Presenting Raindance Film Festival

May 4, 2016

What is Raindance Film Festival’s mission?

Raindance Film Festival’s mission is to promote new independent films and emerging filmmakers from the UK and around the world to a UK audience. Our tagline since the festival started (now in our 24th year) is: Discover. Be Discovered.

We want to develop new audiences for independent cinema, and provide a platform for discovery, discussion and learning.

What role does your film festival play in supporting your film’s community?

We promote and exhibit independent film through the annual 12-day festival in the heart on London’s buzzing West End district, giving indie films a wider platform to reach larger audiences of film-lovers and film industry professionals, including distributors and sales agents, that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

We also have a nascent production company, Raindance Raw Talent, which produces films from submitted screenplays.

We have a very active community of Raindance Members, who get special access to exclusive online content and events throughout the year, including monthly meet-ups for filmmakers and film-lovers, the film festival, and the British Independent Film Awards (also founded by Raindance founder Elliot Grove), as well as discounts on our evening and weekend film training courses, taught by seasoned, working filmmakers. Through the Raindance “eco-system”, currently with ten hubs located in major cities across Europe and North America, we connect filmmakers around the world.

The Raindance blog is regularly updated with filmmaking tips, advice and insight, as well as interviews with independent filmmakers.

Raindance Film Festival

Raindance Film Festival

What is something people look forward to every year at your film festival?

Raindance Film Festival prides itself on its bold programming, having over the years brought films that include Pulp Fiction, The Blair Witch Project, Capturing the Friedmans, Down Terrace and Ghost World to UK audiences. One thing that people always look forward to at Raindance is discovering a new cinematic gem from an emerging filmmaker. In 2015, for example, two UK features that premiered at the festival went on to receive British Independent Film Awards nominations, and one of the short films was nominated for the Best Documentary, Short Subject award at the Academy Awards.

Through the whole host of events that we put on in addition to screenings – networking events, panel discussions, Q&As – Raindance is a great place to meet other filmmakers from around the world, and many collaborations have even been born out of filmmakers meeting at the festival. For three years out of the past four, we have been named one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee”, which is a testament to not only the astounding range of talent that we showcase on the big screen during the festival, but also what we offer filmmakers in terms of their larger festival experience.

How long has your film festival been around?

The first Raindance Film Festival took place in October 1993, however, the very first Raindance event was in April 1992.

Raindance Film Festival

Raindance Film Festival

How did your film festival come into being? 

Elliot Grove started Raindance in 1992 at a moment of deep crisis in the British film industry. In 1992 only six UK features were made, but Grove and a small band of filmmaker/entrepreneurs that included Edgar Wright (the first Raindance intern) were determined to make their movies without training, without experience or without traditional funding. Grove seized on the then-current lack of practical film training and started Raindance film training classes, which provided down-to-earth, practical information from working film industry practitioners, mainly from America.

A year after beginning the film training courses, the Raindance Film Festival was born to showcase local talent. It’s grown to be one of the world’s largest independent film festivals and is Oscar, BAFTA and BIFA qualifying for films.

What do you want audiences to take away from your film festival?

We want audiences to appreciate and enjoy the films we have curated, of course. But we also want them to feel refreshed, inspired, challenged, and to raise questions and have discussions about what they’ve watched.

Anything else you’d like to tell the audience about your festival?

We pride ourselves on being an antidote to the usual Hollywood fare, not that there’s anything inherently wrong with big-budget Hollywood films – we all love a good blockbuster – it’s just that our cinemas are saturated with them. Raindance caters for audiences who crave for new topics, new talents, and new stories told in new ways.

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