STEPHEN FRY, JOANNA LUMLEY, IMELDA STAUNTON AND DAVID DATUNA AMONG FESTIVAL JURY MEMBERS
FESTIVAL REVEALS INAUGURAL VR ARCADE
RENOWN SCREENWRITER, GUILLERMO ARRIAGA RETURNS FOR A MASTER CLASS
The Raindance Film Festival today announced the majority of its highly anticipated line-up, which includes world, international, European and UK premieres. Now in it’s 24th year, the Festival will take place in London’s West End from September 21st – October 2nd, 2016.
Raindance Founder Elliot Grove was joined by jury member, musician Johnny McDaid (Snow Patrol) as they revealed this year’s competition films in the Feature, Short and Web Series categories, as well as the programme for the newly introduced Virtual Reality Arcade. The Festival’s Opening & Closing Night films will be announced on August 30th, 2016.
The Festival received a record-breaking number of submissions this year from 98 countries, the highest it has received to date and will screen 90 feature films and 85 short films. A champion of independent filmmaking, Raindance is the largest independent film festival in Europe and has consistently been a great supporter of the UK film industry.
Along with Johnny McDaid, this year’s competition films will be judged by a panel of international artists, industry members and film journalists, including American contemporary artist, David Datuna and some of the best names in 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), Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean series, A United Kingdom) and Nicholas Pinnock (Top Boy, Fortitude). Additional jury members will be announced on September 6th, 2016.
Along with Best Film, Feature Films in Official Competition will, for the first time, also compete in additional categories, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. Films include the International Premiere of Stephen Elliot’s After Adderall (USA) starring Michael C. Hall. The film is about the film adaptation of Elliot’s memoirs, which starred James Franco and Ed Harris. The Violin Player (India) is directed by Bauddhayan Mukherji and takes us on a day in the life of a failed Bollywood session violinist; and A Double Life (Japan), Yoshiyuki Kishi’s feature debut about a young woman assigned to follow a stranger, only to discover that he leads a double life.
Additional features In Competition include both narratives and documentaries vying for Best UK Film, Best Documentary and the coveted Discovery Award, which is given to Best Debut Film. Films include Mirko Pincelli’s debut, The Habit of Beauty (UK/Italy) starring Noel Clarke; Adam Irving’s Off the Rails (USA/Canada), a documentary about Darius McCallum, a man with Asperger’s syndrome, whose love of transportation has landed him in jail over 30 times for impersonating New York City public transport drivers; and the World Premiere of Five Days of Lesvos (UK), Richard Wyllie’s look at the experiences of those at the frontline of the refugee crisis in Greece and Europe’s failure to act.
The Short Film competition slate includes the UK Premiere of Szymon Kapeniak’s Moloch (Poland/Ukraine) a Cain and Abel tale about love and envy; Ondřej Hudeček’s twisted queer romance, Peacock (Czech Republic), a true story about one of the Czech Republic’s most influential writers; You are Awake (UK), directed by Pedro Martin-Calero and inspired by real events, following a group of villagers who have started to faint and fall asleep; and Oliver S. Milburn’s thriller, Dunroamin (UK).
Additional short films include Friday Night (France), by French filmmaker Alexis Michalik and executive produced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein and David C. Glasser, which is set against the backdrop of a city-wide attack in France; the European Premiere of Thomas Leisten Schneider’s Point and Shoot (USA/UK) starring Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games, JFK); and global luxury car company Lexus will be revealing the third film in its 2016 Short Film Series.
Previously announced, the Women In Film and LGBT strands will include a specific selection of films as well as industry panels that emphasize the contribution women and LGBT communities are making to the industry and the current challenges they face.
The LGBT strand will showcase Rhys Chapman’s Wonderkid (UK), a British short film about the inner turmoil of a gay professional footballer; Growing Up Coy (USA), the feature documentary about a Colorado family’s fight for their 6-year old transgender daughter’s right to use the girls’ bathroom at school; and Margo Pelletie’s Thirsty (USA), about the drag queen sensation, Thirsty Burlington.
This year’s films directed by women include A Brilliant Genocide (Australia), Ebony Butler’s political exposé about the unrecognized atrocities against the Acholi people in northern Uganda; Fiona Rayher and Damien Gillis’ documentary, Fractured Land (Canada), which follows a young Aboriginal lawyer as he works to expose the Canadian oil industry; and Sarah Townsend’s short film, Noma: Forgiving Apartheid (UK) about Noma Dumezweni’s journey back to South Africa.
This year, the Festival has also introduced the Raindance Lab – Future of Film. This strand includes both the inaugural VR Arcade and the fourth annual Web Series and looks at alternative platforms for filmmaking and the increasing attention these platforms are gaining internationally.
The Virtual Reality Arcade, sponsored by Lexus, will feature 14 experiences, providing audience members with an immersive experience and the chance to experiment with new advances in storytelling technology. The VR programme includes powerful documentaries such as Witness 360: 7/7, a look at the 2005 London terrorist attacks; Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, which was produced by the BBC; 6X9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement, produced by the Guardian; and the World Premiere of RecoVR: Mosul, which was commissioned by the Economist and takes the viewer on a visit to a museum in Iraq which was destroyed by ISIS.
The VR Arcade will also showcase experiences that bring with them the running theme of empathy: Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness; In My Shoes: Dancing with Myself, about living with epilepsy, and CTRL, a look into the destructiveness of domestic violence.
The Festival’s unique Web Series will again provide filmmakers with the opportunity to tap into the online video industry. Web Series’ nominated films include Sol Rikweda’s Blood, Sweat & Chokes (UK), which follows three young fighters as they hustle to reach the Ultimate Fighting Championship; Rich Keeble Vanity Project (UK), an improvised mockumentary series about the real-life struggling comedic actor; and S-Band (UK), Hannah George’s series which follows the lives of the staff and students at Northwood High, a school for students with behavioural issues.
For the second consecutive year, Oscar® and BAFTA award nominated Mexican screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga will be conducting a Master Class for budding screenwriters and filmmakers. Arriaga is best known for his collaborations with multi-award winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu on Amores Perros, Babel and 21 Grams. The Master Class is in collaboration with Mexico’s Mediacine.
The Festival’s second Co-production Forum will focus on the relationship between the UK and Ibero- American film industries. A partnership between Raindance and the Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG), the Forum will include panels, seminars, workshops and events, all with the aim of increasing investment and co-production opportunities between the two industries.
On today’s programme announcement, Founder Elliot Grove commented; “I am thrilled with the calibre of films submitted for this year’s Festival, enabling our programmers to select an excellent line-up. For 24 years, Raindance has continued to grow and support the independent film industry in the UK and abroad. I’m looking forward to showcasing this year’s great line-up and new strands to our audience.
The Raindance Film Festival will also announce its Music Strand, full Co-production and Industry Days Forums on September 6th, 2016.
Main partners of the 24th Raindance Film Festival include Lexus, Aon, Century Club, Strand Palace Hotel and Vue Cinemas.
A full list of nominated Feature and Short films and Web Series are below, as well as the list of films featured in the VR Arcade:
IN COMPETITION FEATURE FILMS
A Double Life, Yoshiyuki Kishi, Japan, European Premiere
Tama is assigned to follow and report on the daily routine of a stranger, only to discover that he leads a double life. Based on Mariko Koike’s novel of the same name and inspired by the works of the French artist Sophie Calle, who followed strangers around Paris.
Cast: Mugi Kadowaki, Hiroki Hasegawa, Lily Franky, Masaki Suda
After Adderall, Stephen Elliott, USA, International Premiere
In 2010, James Franco optioned the rights to Stephen Elliott’s memoir, ‘The Adderall Diaries’. In 2015, the film, directed by Pamela Romanowsky and starring James Franco and Ed Harris premiered at the TriBeca Film Festival. This is a film about the making of the adaptation, directed by Stephen Elliott himself.
Cast: Stephen Elliott, Mickaela Tombrock, Bill Heck, Michael C. Hall, James Urbaniak
Between Us, Rafael Palacio Illingworth, USA, UK Premiere
Thirty-somethings Henry and Dianne fear that settling down and getting married means giving up on their dreams, but it will take the universe conspiring to keep them apart for them to realize just how much they really need each other.
Cast: Olivia Thirlby, Ben Feldman, Adam Goldberg, Analeigh Tipton, Scott Haze
El Pastor (The Shepherd), Jonathan Cenzual Burley, Spain, European Premiere
Shepherd Anselmo lives a poor but happy life in a rundown house with only his dog Pillo and sheep for company. But when he refuses to sell his home and land to a construction company, his way of life is threatened, in this bloody metaphor for corrosive greed.
Miguel Martin, Alfonso Mendiguchia, Maribel Iglesias, Mayte Iglesias
Hortensia, Diego Lublisnky and Álvaro Urtizberea, Argentina, UK Premiere
It’s December when Hortensia’s father dies of electrocution from opening a fridge. To make matters worse, she is fired from work and discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend. But finding a letter she wrote when she was fourteen reinvigorates her motivation to fulfil her aspirations.
Cast: Camila Romagnolo, Agustín Scalise, David ‘Toto’ Szechtman, Gonzalo Urtizberea, Paula Carruega
Hotel Dallas, Livia Ungur and Sherng-Lee Huang, Romania/USA, UK Premiere
In 1980s Romania, TV Show ‘Dallas’ becomes a huge hit and inspires a young woman to immigrate to America. Taking a nostalgic, but critical look at the impact of ‘Dallas’ in Romania, this playful mix of fiction and documentary is a surreal parable of communism, capitalism, and the power of art.
Cast: Patrick Duffy, Livia Ungur, Nicu
Jules and Dolores, Caito Ortiz, Brazil, UK Premiere
Rio de Janeiro, 1983. In an attempt to pay off his gambling debt and pacify his flamboyant girlfriend Dolores, fun-loving Peralta and his happy-go-lucky buddy Borracha decide to steal a golden replica of the legendary Jules Rimet soccer World Cup trophy. Too bad they thieve the original cup, which puts the entire country on the alert. Based on real events.
Cast: Paulo Tiefenthaler, Taís Araújo, Danilo Grangheia, Milhem Cortaz, Fabio Marcoff
Panamerican Machinery, Joaquin Del Paso, Mexico, UK Premiere
A run-down construction-machine factory in Mexico City: Maquinaria Panamericana. The employees are happily winding down for the weekend, just like every Friday, except that this day a shocking event breaks their routine: their beloved boss, Don Alejandro, is found dead in the back of the warehouse. Soon this discovery leads to further ones: the company is bankrupt, the workforces have no prospects of employment elsewhere and no hope for any retirement funds. In a state of confusion, fear and grief, they decide to hide his death and lock themselves in their dusty workplace to play out an improbable solution.
Cast: Javier Zaragoza, Ramiro Orozco, Irene Ramirez, Edmundo Mosqueira, Delfino López, Cecilia Garcia, Cesar Panini, Javier Camacho, Israel Ruiz, Regina DuPacci
The Violin Player, Bauddhayan Mukherji, India, UK Premiere
A day in the life of a failed Bollywood session violinist whose life revolves around remarkable nothingness. Life, that day, throws a carrot at him and he ends up finding expression in an unlikely place, revealing startling truths about music, art, life and survival.
Cast: Ritwick Chakraborty, Adil Hussain, Nayani Dixit
Train Driver’s Diary, Lazar Ristovski, Serbia/Croatia, UK Premiere
During his professional career, every train driver inadvertently kills 20 to 30 people. Their victims are usually either suicides or careless, drunken, or simply absent-minded people. This is a tragic comedy about innocent murderers and their lives.
Cast: Lazar Ristovski, Peter Korac, Mirjana Karanovic, Nina Jankovic, Danica Ristovski
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
A Brilliant Genocide, Ebony Butler, Australia, UK Premiere
A political exposé and human rights documentary that details the untold story of suffering and an unrecognized genocide against the Acholi people of northern Uganda by the current Government, which the world believes was the doing of warlord Joseph Kony.
A Plastic Ocean, Craig Leeson, UK/Hong Kong/USA, UK Premiere
Journalist Craig Leeson teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers as they travel around the world to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect.
Death by a Thousand Cuts, Juan Mejia Botero and Jake Kheel, USA/Dominican Republic, European Premiere
The murder of a Dominican Park Ranger by machete becomes a metaphor for increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as at the time, he was believed to have been on patrol investigating an illegal charcoal production site often run by Haitians coming across the border into protected Dominican forests.
Growing Up Coy, Eric Juhola, USA, European Premiere
A young Colorado family engage in a highly publicized legal battle and landmark civil rights case, as they fight for their 6-year-old transgender daughter Coy Mathis’s right to use the girls’ bathroom at school. The film asks the universal question: ‘how far would you go to fight for your child’s equal rights?’
Off the Rails, Adam Irving, USA/Canada, European Premiere
The remarkable true story of Darius McCollum, a man with Asperger’s syndrome, whose overwhelming love of transportation has landed him in jail 32 times for impersonating New York City bus drivers and subway conductors and driving their routes.
BEST FEATURE DEBUT
Dusky Paradise, Gregory Kirchhoff, Germany, UK Premiere
After the death of his parents, an apathetic young man travels to a foreign country to live in their house and look after their turtle.
Cast: Kes Baxter, Charlotte Krenz, Martin Umbach
Her Composition, Stephan Littger, USA/Germany, UK Premiere
A very talented, but creatively stuck composition student sees her neatly mapped-out life fall apart and starts visiting high-end escort clients. Struck by unexpected musical inspiration, she soon feels the urge to turn her encounters into music and the clients she visits into her collective muse.
Cast: Joslyn Jensen, Christian Campbell, Heather Matarazzo, John Rothman, Margot Bingham
Kamper, Łukasz Grzegorzek, Poland, UK Premiere
A couple in their thirties with an otherwise stable life have their relationship challenged by husband Kamper’s immaturity and must decide whether to go into the next stage of their life together or apart.
Cast: Piotr Żurawski, Marta Nieradkiewicz, Jacek Braciak, Justyna Suwała
The Farm, Angel Manuel Soto, Puerto Rico, UK Premiere
The lives of a midwife, a young boxer, a mute child and a young couple collide unexpectedly in a story about the desperate pursuit of happiness on the streets of Puerto Rico during the economic collapse.
Cast: Amneris Morales, Yullie Padilla, Henry Osso, Marco Carlos Cintrón, José R. Colón
The Habit of Beauty, Mirko Pincelli, UK/Italy, UK Premiere
A film centered around the themes of love and loss, telling the story of Elena and Ernesto, a couple torn apart by the tragic death of their young son, who reconnect some years later. Photographer Ernesto discovers some news which compels him to ask his curator and ex-wife to host his exhibition.
Cast: Francesca Neri, Vincenzo Amato, Nico Mirallegro, Noel Clarke, Kierston Wareing, Nick Moran, Cosmo Jarvis, Michael Warburton, Elena Cotta, Luca Lionello, Mia Benedetta
BEST UK FEATURE
AmStarDam, The Lennox brothers, UK Premiere
An Amsterdam adventure with a fairytale twist. Jack arrives to Amsterdam to find his father and, through a momentary magical encounter, finds the secret weapon that could turn around his father’s ailing marijuana coffee shop.
Cast: Jonathan Readwin, Sean Power, Eline Powell, Alice Lowe, Howard Marks
Five Days on Lesvos, Richard Wyllie, World Premiere
One million refugees fled to Europe by sea in 2015. Half came through the Greek island of Lesvos. Shot over just five days, this film captures the experiences of people on the frontline during a pivotal period that embodies the entire crisis and Europe’s collective failure to deal with it.
For Grace, Sebastian Armesto, UK Premiere
Ben’s never felt motivated to search for his biological parents but becoming a father himself has changed all that. Following Ben as he tries to uncover his own past, come to terms with his present, and find a way to make the most of his future.
Cast: Andrew Keatley, Jacob Casselden, Sophie Roberts
Gozo, Miranda Bowen, UK/Malta, European Premiere
Lucille and her sound designer boyfriend, Joe, immigrate to an idyllic Mediterranean island to escape the horrors of a personal tragedy. Joe soon begins to hear strange noises in his sound recordings, and as the allure of their newfound paradise begins to fade, the past comes back to haunt them.
Cast: Ophelia Lovibond, Joe Kennedy, Daniel Lapaine, Olivia Grant
Long Forgotten Fields, Jon Stanford, World Premiere
A dark, young-adult love story set in the Shropshire countryside. Lily’s simple life of work and family faces upheaval when her soldier boyfriend, Sam, comes home on leave. Her naïve expectations of refreshing their relationship are dashed as they are both drawn deeper into his post-war world.
Cast: Tom Campion, Rebecca Birch, Simon Armstrong, Frances Ruffelle, Paul Sadot
BEST SHORT FILM
A l’Arraché (Snatched), Emmanuelle Nicot, Belgium, International Premiere
Raïssa and Alio are bound by a strong friendship, sharing the same room in a foster home for several years. When Raïssa finds Alio in a complicated situation after leaving without warning, she decides to take the lead and restore order in her friend’s life.
Furiant (Peacock), Ondřej Hudeček, Czech Republic
A twisted queer romance set in the 19th Century picturesque Bohemia telling the true but taboo story of the birth of one of the nation’s most influential writers. Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex, and a happy ending. Well, a mostly happy ending.
Moloch, Szymon Kapeniak, Poland/ Ukraine, UK Premiere
Roma, Stach and Chudy work illegally in the grounds of a declining steelworks. When Roma’s relationship leads to him quitting, his friends aim to dissuade him. Paying a visit to his significant other, one of the many versions of the tale of Cain and Abel unfolds…
Seide, Elnura Osmonalieva, Kyrgyzstan
Afraid of change and isolated from the rest of the world, young Seide appears unable to escape early marriage and the loss of what she loves the most, her horse.
What a Beautiful World This Will Be, Tyler Walker, USA, UK Premiere
A magical-realist detective story sprawling across the frozen Brooklyn expanse. An underemployed, young drunk crawls out of bed in order to find his missing friend while a mysterious disease called “the blank” ravages the city and a giant conqueror worm crawls along the sky.
BEST UK SHORT FILM
Balcony, Toby Fell-Holden
Tina, a troubled teenage girl, is attracted to Dana, an Afghani girl, who Tina tells us is victimised by her substance-abusing father. Initially, Tina’s protectiveness of Dana from the kids at school and on the violent estate, seems admirable, but as their friendship blossoms, it increasingly seems as if something is off.
Dunroamin, Oliver S. Milburn
Joanna (Sarah Parish) is selling her country home, Steven (Robert Emms) is a prospective buyer. What should be a simple viewing becomes something else entirely.
Healey’s House, Rob Savage, World Premiere
A tense and atmospheric drama following a young couple who travel from England to Scotland to address a haunting memory from their past. As they carry out their plan, both the dynamics of their relationship and the motivations for their actions become increasingly dubious.
Pauline, Fred Rowson
A humourous exploration of the relationship between Pauline, an elderly spinster, and the ghost that inhabits her oven, as she takes numerous steps to make contact.
You Are Awake, Pedro Martin – Calebro
Taking inspiration from the real life phenomenon, this film addresses the relationship between the fear of the unknown and the human condition under the backdrop of a group of villagers in Kalachi who have started to faint and fall asleep, seemingly without reason.
BEST UK WEB SERIES
Blood, Sweat & Chokes, Sol Rikweda
Following three young fighters as they journey through the UK’s underground MMA scene full of grimy gyms, glamorous showgirls and dodgy promoters. As they hustle to reach the glitzy world of the UFC, we get a sense of the masculinity, brotherhood and struggles involved in trying to achieve the ultimate dream of becoming a champion.
Ren: The Girl with the Mark, Kate Madison
The tale of a young woman who, after an otherworldly encounter in the woods, is marked by an ancient spirit. Feared by all and hunted by the Kah’Nath, she is forced to leave behind everything she knows to discover the true meaning behind the mark she now bears.
Rich Keeble Vanity Project, Rich Keeble/Sam LeGassick/ Edd Wright
Meet Rich Keeble, a real-life struggling comedy actor. This is the show, about the show. In this new, awkward, hilarious improvised comedy mockumentary series, we see him battle his bully of a producer and fail after every attempt to try and be Britain’s next top comedy talent.
Shield 5, Anthony Wilcox
Security driver John Swift is arrested for his involvement in a diamond heist and the subsequent death of a colleague. Determined to prove his innocence, he finds himself on the run from both the police and those he believes have framed him. Will he be able to evade capture long enough to uncover the truth?
S- Band, Hannah George
A series following the lives of the staff and students of S-Band, a class at Northwood High for students with behavioural problems, bad attitudes and a penchant for setting fire to things. Mr Thorogood runs a ‘buddying up’ session, which leads to a Ritalin theft, a dropped baby and ultimately, a friendship.
BEST INTERNATIONAL WEB SERIES
20 Seconds to Live, Ben Rock, USA
In this scripted anthology series, various characters meet their untimely demise in twisted, fun, and oftentimes, gory situations. This is the horror/comedy series for people who hate happy endings.
Discocalypse, Dirk Rosenloecher, Germany
Wake up with young, stuttering Zecke on a club toilet in Germany in the middle of a bad hangover. His memories of the previous day lead to a hell of a night and we join him and his friends on a crazy ride out of the club, which happens to be infected with zombie-like monsters.
Il Sonnambulo, Hannah & Douglas Rath, UK/USA
Photographer Atticus Hurst earned fame and money from documenting the crimes of infamous killer Il Sonnambulo. In recent years the killer has gone quiet and Atticus’ notoriety has consequently faded. This dangerously symbiotic relationship between the two drives Atticus to track down his long-time muse when he receives a tip-off…
The Fourth Door, Tony E. Valenzuela, USA
The story of one woman’s journey as she navigates the strange and dangerous world of Limbo. On this journey Lain must confront memories and monstrous fears to save both herself and the man she loves.
Young Graduate, Shannon Renaudeau/ Florent Sabatier, France
Alice is 24 years-old and has just graduated. She is looking for her dream job and a purpose to her life. Ambassador to the Y-Generation, ambitious but slightly lost, she’ll strive to fulfill herself and find her way.
6×9 – A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement, Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton, UK, produced by the Guardian
Across the Line, Nonny de la Peña, USA
Ctrl, Nigel Townsend, UK
Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, Oscar Raby, UK, produced by the BBC
Home – An Immersive Spacewalk Experience, Kate Bartlett and Tom Burton, UK, produced the BBC
In My Shoes: Dancing with Myself, Jane Gauntlett, UK
Inside the Box of Kurios, Paul Raphael and Félix Lajeunesse, Canada
Invisible, Darren Emerson, UK
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness, Arnaud Colinart, Amaury La Burthe, Peter Middleton and James Spinney, UK/France
RecoVR: Mosul, Visualise Films, UK, commissioned by the Economist
The Rose And I, Eugene Chung, USA
Tomorrow, Carolina Avedano, Spain
The Turning Forest, Oscar Raby, UK, produced by the BBC
Witness 360: 7/7, Darren Emerson, UK
The Festival box office will be open from noon on Thursday, September 1, 2016.
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