|Like a welcome tempest of talent on a barren multiplex drought, the Raindance Film Festival - now in its eighth year - showers a flood of the world's best indie films into a drizzly London each October. With 400 features and shorts, the festival, running October 13th to 26th, is the UK's largest independent film feast. |
In a bid to position itself alongside the more important international film festivals, Raindance has introduced this year an official selection of fourteen films, one playing each night for the course of the festival. Opening the festival is Miguel Arteta's low-budget Chuck and Buck, a touching tale of friendship and self-discovery that won plaudits at Edinburgh Film Festival. Also from Edinburgh comes the popular Dogme film,The King is Alive, telling of a group of stranded tourists that recreate a performance of King Lear to keep their spirits up; 101 Rekjavik, Baltasar Kormakur's darkly comic look at family ties in Iceland with music by Blur's Damon Albarn; and Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her, Rodrigo Garcia's highly regarded debut with a cracking cast that includes Glen Close, Cameron Diaz and Calista Flockhart. Other films in the official selection include Karl Francis' One Of The Hollywood Ten; Jon Shear's Urbania and Memento, by Christopher Nolan, who is centre to a retrospective of his works.
Among the other sixty or so other films in the festival are May Miles Thomas' microbudget One Life Stand which has gathered strong praise since it's New York debut at the start of the year; Japanese shocker Audition; and 22-year-old James Rogan's debut feautre, Dead Bolt Dead.
As ever, the festival's has a very strong programme of events, seminars and training programmes, following Raindance's year-round position as a respected training organisation.
Jack Cardiff, acclaimed cinematographer of such British classics such as Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes and widely regarded to be the foremost practitioner of colour film, gives a talk on Sunday 15th. Stephen Frears presents the inaugural Alexander Mackendrick Memorial Lecture, in interview with Mark Cousins. Seminars include Legal Labs, covering copyright and financing law for film and Guerilla Marketing Techniques, which teaches cheap ways of getting maximum exposure for your film. Other sessions cover pitching, web streaming, documentary funding, new avenues of sales and distribution, and a discussion on film scoring between Mike Figgis and Michael Kayman.
As ever, shorts feature strongly, and Soho screening group Peeping Toms will be hosting an evening on the 18th October with some of the best and latest British shorts. The documentary strand features Amarghosa and Butterfly from the US and Dutch hit The Great Dance.
Running alongside the main festival is the first ever Raindance Kids, a children's film festival that plays at the Clapham Picture House, featuring films by and for children. It opens with the world premiere of Merlin the Return, and closes with a sneak preview of Dreamworks' Joseph King of Dreams.
Closing Raindance is Metin Huseyin's It Was An Accident, which stars Mission Impossible's Thandie Newton in a comic thriller about the life and troubles of a young man trying to go straight in London's Walthamstow. The Raindance Audience Award will be voted on from the fourteen films in the official selection, of which It Was An Accident is the final.
Festival director Elliot Grove describes this year's line-up as 'healthier and funkier than ever' and with such a broad line-up, Raindance is unlikely to disappoint. The only thing that could possibly go wrong for the festival is two weeks of sunshine, but given London at this time of year, this is as likely as failing to find something of interest in the Raindance programme.
Raindance Film Festival runs from October 13th to 26th. Tickets can be bought 24 hours a day on +44 (0) 20 7734 1506. More information from www.raindance.co.uk