Raindance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in Europe, is returning for its 25th anniversary edition this year; it is slotted from September 20th to October 1st 2017, with its venue in Central London – and just yesterday, on August 15th 2017, the festival announced its 25th line-up of over 200 feature and short films. For the opening, the Festival selected to screen the International Premiere of Atsuko Hirayanagi’s dramedy Oh Lucy! (USA, starring Josh Hartnett), while the Closing Night film has yet to be announced.
Raindance reportedly received a record-breaking number of submissions this year, from over 120 countries. Its competition programme will be judged by a panel that includes Ex-BIFA director Johanna Von Fischer, acclaimed Spanish producer Rosa Bosch, and a long list of prominent UK talents, including Jamie Campbell Bower (Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 & 2), Jack O’Connell (Money Monster, Unbroken), Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy), Christopher Eccleston (Thor, Dr Who), Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman, Trainspotting), Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones series, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Training Day, Broadchurch), Nicholas Lyndhurst (A United Kingdom, Only Fools and Horses), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Hotel Rwanda, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End), Josh Whitehouse (Poldark, Northern Soul), Neil Marshall (Westworld, Game Of Thrones) and Rachel Portman (One Day, Chocolat).
Among the officially selected feature films, the jury will select the winners of Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Performance categories. The nominees include the international premiere of Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s feature debut, Maya Dardel (USA, starring Lena Olin and Rosanna Arquette), which “tells the story of a famous writer, who states her intention to end her own life during an interview on NPR, and invites male writers to compete to become the executor of her estate”; The Constitution (Croatia, starring Nebojša Glogovac and Ksenija Marinković), directed by Rajko Grlić, “follows four people who live in the same building but avoid each other due to differences in their assets, sexual habits, nationality and religion”; Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s Mukoku (Japan, starring Gou Ayano and Nijiro Murakami), focuses on a “security guard, whose best days are behind, until a chance encounter changes everything”.
All features in Official Competition will compete for the titles of Best UK Film, Best Documentary, with the Discovery Award for the Best Debut Film also on the table. The nominees include the world premiere of In Another Life (UK – Jason Wingard’s directional debut); the documentary The Family I Had (USA – directed by female co-directors Katie Green and Carlyle Rubin), and Children Of The Night (Italy / Belgium – directed by Andrea De Sica).
The general festival programme, outside of Official Competition, also seems to be more than promising. It includes You Are Killing Me Susana (Mexico / Canada – directed by Robert Sneider), with Gael Garcia Bernal in the lead; On Yoga The Architecture Of Peace (Brazil / USA, directed by Heitor Dhalia), based on Michael O’Neill’s book of the same name; RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save The Planet? (directed by David McIlvrid and Roger Williams), and Hello Again (USA – directed by Tom Gustafson and starring Rumer Willis), the film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical.
In the International Short Film competition category will include the UK premiere of Game (USA, directed by Jeannie Donohoe, produced by Bob and Harvey Weinstein), about “a new kid in town who turns up at the high school boys basketball tryouts and instantly makes an impression”, while the multi-award-winning director, Dea Kulumbegahsvili’s will present Lethe, (France / Georgia), which “follows a lonely horseman, who wanders past the river of forgetfulness and through a rural Georgian village”; Goddess (India / USA – directed by Karishma Dube), tells “the story of being a closeted lesbian in contemporary India”.
Women In Film and LGBT categories will receive special focus and will be accompanied by panel discussions. The LGBT strand includes The Misandrists (Germany, directed by the legendary queer director Bruce LaBruce), Becks (USA – co-directed by Daniel Powell and Rebecca Drysdale and starring Mena Suvari) and Discreet (Germany, directed by Travis Mathews). This year’s selection of films, directed by women, will include Leslie Ann Coles’ debut documentary Melody Makers (UK), Barrage (Luxembourg – directed by Laura Schroeder), which stars Academy Award nominee Isabelle Huppert and her real life daughter Lolita Chammah, and documentary City Of Joy (USA – directed by Madeline Gavin).
Raindance Film Festival is officially recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences USA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the British Independent Film Awards, meaning that the selected shorts will qualify for Oscar® and BAFTA nominations. Besides that, British short films that play in competition, along with all British feature films that will be played 2017, will be eligible for entry for the 2017 British Independent Film Awards BIFA.
For more information on films and the detailed Raindance programme, you can refer to the official Festival website.
Written by Sanja Struna
Oh Lucy! photo © Matchgirl Pictures, Gloria Sanchez Productions, Meridian Content
The Constitution photo © Synergetic Distribution
RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save the Planet? still courtesy of Riverdance Film Festival
Love and Other Cults photo © Third Window Films
Event photos © London Flair PR & Raindance Film Festival