Raindance Film Festival Unveils 2018 Line-Up Including Opener “Princesita”

The Raindance Film Festival in partnership with Lumix has announced its highly-anticipated line-up in full of over 80 feature films, 99 short films, 22 music videos and 33 VR exhibits, including 31 World Premieres, 28 International, 21 European and 81 UK Premieres.

Raindance 2018

Celebrating its 26th year, Raindance Film Festival will take place in London’s West End from Wednesday September 26 until Sunday October 7, 2018.

Elliot Grove, Raindance Founder, said: “Independent film matters more than ever. Our varied programme of the very best of independent, uncensored cinema has the power to transport from our place of overwhelm – breaking down barriers and allowing us to understand how people with very different circumstances from all over the globe live, work and play. We are proud to give a voice to the outsiders, the rebels, the dreamers and the poets and to celebrate films of dissent, which challenge society.”

Elliot Grove was joined by jury member, Judi Shekoni (Maleficent 2, Breaking Dawn – Part 2) as they revealed this year’s competition films in the International and UK Features, Documentaries, Shorts and Web Series categories, as well as the programme for the much anticipated Virtual Reality strand.

The UK Premiere of award winning director Marialy’s Rivas’ Princesita will be the Opening Night Film. Produced by Fabula, the Chilean production company created by the Larrain brothers, the film tells the story of twelve-year-old Tamara, who has been raised in a cult. As she becomes a young woman, she receives instructions for her life mission: to carry the successor, fathered by the cult leader, the charismatic Miguel.

The festival received a record-breaking number of submissions (8929 total) this year from over 118  countries, the highest it has received to date and will screen almost 250 projects – including features, shorts, webfest, VR and music videos selected by our team of 20 programmers, who watched over 4000 hours of footage.  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 Judi Shekoni, this year’s competition films will be judged by a panel of a number of eminent industry professionals such as writer John Harris Dunning, filmmaker and music producer from Japan Mike Rogers and Alex Hoffman (Global Executive Producer, Head of Music for VICE UK) plus high profile supporters such as Michael Flatley(Blackbird), Ray Winstone (The Departed, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Jonathan Pryce CBE (Game of Thrones, Tomorrow Never Dies, Pirates of the Caribbean), Carmen Ejogo (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Selma), Adrian Lester OBE (Hustle, The Day After Tomorrow)Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge, War & Peace), Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Juliet Stevenson CBE (Truly, Madly, Deeply, Bend It Like Beckham), Rufus Sewell (Dark City, A Knight’s Tale)Greta Scacchi (Presumed Innocent, White Mischief), Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil: Retribution, Resident Evil: Apocalypse)Jenny Agutter (Logan’s Run, An American Werewolf in London, The Avengers), Annabelle Wallis (The Mummy, Peaky Blinders), Laura Carmichael (Man in an Orange Shirt, Downton Abbey), Karen Bryson (Shameless), Genevieve O’Reilly (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Tin Star), Madeleine Mantock (Charmed, Into The Badlands) and Rupert Evans (The Man in the High Castle, Hellboy).

In recognition of the outstanding achievements of this year’s filmmakers, the jury will watch each of the films nominated in the following categories: Best International Film, Best UK Film, Best Director, Best Performance, Best Script, Best Cinematography, Discovery Award and Best Documentary.

Films nominated for Best International Film include the Opening Night film,Princesita (Chile/Argentina/Spain); Israeli director Veronica Kedar’s Family (Israel/Germany); Kosai Sekine’s debut feature-length film Love at Least (Japan), a radical, stupid and very real love story; Sophie Fillières’ When Margaux Meets Margaux (France); Rene Eller’s We (The Netherlands/Belgium); directorial debuts from the Far East include Aya Igashi’s A Crimson Star (Japan) and Fog Forest’s The End of Wind (China); in Sean Hamish’s Saint Judy (USA), executive produced by Alfred Molina and starring Michelle Monaghan, we follow episodes of a fictitious regime change when, for an exceptional moment, power is held by ordinary people; Christopher Greenslate’s Saviours (USA) follows a young woman who embeds herself in a white power group in order to find her adoptive African-American mother; Sara Forestier’s M (France) is an opposites attract love story of Lila and Mo.

Films nominated for Best UK Film include George Michael and David Austin’s George Michael: Freedom – Director’s Cutchosen as the Gay Times Special Screening, and featuring over thirty minutes of never seen before private footage, extraordinary performances and insight from famous friends – George’s self-portrait is one of love, loss, success, defeat and his creative process, revealing how the superstar masters the art of being one of the most influential artists of his generation. Other nominees include Blair Macdonald and Oliver Clark’s debut feature Team Khan is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about professional boxer Amir Khan, filmed between 2014 – 16 as he chases a fight with the unbeaten superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr, whilst outside of the ring Amir must grapple with the significance of family, fame, and religion, as he grows from boxing’s golden child into a man; Louis Myles’ Kaiser! The Greatest Footballer Never to Play Football is the tale of the greatest sporting fraud of all time; We the Kings, directed by Lauren McKenzie, is a contemporary thriller, in which a fostered teenager has a vendetta against the former guardian of his foster brother; Marc Price’s debut film Colin won Best Feature at Raindance, his latest feature, Nightshooters is a contemporary thriller and a love letter to low-budget filmmaking and 80s action films.

Additional narrative features are considered in the Discovery Award, which is given to Best Debut Film. Films nominated in this category include Andrea Jaurieta’s Ana By Day (Spain), when Ana’s double appears and takes her place she is totally free and able to explore her new anonymity and freedom; starring Homeland’s Morgan Saylor and directed by Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via, We The Coyotes (USA) is the story of a couple starting their new life together in Los Angeles; Nikola Mijović and Vlastimir Sudar’s Borders, Raindrops (Republic of Srpska/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Montenegro/Serbia/Sweden/UK) is the story of a young city girl, who visits her family high up in the Balkan mountains, recently divided by new borders; Lazar Bodroza’s Ederlezi Rising (Serbia), is a story of an astronaut sent on a long intergalactic mission, accompanied by a female android who he begins to fall in love with; in Piotr Domalewski’s Silent Night (Poland), it is Christmas Eve and Adam, a young economic migrant, returns home unannounced for a traditional supper, though nobody suspects the true reason for his unexpected return.

Films vying for the Best Documentary Award include Ballet Now (USA), directed by Steven Cantor, executive producers include Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, The Handmaid’s Tale), which follows dance sensation Tiler Peck is a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process involved in curating a three-day dance series, seeking to push boundaries; Editor-in-Chief of Kino-Zeit, the largest German-language publication for arthouse cinema, Beatrice Behn and René Gebhardt have collaborated on The Artist & the Pervert (Germany), a ground-breaking film documents the lives of a renowned composer of symphonic music, descended from Nazi ancestors and his wife, an African-American kink educator, who engage in a controversial role-play game between a white master and a black slave; Jeff and Michael Zimbalist’s Nossa Chape (Brazil, Colombia, Spain) tracks the rebuilding of the Chapecoense football club in Brazil after an airplane crash left only three players alive;  Denali Tiller’s Tre Maison Dasan (USA) is an intimate portrait of three boys growing up, each with a parent in prison; Rumble: The Indians who Rocked the World (Canada), directed by Catherine Bainbridge, is a feature documentary about the role of Native Americans in popular music history.

Other music documentary highlights in 2018 include several World Premieres:, John Alexander’s This Is Love (USA) in which music legends George Clinton, Mick Fleetwood, Sinbad, and Norman Jay unveil an unsung hero of soul, Rudy Love, who turned down fame to make music with his family, yet whose influence is felt today –  the screening will be followed by concert at The 100 Club; RISE: The Story of Augustines (USA) chronicles the inspirational journey of William McCarthy & Eric Sanderson’s rise to critical indie acclaim and the tragic death of McCarthy’s younger brother, James; Jordan Albertsen’s Boom (USA) is the story of one of Rock’n’Roll’s wildest and most influential bands, The Sonics and features interviews with artists including Pearl Jam, The Sex Pistols, Heart, and Mudhoney.

Other noteworthy films playing at the festival include Jay Alvarez’s Dizzy Pursuit (USA), exec produced by Anthony and Joe Russo, where a young couple receives unwanted visits from family members while trying to cast their independent feature film; Peter Medak’s The Ghost of Peter Sellers (Cyprus), is a tragicomic documentary about young director desperately tries to complete a film on the open sea, while battling its star actor, who is trying to sabotage the film; directed by his wife, Saskia Boddeke, The Greenaway Alphabet (Netherlands) is a deeply personal and powerful portrait chronicling conversations between the renowned filmmaker and his daughter.

The international short film competition slate includes Souls of Totality (dir: Richard Raymond, UK/USA), a love story about the intensity of a looming moment that can change everything; June 21 (dir: Nagisa Morimoto, France) about a young man who helps a clinic patient break out of her room and together, they set off to venture far from the city and enjoy the summer days; Imfura (dir: Ishimwe Samuel, Switzerland/Rwanda) which casts a light on the issues faced by families who were torn apart by the Rwandan genocide; The Last Day of the Empire (dirs: Anna Rubi and Julia Halasz, Hungary) about the last days of a fictitious regime change; and Clean Blood (dir: Jordan Michael Blake, USA) – Christmas movie about family, the apocalypse and an immaculately pregnant man.

UK Short Films include Jon Drever’s Thawed in a which a woman has brought back her husband from cryogenic suspension; Charlotte Regan’s Little Monster A man has his first phone call to his daughter after being sent to prison; in Aaron Dunleavy’s Landsharks a young teenage boy is lured into the jaws of an underground loan shark; in Nicholas Eriksson’s Ellston Bay when Keir decides to re-establish contact with his estranged father, he returns to his hometown by the sea, and quickly discovers that all is not as it seems on the surface; Iesh Thapar’s Alien Culture is set in West London, 1979 where racial tensions are running high.

Another short of note is Eli Powers’ Holy Moses (USA), starring and exec produced by Amanda Seyfried –  a strange mystery involving a missing Irish cow which turns up in American nowhere twenty-five years later.

This year’s Queer Film strand will once again showcase outstanding creations from the LGBTQ+ community. Dykes, Camera, Action! is an outstanding introduction to lesbian cinema and provides a history of queer film from a lesbian perspective that explores both mainstream work and arthouse cinema. Another historical look into the queer community will be provided by Ruminations, an endearing dive into the life of Rumi Missabu, the founder of San Francisco based theatre group The Cockettes. Finally, Kill The Monsters is an artful and sensitive look into a polyamorous relationship tackling both the triviality and the hardships of contemporary romance which is not to be missed.

Raindance proudly supports female filmmakers and we are pleased to announce female centred indie films by both up and coming and established female filmmakers as well as documentaries celebrating inspiring women from around the world. A few examples showing the breadth of female centred indie offerings this year include the beautifully shot feature film Princesita directed by Marialy Rivas and the inspiring documentary The Last Fight about Marloes Coenen, a Dutch mixed martial arts fighter approaching retirement and her preparation, doubts and fears surrounding her final fight for the MMA championship

Renowned filmmaker Allison Anders will be attending Raindance with a retrospective of her 90’s indie hit Mi Vida Loca – the film looks beyond the surface of the lives of Hispanic girl gangs and attempts to create a deeper portrait of young women in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles. Allison Anders will also host an unmissable Lumix Masterclass. With a career spanning over 3 decades, Allison has always shared tales of punks, outsiders, and strong feminist statements. Her work has ranged from indie classics like Mi Vida Loca and 4 Rooms, to recent high profile work such as Orange is the New Black. Her personal experience of abandonment, survival and success during her early life echo throughout her films, and instills them with a sense of raw truth that so many strive to capture.

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