Johnny Flynn as a young David Bowie in Stardust (2020)
Credit: Raindance Film Festival
The Raindance film festival, one of the world’s most prestigious festivals for independent film, in authentic 2020 fashion, will go virtual for its 28th edition. This year, Raindance will be running with an incredible array of events from Wednesday October 28th to Saturday November 7th. Due to the global pandemic, the festival’s current edition will be mainly taking place online. On the bright side, you will be able to enjoy the festival from anywhere in the world and at no cost! That’s right! The movies on display are going to be completely free of charge to stream on your laptop with an optional pay-what-you-can donations to support up-and-coming independent filmmakers.
Raindance, also known as ‘the filmmakers festival’, was founded by Elliot Grove in 1992 to give a voice to independent filmmakers in the industry. Throughout its 28 years of existence, Raindance has consolidated internationally as one of the main events in the festival season of the film industry. Raindance has multiplied its international presence with hubs in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Dubai. The Raindance Film Festival has hosted legendary films throughout its history; cult classic Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino made its UK premiere at the 1995 edition of Raindance and Christopher Nolan’s Memento was released at the festival in 2000. This year is no exception with an impressive line-up of the best independent films of international cinema. The 28th Raindance Film Festival line-up features 50 virtual premieres of films, documentaries and shorts. The chosen format this year, a hybrid of selected socially-distanced live screenings and daily virtual premieres, gives access to the London-based festival to audiences from all around the world for the first time. The Raindance Film Festival will feature, during its Opening Gala on Wednesday October 28th, the highly anticipated biopic of David Bowie, Stardust, directed by BAFTA-nominated director Gabriel Range. The film starring Johnny Flynn as a young Bowie on his path to transform into Ziggy Stardust, his iconic alter ego that rose him to fame. Raindance will also feature the short film The Hat, directed by filmmaker Darren Strowger and featuring an original score composed by The Who’s legendary guitarist Pete Townshend. The Hat, starring Jude Law and his son Rafferty Law, was entirely shot during the lockdown, earning itself a nomination for the Best UK Short at the British Independent Film Awards. All the proceeds generated by The Hat will directly benefit charities Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America. The Closing Ceremony will feature the UK Premiere of the film Here Are the Young Men, directed by Eion Macken and starring Dean-Charles Chapman and Anya Taylor-Joy, which follows the story of three Dublin teenagers who fall into the vicious spiral of drinking and drugs. Furthermore, the 28th Raindance Film Festival will also include the ‘Industry Programme: Independent Film Beyond 2020’ which will run from October 29th to November 5th and will include panel talks and interviews with industry professionals who will share their knowledge and insider’s views on the future of film amid the pandemic. Among the Industry Programme events, there will be panel talks on filmmaking and the environment, diversity in film and the future of film in a digitalised world.
Here Are the Young Men (2020) directed by Eion Macken
Credit: Raindance Film Festival
Raindance is presenting its participating films under 9 different highlights: ‘A Dirty World’, ‘Politico’, ‘Arty’, ‘Female Gaze’, ‘Queer’, ‘Absurdities’, ‘Generation Z’, ‘Sonica’ and ‘Discovery’. ‘A Dirty World’ is an eye-opening selection of films on the environment, presented in partnership with The Nature Conservancy that features the UK premiere of documentaries such as The Great Green Wall, produced by Oscar-nominee Fernando Meirelles (City of God). ‘Politico’ features films and documentaries on social and political issues such as Citizen Penn, a documentary directed by Don Hardy that follows Oscar-winner Sean Penn on his trip to Haiti to help the relief effort after the earthquake. ‘Arty’ is a selection of films covering creative processes such as the Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Danceby Khadifa Wong, which will be celebrating its international premiere at the festival. The female perspective in film will be presented under the ‘Female Gaze’ spotlight with films such as Willow, directed by by Oscar-nominated and Venice Golden Lion winner Milcho Manchevski and the The Dilemma of Desire, a film that celebrates female sexual pleasure. ‘Queer’ will display the best of LGBTQ+ cinema with the international premiere of A Dim Valleyand the UK premiere of Born to Be. The fresh viewpoint of millennials will be featured under the ‘Generation Z’ highlight with the UK premiere of Nuclear, a short film by Catherine Linstrum. The work of new and up-and-coming filmmakers will be part of the ‘Discovery’ selection with features such as Eastern, Survival Skills and My Thoughts Are Silent. A new and interesting addition to this year’s Raindance film festival is the ‘Sonica’ highlight, which is presented in collaboration with Spotify and that will feature music documentaries Different Johns, a documentary on the life of John Cohen, one the emblematic artists of the Beat Generation, and Jimmy is Punk, a documentary on the 1970’s Dutch punk band Panic.
A Dim Valley (2020) directed by Brandon Colvin
Credi: Raindance Film Festival
The Raindance Film Festival Jury, composed by famous artists and filmmakers of the industry such as Jeremy Irons, Vanessa Williams and Thomas Brodie-Sangster among others, will award honours to independent films and filmmakers in eight different categories: Best International Film, Best UK Film, Best Director, Best Performance, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Discovery and Best Documentary.
The 28th Raindance Film Festival, in its 2020 virtual format, is accessible from any place in the world and is therefore an unmissable event for all aspiring filmmakers and film-lovers out there. In words of its founder, Elliot Grove, “storytelling brings us together” so join the cinematic journey of Raindance and enjoy the festival from the comfort of your home.
To access the festival, join through the link down below: