The Raindance Film Festival announces its 18th festival programme at today’s press launch at The May Fair Hotel.
This year’s lineup includes 77 features including 69 UK Premieres and over 133 shorts with another exceptional year of internationally acclaimed and alternative films,special live events, exclusive Q&As and masterclasses. The festival will take place from 29 September to 10 October at its new home of Apollo Cinema: Piccadilly Circus for the second year running – which celebrated knockout attendance figures at last year’s festival.
Opening the festival on Wednesday 29th September is JACKBOOTS ON WHITEHALL –(review here) a satirical animation about an alternative history of World War II where the Nazis seize London andEngland must band together to prevent a full on invasion. Star voiceover cast includes: EwanMcGregor, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Timothy Spall, Tom Wilkinson, Alan Cumming,Richard Griffiths, Stephen Merchant and Richard O’Brien. It will be followed by an after-party with live set from rising US indie band stars The Airborne Toxic Event and DJ set from one of themost influential DJs in the UK – Andrew Weatherall. The following day will be a specialscreening of ALL I EVER WANTED – a music documentary following Airborne Toxic Event as theyface their biggest ever event at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The band and filmmakers will be taking part in a special panel discussion directly after the screening.
Closing the festival on Sunday 10th October brings us SON OF BABYLON, the much hyped Iraqi film which is representing this year’s official entry to the Oscars and has already won two awards at Berlin International Film Festival and one at Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Mohamed Al Daradji, this is the poignant story of a young boy who follows his grandmother in a journey across Iraq in the hopes of finding her son and his father who never returned from war.
Sitting on this year’s stellar jury are: Charles Saatchi, renowned British film critic and historian Derek Malcolm; one of Alfred Hitchcock’s original sound producers Ernie Marsh; Julian Barratt of The Mighty Boosh; Lemmy from iconic metal legends Motorhead; writer, illustrator, musician and filmmaker Dave McKean; Alison Owen (producer of Shaun of the Dead, Elizabeth, Brick Lane, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Chatroom and Tamara Drew), Joe Bateman Festival Director at Rushes Short Film Festival and Mark Herbert head of Warp Films, producer of award winning films such This is England and Dead Man’s Shoes.
Raindance continues to showcase controversial and extreme filmmaking from across the globe. This year holds no exception with an uncut screening of the much talked about A SERBIAN FILM,directed by Srdjan Spasojevic. An allegorical and controversial film widely criticised for its paedophilic, necrophilic, rape and incest scenes, the film has been banned from screening and instead will be shown as a Private event.
Also banned in Australia before the Melbourne International Film Festival is LA ZOMBIE –dubbed a ‘gay zombie porno’ by cult filmmaker fiv. Premiering at Locarno Film Festival, the film next comes to Raindance via Toronto. DIRTY DIARIES is a collection of thirteen pornographic short films made by Swedish feminists and produced by Mia Engberg. The films
are highly diverse in content although many feature humor and different forms of queer sex.
Also screening is BEDWAYS. When two women and a man come together in a huge, run-down apartment in Berlin Mitte, BEDWAYS shows us what happens when acting and reality mingleand become a dangerous fantasy.
An extraordinary DOCUMENTARY STRAND kicks off with STOLEN, directed by Violeta Ayala andDan Fallshaw – this is a highly contentious documentary about human slavery in a United Nations refugee camp. Every festival which has screened the film to date has received legal threats with many dropping the film as a result. The film now comes to Raindance and follows aSaharawi refugee to North Africa for a reunion with her mother. However the UN-sponsored reunion reveals a secret which spirals the film into a dark world the filmmakers could never have imagined and which suggests implication from the highest of levels. It won the Best Documentary Award at The Los Angeles, Pan African Film Festival.
THIS WAY OF LIFE is about a family living in touch with nature and is hotly tipped for an Oscar nomination. Directed by Thomas Burstyn and shot over four years, it is an intimate family portrait of Peter Karena a horse-whisperer, philosopher, hunter and father. The film played a record 17 weeks at the box office in New Zealand this year.
VAMPIRES is a Belgian faux documentary following the lives of four vampires who are extremely bored with immortality. They live in Belgium, and feed off of illegal immigrants, children and the handicapped.
WHEN THE WORLD BREAKS is a film about survival during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The era of depression is brought back to life through rare film clips, art, and personal storiesfrom people such as Mickey Rooney, Jerry Stiller, Buzz Aldrin, Ray Bradbury (Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour) Jesse Jackson (Happily Ever after: Fairytales for Every Child), and Phyllis Diller.
ROUGE CIEL is a French story of extraordinary artists, and visionaries who set ablaze our spirit and change the ways we think. Starring Zdenek Kosek and directed by Bruno Decharme.
HOMEGROWN UK STRAND will showcase great British filmmaking talent, including Ben Miller’s directorial debut HUGE is about the friendship and dreams of two comedians starring Noel Clarke (Kidulthood, Centurion, Dr Who), Johnny Harris (This is England ’86, Dorian Gray), Ralph Brown (The Boat That Rocked, Withnail and I), Thandie Newton (W., Crash, Mission Impossible), Tamsin Egerton (126.96.36.199., St.Trinians), and Michelle Ryan (188.8.131.52., The Bionic Woman,Eastenders).
OLLIE KEPLER’S EXPANDING PURPLE WORLD is a darkly comic tale about Ollie, a young man who is desperately battling with his growing madness. Directed by Viv Fongenie and starring Edward Hogg (Bunny & The Bull, The Mighty Boosh), Andrew Knott (The History Boys), Jodie Whittaker (Venus, St.Trinians) and Cathy Tyson (Mona Lisa).
FIVE DAUGHTERS will also be screened at Raindance – a British film about the last few weeks of the five women murdered in Ipswich in 2006. Directed by Phillipa Lowthorpe, the film stars Ian Hart (Backbeat, Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone), Sarah Lancashire, and Jamie Winstone (Made in Dagenham, Kidulthood), Natalie Press (My Summer of Love, Bleak House) Adam Kotz(The Last King of Scotland).
LEGACY, written and directed by Thomas Ikimi and starring Idris Elba (The Wire, Thor, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Eamonn Walker (Cadillac Records), Monique Gabriela Curnen (Fast & Furious, Half Nelson), and Richard Brake (The Black Dahlia, Munich) is a psychological thriller about Blacks Ops operative Malcolm Gray who returns home after a botched mission in Eastern Europe and his demons start to haunt him.
Additional UK films include: REBELS WITHOUT A CLUE directed by Ian Vernon, THE SOUND OF MUMBAI: A MUSICAL directed by Sarah McCarthy, LUMMOX by Peter Boyd Maclean and DO ELEPHANTS PRAY?
Continuing the festival’s longstanding affiliation with music, this year’s highlights include ALL I EVER WANTED, SOUNDS LIKE A REVOLUTION and HORI SMOKU SAILOR JERRY.
HORI SMOKU SAILOR JERRY is a feature length documentary exploring the roots of American tattooing through the life of well-known figure Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins. Considered bymany the foremost tattoo artist of all time Collins is the father of modern day tattooing. His lifestyle and larger than life persona made him an American legend. Through rare interviews, and photos, HORI SMOKU SAILOR JERRY: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NORMAN K. COLLINS explores the past, present and future of the phenomenon that is global tattooing and is directed by Erich Weiss.
Exciting films emerge from the AMERICAN INDIE STRAND this year, including ARMLESS – a dark comedy starring Daniel London (Synecdoche, New York, The Sopranos, Minority Report) and Janel Moloney (The West Wing). It is the story of John, a man who suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder, a real-life physiological condition in which one doesn’t feel whole unless theyhave had at least one major limb removed from their body. As John goes on the search for a doctor willing to amputate his arms we watch as it triggers a string of events ranging from mistaken identities, missed chances to tragic consequences.
Other US films in this year’s programme include: FLOODING WITH LOVE FOR THE KID directed by Zachary Oberzan, INCREDIBLY SMALL directed by Dean Peterson, MACHO directed by Rafael Palacio Illingworth, TREASURE OF THE BLACK JAGUAR directed by Mike Bruce, VACATION! by Zach Clark, WHEN THE WORLD BREAKS by Hans Fjellestad and THE LAKE EFFECT by Tara Miele.
Strong antipodean films include Australia’s THE TOLL and THERE ONCE WAS AN ISLAND and THIS WAY OF LIFE from New Zealand. East and Western European films include: IRON DOORS, BEDWAYS and THE WOMAN WITH A BROKEN NOSE from Germany; VAMPIRES, CANNIBAL and BO from Belgium and 32nd DECEMBER from Bosnia and Hercegovina.
Continuing the legacy of supporting Japanese film, Raindance will again showcase a strong JAPANESE STRAND this year which is possibly the largest showcase of Japanese cinema in the UK. Highlights include: SYMBOL, YELLOW KID, BOYS ON THE RUN, AUTUMN ADAGIO, PURE ASIA and LUNAR CHILD.
An exciting selection of international shorts makes it to the final SHORTS PROGRAMME atRaindance this year. One of the highlights is HERE I AM – a Hungarian film directed by Balint Szimler which won the award for Best Short Film at The Hungarian Film Week.
Special events include Live! Ammunition! on Monday 4th October at the Apollo Cinema: Piccadilly Circus and the Alexander Mackendrick Memorial Lecture with critically acclaimed Director Mike Newell on Tuesday 5th October at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus. Mike Newell will be interviewed live on stage about his life and career spanning five decades of film, his directing credentials include: Four Weddings & A Funeral, Donnie Brasco and Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire. The interview will be followed by a screening of his film INTO THE WEST. In addition there will be a new Raindance 99 Minute Lecture Series covering a wide range of subjects from Directing, to using the latest DSLR cameras and Visual FX skills, to take place over the weekends of 2nd -3rd and 9th-10th October.
Raindance Film Festival Award winners will be announced at 5pm, Sunday 10 October at the Apollo Cinema: Piccadilly Circus.
For the full Festival programme and press accreditation please visit www.raindance.co.uk.
The Raindance Film Festival runs from Wednesday 29th September to Sunday 10th October 2009 at the APOLLO CINEMA: Piccadilly Circus, 19 Lower Regent St, SW1Y 4LR.
For tickets please log onto the Apollo website: www.apollocinemas.com