Raindance Film Festival 2016

By Jo Phillips

The 24th Raindance Film Festival will take place from the 21st of September to the 2nd of October 2016 in the heart of London’s buzzing West End film district. It will be screening 100 feature films and over 150 short films and celebrates and supports independent, new and alternative filmmakers. The Festival is officially recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences USA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the British Independent Film Awards. Selected shorts will qualify for Oscar and BAFTA nominations. The Raindance Film Festival is the largest and most important independent film festival in the UK. Along with screenings, there are seminars, workshops and parties to allow everyone the chance to share their passion for film. The festival includes a diverse international programme and its focus changes every year and reflects current trends in the UK and the world cinemas. Over the years, the Raindance Film Festival has hosted guest and filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan, Shane Meadows, Ken Loach, Marky Ramone and many more.

The programme includes several different themes and can be divided into categories. Here are some examples:


  1. You are awake: For over two years, the inhabitants of the village of Kalachi in Kazakhstan faint and fall asleep without reason and they wake up between two and six days later with nebulous recollections of a nightmarish sleep. Even the best scientist are unable to solve this mystery. In this short film, director Pedro Martin-Calero addresses how human beings deal with fear of the unknown.
  2. Fake Empire: Fake Empire combines a fantasy world with crude reality. A man in a bar orders a vodka from a girl he thinks he knows, but doesn’t know where he has seen her before. When she serves his drink, he realises it is only water, but the waitress only stares at him instead of giving him another drink.
  3. The Apology: An old man sits alone in a rain-soaked diner, anxiously waiting for a meeting that will seal his fate. When the other person arrives, the old man gives him a musical box. The story takes a turn when the younger man with the box decides to teach the old man a lesson. Patrick Bergh’s short film is a black comedy with a devilish twist.
  4. Girl On An Escalator: A dirty old man is confronted with the dilemma of aging and desire when he encounters an attractive young girl as they go up the escalator of a Shopping Mall.
  5. Home: Hava’s brothers decide to divide their paternal property. According to traditional customs, the right to inheritance belongs to male descendants only whereas Hava has no right to inherit. The eldest brother is obligated to find a husband for his sister. Hava must be married and live at her husband’s house. Through her work Mora Raca focuses on social-economic issues concerning women and is actively engaged with the promotion and protection of women rights in Kosovo. Watch there trailer here and read more about “Home” here.
  6. Hux: Mageinha Tova, known for her work in the Spider-Man franchise, the Magicians, American Horror Story and Scandal, created her directorial debut. Hux, longing to connect, rebels against the lonely isolation of her autism. Braving the confusing, chaotic world of others, her attempts at interaction are repeatedly thwarted by her powerful aversion to stimuli, and by an epidemic that decimates the population. When all seems lost, Hux finds one final chance to connect. More information on the film can be found here and to see the trailer, click here.
  7. Point And Shoot: Two bumbling criminals talk in a car while they are about to initiate a burglary when they suddenly become victims to a car-jacking. Leisten Schnieder created a darkly comic crime and the short film even features Hollywood actor Donals Sutherland.



  1. Making Magic: This documentary explores the story of Baron Wolman, the first chief photographer for the Rolling Stone Magazine. In the 1960s, he met the creative minds behind the magazine and was offered to photograph the most celebrated rock musician of that period. He shot iconic images of artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan and many more. He set the foundations for modern rock photography.
  2. Love Bite: This documentary is about the life and disturbing black and white drawings of the American artist Laurie Lipman. She was born in New York in the 1950s and spend 35 years of her life in Europe. Lipman’s art gives form to the eternal themes of isolation, fear and uncertainty with creating images of horror.
  3. Hi How Are You Daniel Johnston: This is an intensely moving short film about an ageing musician attempting to come to terms with the past. The outsider musician struggles with his artistry for decades – often at the expense of his mental health.
  4. Born Of Stone: Pinuccio Sciola was Sardinia’s foremost contemporary artist, before his death in May 2016. He was an eminent sculptor and muralist and the documentary provides a fascinating insight into his methods and creative philosophy.
  5. Events In A Cloud Chamber: In 1969, the pioneering Indian painter Akbar Padamsee branched out into a film with an experimental work entitled “Events In A Cloud Chamber”. It was shipped to an art expo in New Delhi where it was lost. More than four decades later, filmmaker Ashim Ahluwalia engaged Padamsee to remake the film.


UK programmes:

  1. Pauline: Pauline is a suburban pensioner who is convinced that a malevolent, oven-bound spirit has possessed her kitchen. The manifestations of this poltergeist are revealed through her pedantic diary entries and audio recordings. Directed by Fred Rowson, the comedy is a winning parody of paranormal investigation.
  2. Dunroamin: Joanna is selling her country home “Dunroamin” and Steven is a prospective buyer. The film takes the viewer on an absorbing journey of confusion and presumption. A special feature is that the film plays out in real time.
  3. Balcony: Young Tina meets the Afghani immigrant Dani in a troubled neighbourhood with racial tension. At first, the viewer trusts Tina because she acts very protective of Dani, but as their friendship develops, something does not seem quite right.
  4. Candy Floss: Jasmine visits a travelling fairground after she ran away from her home. There she meets Shane who lives in a world of violence. This film follows the story of their unlikely bond. The tense thriller contains coming of age and contemporary elements, as well as social realism.
  5. Gangsters, Gamblers and Geezers: Friends Krish and Lee get fired from their call centre jobs and after spending all their money in a crazy month of partying, they have no money to pay to Olu, their landlord. Olu gives the boys 48 hours to pay their rent or else ‘things will get biblical’. With the clock ticking, the boys are forced to embark on an adventure that sees them get involved with two warring London gangsters, a gang of money laundering gypsies, a terrorist gang, a cross dressing dwarf and much, much more. Watch the trailer here.
  6. Jacked: Waylen and Russel steal cars for a living and each vehicle they steel seems to reveal something about the owner they took it from. In one car, they find a tape that contains a dying man’s final testament to his family. Finding themselves in a moral quandary, Waylen urges Russel to return the vehicle but his partner refuses.


European films:

  1. Snatched: The two teenagers Raïssa and Alio have shared a room in a dispiriting foster home since their childhood. One evening, Raïssa discovers that Alio has absconded. She finds out that two weeks after her departure, Alio already has a new job and boyfriend. The film is about Raïssa’s search for her absent friend and how her world is throwing into disarray.
  2. Moloch: This contemporary film is based in Ukraine where three friends work illegally in the grounds of a failing steel factory. One of the boys decides to turn his back on his criminal livelihood, but his friends try to change his plans. Directed by Szymon Kapeniak, Moloch is a modern day interpretation of Cain and Abel.
  3. Feel Sad For The Bunny: 12-year-old Remy lives with his older brother Bruno and their au pair Mihaela. Remy idolizes Bruno and he educates his younger brother in the arts of smoking, drinking and shooting their father’s shotgun. Furthermore, both brothers have a mutual interest in Mihaela which leads to tension in the household.
  4. Nkosi Coiffure: Eva had a physical argument with her boyfriend on the streets of Belgium and goes to the closest place she can find: a hair salon. In this salon, the details behind the altercation come to light and the film explores cultural rifts in sexual politics.
  5. La Noche De Todos Los Santos: Cryptic manifestations torment Spain on All Souls’ Eve causing unprecedented historic events and the emergence of journalists around the world. La Noche De Todos Los Santos means “The Shadows Of Memory” and is a compelling and consummately made thriller.


International movies:

  1. The Disposers: Matty and Shabu work as undertakers for an Israeli organized crime gang, despite being at pensionable ages. One evening, Shabu decides to board a plane and leave his criminal past behind. Matty is ordered to eliminate him, but the partners have been together for four decades and have developed a friendship.
  2. Seide: Seide lives isolated in a mountain village with only her horse. One day, she is faced with the prospect of an arranged marriage which has the consequence that she will lose her horse. Therefore, she tries to prevent it from being slaughtered.
  3. Running Eagle: A native American girl decides to flee from her barren existence on the North Dakota oil patch to return to her ancestral Blackfoot homeland in Montana. Reporter Lola Wick crosses that path of the girl and they start the mission to locate missing Blackfoot girls like her.
  4. Salesmanship: An unwelcome rent check threatens to put flatmates Cherry and Jeri’s existence together on hiatus. However, Jeri finds a solution and the duo is forced to venture beyond the walls of their solipsistic world. Salesmanship is an unconventional film about two friends trying to stay afloat in a big bad city.
  5. Between The Sea And The Bark: Claire’s parents live in obvious discontent and after the collapse of their relationship, she is trying to create distance from her father, who is reticent to move on. When Claire has to spend a weekend with him and he is sinking into alcoholic excess at a nearby motel, Claire decides to go in search for him. The film explores the aftermath of dissolved relationships and the enduring bonds of filial love.
  6. Orion: This film shares the story of a post-apocalyptic fable set in a future dark age in Detroit. In a future dark age, after civilization has collapsed, there are rumors and prophecies of a savior to come. A maiden, held captive by a cannibal shaman, prays for a savior. Soon after, an illiterate hunter stumbles upon the shaman’s cottage. The maiden promises to lead the hunter to a city containing the world’s last survivors. With an aid of an urchin vagabond, the hunter plots against the shaman who may not be human at all.  Check out the trailer here.


Animation programmes:

  1. Only Lovers Leave To Die: After being injured in an accident, Emily begins perceiving the world as it was made from painted film. On her way to a hospital, a story of love, death, passion and loss unravels through dialogues of characters surrounding her.
  2. Borrowed Time: A weathered Sheriff returns to the remains of an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget. Faced with the mistake once again, he must find the strength to carry on.
  3. Seven Seven: This film is about the story of Georgina Ferugson on the day on which several suicide bombings occurred in London in rapid succession. This incident has been seared on this nation’s collective memory. It is also about how stranger’s kindness helped her get out and start to move on.
  4. Little Elephant: This film is about the relationship of between a father and his gay daughter, now a young mother. It explores love over three generations and is set within a British Indian family in contemporary Britain.
  5. An Eye For An Eye: Frederick Baer spend over a decade on death row in Indiana State Prison and is still waiting for his death penalty to be executed. This hand-drawn animated documentary is about a murders time on death row and the conflicts about his guilt and destiny.


For more information on the Raindance Festival, check out their website here. The main sponsor for this season is Lexus


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