Behind a secret door deep in Soho lies members club Apartment 58, this year playing host to the programme announcement of the Raindance Film Festival. The independently minded festival is in its 20th year and celebrated this milestone by receiving more submissions from more countries than ever before. Those selected play out at the festival’s home of Apollo Cinema Piccadilly Circus from 26th September to 7th October and feature an impressive blend of World, International, European and UK Premieres.
Opening the Festival is acclaimed Mexican feature Here Comes the Devil, forming part of the Latin American strand of the line-up which showcases the flourishing world of Latin American and Mexican cinema in all its varying scope. Also under this strand comes Sal, an Argentinean/ Chilean film likened to the worlds dreamt up by Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarintino as well as the already-well-received From Tuesday to Tuesday from Argentina.
Continuing Raindance’s fondness of all things continental, this years European strand focuses on, but is by no means limited to, Eastern Europe with films from Serbia, The Practical Guide to Belgrade with Singing and Crying and Croatia Vegetarian Cannibal hotly tipped to impress and appal in equal measure.
Away from the subtitled films this years Raindance supports a wide range of UK and US cinema as well as shining a spotlight on (largely French speaking) Quebec with the Canadian province contributing 4 features and 1 documentary to this years line-up. Festival goers will be able to assess the acting chops of Daisy Lowe in her big screen debut alongside fellow young Brit from the gossip pages, Alfie Allen, in Confine. If that sounds all a bit too young and fresh, other UK films even things out with Tom Conti starring in romantic comedy City Slacker and Derek Jacobi bringing Caesar into the 21st century, complete with real life prisoners, in String Caesar.
Documentaries continue to be supported by the festival with everything from alien cover-ups (Hidden Hand) to Jeremy Irons’ environmental concerns (Trashed) being covered in the healthy looking Documentary strand of Raindance. Zero Killed blurs the lines of documentary and feature films in a dark look at murder fantasies while Banaz – A Love Story chronicles the brutal honour killing of Banaz Mahmod, a young British woman in London killed by her own family for choosing a life for herself.
There is also an international selection making up the shorts programme featuring the intriguing prospect of the Chuck Palahniuk short film Romance, based on his own story. The Fight Club author will be a guest at Raindance introducing his film as well as hosting a fund-raising dinner for the Independent Film Trust (IFT), the UK charity which works to promote the cause of independent film-making.
Retrospectives celebrating the work of Trent Harris and late French auteur Chris Marker complete what promises to be an exciting line-up.
– Matthew Walsh
Below is the official press release and trailer from the festival. We do hope to attend the festival and will bring you coverge at Cinehouse and The People’s Movies.
The Raindance Film Festival announces its 20th festival programme at today’s press launch at London’s APARTMENT 58. This year’s lineup includes 105 features and over 138 shorts and 64 UK Premieres, 13 International Premieres, 5 European Premieres, 20 World Premieres and 24 Directorial Debuts from 38 countries with another exceptional year of internationally acclaimed films, special live events, exclusive Q&As and masterclasses. The festival will take place from 26th September to 7th October at its home of Apollo Cinema Piccadilly Circus SW1Y 4LR.
Opening the festival on Wednesday 26th September is the International Premiere of HERE COMES THE DEVIL – a powerful fantasy horror from Mexico. Shot in Tijuana, a married couple lose their children while on a family trip near some caves in Tijuana. The kids eventually reappear without explanation, but it becomes clear that they are not who they used to be and that something terrifying has changed them. The Opening Night afterparty will feature band The Real Tuesday Weld which The Sunday Times calls: “beautiful…giddily recalls Gainsbourg, Pulp, Cole Porter, early Disney soundtracks and seedy postwar revue bars” and received their Album of the Week.
Closing the festival on Sunday 7th October is the UK Premiere of 7 CRATES – from Paraguay and fresh from its screening in Toronto Film Festival’s vanguard section. The film focusses on Victor, 17, who lives in Asunción and dreams of having a TV set. He agrees to deliver seven boxes in exchange for 100 dollars. It sounds like nothing could be easier, but the boxes contain something everyone wants.Raindance is thrilled this year to celebrate a stellar LATIN AMERICAN STRAND featuring some exceptional films from Latin America and Mexico, including this year’s opening night film from Mexico Here Comes the Devil. Also from the region we have Die Standing Up (Winner of Best Mexican Documentary at the Guadalajara Film Festival) and My Universe in Lower Case (Winner of Best Mexican debut feature at the Guadalajara Film Festival) both from Mexico, Sal – a Sergio Leone, Tarantino influenced feature from Argentina/Chile and Tuesday to Tuesday from Argentina/Spain.
The UK HOMEGROWN STRAND will showcase the best in British filmmaking talent, including three World Premieres: Love Tomorrow written and directed by Christopher Payne, Produced by Stephanie Moon and co-produced by Emmy Award-winning dance producers/filmmakers The Ballet Boyz, Love Tomorrow is about a tentative friendship that grows into something more when two dancers meet by chance on the streets of London; City Slacker, comedy starring Tom Conti from the writer of Dummy which previously screened at Raindance and Confine starring Daisy Lowe and Alfie Allen and Directed by Tobias Tobbell about a heist which goes wrong. Also in this year’s UK strand is String Caesar, featuring Derek Jacobi as Caesar alongside real life prisoners bringing Julius Caesar into the 21st Century.
Exciting films emerge from the AMERICAN INDIE STRAND this year, including the World Premiere of Dark Hearts directed by Rudol Buitendach, former prize winner at Raindance and starring Sonja Kinski, daughter of Nastassja Kinski; The Grief Tourist Directed by Suri Krishnama (also a former Raindance prize winner) starring Melanie Griffith and Michael Cudlitz; Mon Ami which recently screened to much acclaim at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival is Fargo meets Dumb and Dumber in a horror movie disguised as a buddy comedy; Me and You At the Zoo which screened at Sundance and provides a cautionary tale as it chronicles several years in the endlessly self-recorded life of Chris Crocker, who won fame with his 207 “Leave Britney Alone!” YouTube rant.
From the EUROPEAN STRAND comes Heavy Girls – an ultra-low budget feature from Germany about love and dementia; The Practical Guide to Belgrade with Singing and Crying is a contemporary romantic comedy from Serbia and Vegetarian Cannibal – a multiple award-winner at the Pula Film Festival where it took both Best Director and Best Actor amongst others and Directed by Branko Schmidt from Croatia.
An extraordinary DOCUMENTARY STRAND kicks off with the legendary Jeremy Irons and composer Vangelis who will be in attendance for the excellent green documentary Trashed. Also featuring is EBE award-winning feature documentary Hidden Hand which examines the phenomena surrounding UFOs, Extra Terrestrials, alien abduction and the US secret military cover-up of supposed E.T. contact; the multi-award winning Zero Killed the documentary/feature hybrid directed by Michal Kosakowski who has been asking people with different backgrounds about their murder fantasies; the World Premiere of Orania which examines a community of Whites Only which exists in the heart of South Africa and Banaz – A Love Story, which chronicles the brutal honour killing of Banaz Mahmod, a young British woman in London, killed by her own family for choosing a life for herself.
A unique spotlight on QUEBEC this year includes 4 Features and 1 Documentary – including Over My Dead Body, a documentary on enfant terrible of the dance world, Dave St. Pierre who also suffers from cystic fibrosis and The Salesman about the perennial car salesman of the month starring Gilbert Sicotte.
There are three films focusing on dance. The feature, Love Tomorrow from the Ballet Boyz, the documentary on Dave St Pierre, Over My Dead Body and Ballroom Dancer from Denmark.
Continuing the festival’s longstanding affiliation with music, the RAINDANCE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA STRAND is dedicated to music and alternative culture and this year features My Father and the Man in Black – presenting the untold story of ‘bad boy’ Johnny Cash and his talented but troubled manager Saul Holiff and Soundbreaker about Finland’s most daring contemporary musician Kimmo Pohjonen.
An exciting selection of international shorts makes it to the final SHORTS PROGRAMME at Raindance this year with some of the biggest names in Hollywood – including: Charlotte Rampling in The End; Charles Dance and Jenny Agutter in Mapmaker, Malcolm McDowell for No Rest For The Wicked, Jennifer Lopez in Life & Freaky Times Of Uncle Luke, Nick Moran in 82, Phil Jupitus and Josie Lawrence star in No Prisoner and Wonder starring Diana Hardcastle (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Henry Goodman (Notting Hill), directed and scored by Johnny Daukes. One of the programmed shorts will win Film Of The Festival Award – which will automatically go into the Oscars™ shortlist for best short film. Raindance Film Festival is one of only two British film festivals with this honour.
In addition, Raindance will welcome American novelist and journalist Chuck Palahniuk to the festival, best known for writing Fight Club. Palahniuk will introduce his short film Romance which is based on one of his stories as well as host a fund-raising dinner for the Independent Film Trust (IFT), the UK charity which works to promote the cause of independent film-making.
Raindance is also extremely pleased to announce two very diverse retrospectives. One celebrating the life and work of the French auteur Chris Marker represented by three films never seen in the UK, including Sunless and Level 5, and a very special Trent Harris Retrospective, who is best known for Plan 10 from Outer Space, which debuted at Raindance in 1996. Rubin and Ed and The Beaver Trilogy starring Sean Penn and Crispin Glover are both screening at this year’s festival. Trent Harris will also be in attendance to launch the retrospective.
Raindance Film Festival Founder Elliot Grove said: “Raindance: 20 years on and the independent film spirit is stronger than ever. This year’s collection of outstanding films proves that despite the difficult international economic climate, independent filmmakers continue to amaze, impress and entertain.”
Raindance Film Festival Award winners will be announced on Saturday 6 October, 6pm at the Apollo Cinema West End.
For the full list of confirmed features
The Raindance Film Festival runs from Wednesday 26th September to Sunday 7th October 2012 at the APOLLO CINEMA: West End, 19 Lower Regent St, SW1Y 4LR. For tickets please log onto the Apollo website.
Tickets can be booked online at www.raindance.org or by telephone on: 08712 240242 from September 10thPowered by Sidelines