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[Article] – Raindance Film Festival 2017… Upcoming Highlights

 

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Posted September 17, 2017 by

 
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The 25th Raindance Film Festival kicks off on 20th September and, with the full programme now announced, here are some of the upcoming features and events which look set to make this year’s another unmissable line-up!

The UK Premiere of Atsuko Hirayanagi’s Oh Lucy! (Japan), starring Josh Hartnett, has been announced as the opening night film. The film is a drama-comedy and tells the story of Setsuko Kawashima, a lonely, chain-smoking office lady in Tokyo who is past her prime and adopts an American alter ego.

The International Premiere of Stuck by Michael Berry, starring Giancarlo Eposito (Okja) and Amy Madigan (Gone Baby Gone) is an original pop musical film about six strangers who get stuck underground on a New York City subway together and change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They are different races, cultures and ages. The emotions of the trapped strangers fly as they reveal who they really are through song.

The Festival received a record-breaking number of submissions this year from over 120 countries, the highest it has received to date and will screen over 200 projects – including featuresshorts, webfest, VR and music videos. 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 Jamie Campbell Bower, this year’s competition films will be judged by a panel of industry members and film journalists including, Ex-BIFA director Johanna Von Fischer and acclaimed Spanish producer Rosa Bosch, and some of the best names in British talent, including 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).

To recognize the outstanding achievements of this year’s filmmakers, the jury will go through each of the Feature Films, selected for Official Competition, in the following categories; Best FilmBest DirectorBest screenplayBest Performance. Films nominated in these categories 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; Tony Gatlif’s Djam (France/Greece/Turkey) follows a young Greek woman who, sent to Istanbul by her uncle, embarks on a life-changing journey made of music, encounters and hope, Mukoku (Japan), tells the story of a security guard, whose best days are behind, until a chance encounter changes everything.

Additional features include both narratives and documentaries vying for Best UK FilmBest Documentary and the covetedDiscovery Award, which is given to Best Debut Film.  Films nominated in these categories include; the World Premiere of In Another Life (UK), Jason Wingard’s directional debut, set against the backdrop of the Calais Jungle, where refugee Adnan battles to be reunited with his wife in the UK; The Family I Had (USA), directed by female co-directors Katie Green and Carlyle Rubin, is a documentary featuring a mother recalling how her teenage son shattered their idyllic family through one violent act; ; Heitor Dhalia’s On Yoga The Architecture Of Peace (Brazil / USA) is based on Michael O’Neill’s book of the same name, and tells the story of the 10 years the author spent photographing Yoga’s great masters; RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save The Planet? by David McIlvrid and Roger Williams, follows internationally celebrated river conservationist Mark Angelo on an around-the-world journey by river that uncovers the dark side of the fashion industry.

Other noteworthy films playing at the festival include You Are Killing Me Susana (Mexico / Canada), by Roberto Sneider, producer of Frida, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal, and tells the story of a Mexican native adapting to life in the USA; Michelle Schumacker’s I’m Not Here (USA) starring J.K. Simmons, about a man who is struggling with the tragic memories of his past to make sense of his present, but soon realises that time isn’t the enemy he thinks it is; Black Butterfly (Italy) by Brian Goodman, which stars Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, is set in mountain town grappling with a series of abductions and murders, a reclusive writer offers a drifer a place to stay following a brief encounter, which sees the men battle a game of one-upmanship; Tabbert Fiiller’s The Public Image Is Rotten (USA) starring John Lydon, tells the story of Public Image Ltd, formed by Johnny Rotten in 1978 within months of the demise of the Sex Pistols.

The international Short Film competition slate includes the UK premiere of Jeannie Donohoe’s, Game (USA), 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; multi award winning director, Dea Kulumbegahsvili’s, Lethe, (France / Georgia) 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.

UK short films includes the European Premiere of critically acclaimed director Eva Riley’s Diagnosis, about a woman’s secret evening job as a medical role play actress; Nathaniel Martello-White’s Cla’am, nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, is a dark comedy about a local man who becomes convinced that a vast conspiracy is behind the gentrification in his London neighbourhood; the World Premiere of 46, by Joseph A. Adesunloye, tells the story of two friend’s hosting a party, that was meant to be a night of fun without responsibilities, which turns out be a nightmare for one of them.

The Women In Film and LGBT strands will include a specific selection of films as well as industry panels that emphasize the contribution women and LGBT communities are making to the industry and the current challenges they face.

The LGBT strand will showcase legendary queer director Bruce LaBruce’s latest feature, The Misandrists (Germany),about a young man who unknowingly is taken in by members of the Female Liberation Army – a lesbian separatist stronghold;Becks (USA), co-directed by Daniel Powell and Rebecca Drysdale, starring Mena Suvari, sees a Brooklyn musician move back in with her Midwestern mother, after a crushing breakup with her girlfriend. As she navigates her hometown, playing for tip money in an old friend’s bar, an unexpected relationship unfolds; Travis Mathews’, Discreet (Germany) tells the story of an eccentric drifter who returns home and discovers his childhood abuser is still alive.

This year’s films directed by women include Leslie Ann Coles’ debut documentary Melody Makers (UK) which stars Melody Maker Magazine’s Chief Contributing Photographer, Barrie Wentzel, who tells the story of the rise and fall of the magazine, which marked the end to a style of rock ‘n’ roll journalism that no longer exists today; Barrage (Luxembourg / Belgium / France) directed by Laura Schroeder, stars Academy Award nominee Isabelle Huppert, and her real life daughter Lolita Chammah, following  the journey of Catherine (Chammah), who is returning to Luxembourg after ten years abroad, to catch up with her young daughter who has been brought up by Catherine’s mother (Huppert), and kidnaps her taking her on a road trip; City Of Joy (USA) is Madeline Gavin’s inspiring documentary following the first class of students at a remarkable leadership centre in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region often referred as “the worst place in the world to be a woman”.

Running between September 28 – October 1, the newly established virtual reality strand will feature the Raindance VRX Awards, VRX Summit, VRX Market and the VR Arcade. The brand new VRX awards will recognise pioneering virtual reality experiences in 10 categories: Best Interactive Narrative Experience, Best Mobile Interactive Experience, Best Cinematic Narrative Experience, Best Documentary Experience, Best Animation Experience, Best Music Experience, Best Branded Experience, Best Sensual Experience, Best Social Impact Experience and Best Sound Design Experience.

Festival tickets and passes can be purchased through the Festival website.

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