ve been banned from speaking at the dinner table then welcome to your arena of adoring listeners.

If you are one of the lucky few who hasn’t managed to offend your friends/family/colleagues/pets with your inane film chatter, of course, you are also welcome.

There is also Cannes to think of. If you are heading off to France in a couple of weeks time and would like to make some allies on home ground before the departure, this could be the time. Alternatively, if you want to forge the path for years to come or meet some British filmmakers who are a part of Cannes, the Independent Filmmaker’s Ball is a great night for making friends.

2. Raffle

As well as throwing you a great big old party, we’re going to give you some things as well.

At the Independent Ball, there will be a raffle with prizes from some of the top companies in the film business, totalling over £7,000! There will be some lovely people wandering around at the beginning of the evening selling tickets for the raffle. Find out about the prizes here.

3. Fundraising

Proceeds from the raffle will go to Emerging Filmmaker’s Day at the 27th Raindance Film Festival. Launched in 2018 as a day of free events aimed at 18 to 25 year-old filmmakers, the aim is to expand the initiative to a programme of free events across the 2019 edition of the festival, including masterclasses, workshops with industry experts, networking sessions and free screenings of cult indie films.

Last year’s Emerging Filmmaker’s Day included a screening and Q&A organised by VICE Film School, a Pitching Skills class with Raindance Founder Elliot Grove, and special guest Amanda Seyfried, who presented her recent short Holy Moses.

4. The Party

Everyone loves a party, especially one that is held at one of the most famous entertainment venues in London: Café de Paris. Everyone knows that the film industry has the best parties, and everyone knows that Raindance has the best parties in the film industry because we’re not snooty.

Louise Brooks made history when she worked at the Café de Paris in December 1924, introducing the Charleston to London. Other famous guests have included Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly.

Look at the guest list!

Guest List

Special guests may include:

Let’s make new history on the 1st May!

5. The Band

Live Act by Natty Congeroo & The Flames of Rhythm

Get set to be blown away by DJ, singer and frontman Natty Congeroo & The Flames of Rhythm. A sizzling sextet of killer diller thrillers, mixing red hot swing, jazz, rhythm & blues, this is the live show that’ll have hands clappin’ & feet tappin’!

6. The Theme

Fitting perfectly with the venue, this year’s ball is back for a swing-era special, inspired by 1930s and ’40s musicals – think Broadway Melody and Top Hat, or more contemporary reinterpretations such as La La Land. Get some outfit ideas here, and make sure to add these classic musicals to your viewing list.

What are you waiting for?
Buy your tickets before it’s too late!

Filed under: Filmmaking, Raindance Film FestivalTagged with: , , , ,

10 Feminist Film Festivals To Follow

On the first day of my internship here at Raindance Film Festival I was asked to write an article so I thought I would focus on my feminist side. As a Mexican Woman, I am not only looking for a feminist film festival, but for a festival that wants to create change in societies that need it the most, and that maintain true to their main beliefs. It is difficult to know how to judge a film festival, however all of these festivals stay true to their feminist viewpoints and help independent filmmakers around the world that have been underrepresented. As I am organising a feminist film festival in London and these is the list of festivals that I look up to.

This has an important year for women in film, from Hollywood where the heart of the industry is changing to give a voice to women, to every movement that now stretched around the world to stop normalising the abuse of women in the film industry. Most of all I believe this is how film and festivals should be used, to create a movement and develop new perspectives in their viewers.

These festivals have all focused on creating recognition for women behind the camera. In the film industry women around the world have been fighting for the chance to create what they believe in. All these festivals have have started a revolution in Film. They have spread the work of women that are worth watching and listening to. Especially relevant is the fact that no matter how big these Festivals, each one of them has began to create a change for all women around the world. They are one step closer to creating a change in women’s rights. There is no ranking within this list, all these festivals are worth following and if possible going to check them out.

Here is the list of Festivals I made, enjoy:

1) Cineffable (c.1989)

Cineffable is focused on presenting films made by Feminists and Lesbians. It has been going on for almost 30 years and they present over 50 screenings every year. They present films in French and English. MARCH

2) Women in Film and Television Vancouver (c.1989)

Created by women filmmakers, this film festival focuses on not only presenting films made by upcoming women filmmakers but it also educates them to go further. In addition this festival created an education center that focuses on getting education for indigenous women. MARCH

3) Feminale (c.1984)

Based in Dortmund and Cologne, this festival accepts films from all over the world and gives studying opportunities. Their prices vary in different amounts of money and most of the viewers are important people within the film industry. The festival looks for interesting feminist, political and social views within film.This festival is especially relevant because it is one of the few that have an audience of renowned filmmakers.  APRIL

4) African American Women in Cinema (1998)

Based in New York, the festival focuses on presenting films made by African American Women. The festival is one of the largest and feminist film festivals in the USA and one of the few focused on African American women. It has created a big change for female jobs in film. MARCH

5) London Feminist Film Festival (2013)

A small London-based festival that focuses on presenting films made by upcoming international women directors. Presents short films, documentaries, short documentaries and fiction films. The festival is completely volunteer run. The main focus is to create a movement and help women that have just began in the industry and have been underrepresented. Presenting films from all over the world no matter what language or background. AUGUST

6) Seoul International Women’s Film Festival (1997)

This is one of the most renowned feminist festivals in the world. It has given the opportunity to many female Korean filmmakers to study and create their projects. Not only that but it is very passionate and true about their beliefs to change women’s rights. As a result it has become a forefront to discovering female filmmakers in Asia. SEPTEMBER

7) Femcine (2016)

A film festival based in Chile. It has a very passionate group of people looking for a change within the industry. The Festival focuses on presenting documentaries from all over the world. It is a very politically charged group with a clear aim. In addition this festival is one of the most renowned one’s in Latin America. MARCH

8) Davis Feminist Film Festival (2005)

Focuses on underrepresented artists and particularly women and people of colour to raise consciousness about gender, race, class, sexuality, and other dimensions of social inequality. They look for films that will link together art and social issues. This festival presents films for free as a result they teach about feminism and many political opinions through film. AUTUMN

9) Chicago Feminist Film Festival (2016)

The Chicago Feminist Film Festival showcases independent, international film, predominantly shorts, spanning documentary, fiction, and experimental genres, and aims to address issues of gender, sexuality, race, and other forms of inequality often missing from mainstream media. This festival has been going on only for two years but it already has a strong presence therefore it is one to follow.  MARCH

10) Cascadia Film Festival (2002)

This Festival created by an ex-academy award president is presented in Bellingham WA. The festival contains a variety of films from all over the world with an incredible quality and level. The festival contains talks and appearances of some of the most prestigious women in the film industry. APRIL

These Film Festivals are opening new doors for women by putting together film and feminist.  I have chosen these Festivals because they are still fighting for their feminist believes and they are more radical, actively trying to make a change. Hope this list gives everyone something to think about. If anyone is interested here is a list of 90 more Feminist Film Festivals around the world. Lets change the Film industry and create equality within it.

Filed under: Festivals, Promotion, Marketing and Distribution, UncategorizedTagged with: , , , , , , ,

How to Pitch Your Project

So, you’ve got a great idea for your next film. You’ve got your characters and plot details all thought out. You can see it all clearly in your head, but as soon as you run into the person who can make it a reality, you freeze. Your moment to pitch your great idea is gone with the closing of the elevator door. Pitching can be stressful, but it’s one of the most important things to master in the world of filmmaking. All films start with a pitch, so it’s a skill worth sharpening. No matter where you are or who you are pitching to, here are some tips to make your pitch perfect:

1. Create a Connection

Make sure that you create some sort of connection with the person you are pitching to before you jump right in. If you succeed in pitching your idea, you will be working with this person. Get to know them a little bit and try to see if they may actually be interested. Don’t waste your time if they are avoiding you and staring into their phone screen.

2. Keep it Short and Sweet

You may only have one shot to pitch your idea, so don’t lose the interest of the person you’re pitching to! Be descriptive, but use keywords to keep things concise. Think of your pitch like a rich piece of chocolate. You want it to be delicious and memorable but not overwhelming. If it’s too sweet, it may upset the person’s stomach.

3. Preparation is Key

If the person you are pitching to is interested, they will ask questions. This is a great sign because it shows they were following your idea and want to hear about it more. Have an answer and be prepared to clarify anything that may seem confusing or incomplete. It’s your idea, after all, so make sure you really know it well.

4. Get Them Hooked

If someone came up to you and just started droning on and on about something in a monotone, unenthused tone, would you be interested in what they had to say? Of course not! Being excited about your own idea is super important in getting someone else interested in it. To really sell your idea you have to seem truly passionate about it.

5. Make it Visual

Don’t just tell them about your idea, show them. Most people love visuals because they can show what the finished idea may look like. If you are taking inspiration from a certain film, book, famous location, or even person, pull up some photos to accompany your idea. Visuals show creativity and that you have truly thought out your idea.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

This sage advice applies to almost everything, including pitching. Practice pitching to yourself in the mirror and really listen to what you’re saying. Does it sound boring? Change it! Are you too forceful? Tone it down a bit. Another good way to practice your pitching is to attend our Live! Ammunition! Pitching Competition London. This is a great way to get some feedback on your pitch from a panel of industry executives and a live audience. Be sure to sign up for our Pitching Skills Workshop too!


Filed under: Filmmaking, Filmmaking CareerTagged with: , , , , ,