Films - Raindance Film Festival

RAINDANCE RETURNS TO CINEMAS 27th October to 6th November for the 29th edition of the Raindance Film Festival. Have a look at some of the highlights from the upcoming programme...

Press Release

As the world begins to emerge from a Covid cocoon, Britain’s biggest independent film festival Raindance is poised and ready to return to cinemas – and after the last 18 months of isolation and uncertainty, Raindance is coming back reimagined, reinvented, and with a host of new partners and of course some incredible new films.

“There’s nothing new about independent film, except that indie film is forever new,” says Raindance founder Elliot Grove. “Independent filmmakers tell the most original and individual stories, using the medium of film to show every facet of the complex world we live in. Now that cinemas have reopened, Raindance is ready to re-connect with the energy, vibrancy and insurgent spirit of indie film – and this year we have some exciting new partners to join us on our mission. We hope you will join us too.” #TheyWillCome

The festival will bring this year’s programme of ground-breaking indie features and shorts to a range of new venues as Raindance partners for the first time with local cinemas across London: Curzon Hoxton, Curzon Soho, Curzon Mayfair, Genesis Cinema, Regent Street Cinema, Bertha DocHouse. Expanding on the experience of hosting a hybrid festival in 2020, when around 70% of the online audience was located outside of London, this year Raindance endeavours to cultivate its digital reach. The in-cinema premieres will be supplemented by a full online programme of films via new digital partner Curzon Home Cinema. Festival titles from the Official Selection will have a digital repeat screening, available UK-wide via the Curzon Home Cinema platform. Films will be available on a ‘pay per watch’ basis via Curzon Home Cinema’s iOS app, Android app and on Smart TVs.

Raindance’s visual content (incl. poster artwork, programme, social media graphics) has a fresh new look in 2021 thanks to Bobo Design and new partner, graphic design platform Canva. Indeed, Raindance will be the first film festival to be designed with Canva. Other new festival partners and sponsors include Guardian Documentaries, TooFar Media, Vuulr and Soldo. Spotify returns to sponsor the SONICA music strand.

OPENING GALA: BEST SELLERS (dir: Lina Roessler, Canada)

The 29th Raindance Film Festival opens on 27 October with the UK theatrical premiere of BEST SELLERS, the first feature by actor and award-winning short filmmaker Lina Roessler. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Michael Caine and Cary Elwes, it portrays a cranky retired author who reluctantly embarks on a final book tour to help out a young publisher. Director Lina Roessler will join special guests on the red carpet at Curzon Mayfair, followed by a party at The Dorchester.

CLOSING GALA: MEDUSA (dir: Anita Rocha da Silveira, Brazil)

Following its debut at Cannes Directors Fortnight, Raindance presents the UK Premiere of MEDUSA as closing gala on 6 November at Genesis Cinema. Inspired by mythical and real-life violence by women against women and set against a backdrop of toxic masculinity and right-wing politics, the second feature by Brazilian filmmaker Anita Rocha da Silveira sees a group of Christian women gang up to attack women who they judge to be too liberal or too promiscuous.


This year’s Official Selection comprises World Premieres of new independent titles discovered by Raindance, and UK Premieres of the best from the international film festival circuit, programmed across eleven strands by Head of Programming Suzanne Ballantyne and Senior Programmers Martyna Szmytkowska and Malaika Bova. New strands for 2021 include the SCREAMDANCE horror strand, and the BOOMERANG strand which in response to the challenging and often gloomy months we’ve just endured, aims to turn the arthouse frown upside down by embracing the joy of indie film.

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>> ABSURDITIES: unconventional & fantastical titles fresh from the European festival circuit

IN THE MIRROR (dir: Laila Pakalnina, Latvia). UK Premiere. An absurd retelling of Snow White, the story of a CrossFit-obsessed gym owner and his new young wife who works out all the time in order to be the best. And she is: until the day her gym-raised stepdaughter surpasses her.

THE NOISE OF ENGINES (dir: Philippe Grégorie, Canada). UK Premiere. Following its San Sebastian premiere, this stylised and somewhat bonkers tale focuses on a college instructor accused of drawing sexually explicit vignettes, a scandal that turns the town upside down.

KING CAR (dir: Renata Pinheiro, Brazil). UK Premiere. In this surreal sci-fi, cars have developed voices and souls – but these machines become evil characters that turn against man.

TZAREVNA SCALING (dir: Uldus Bakhtiozina, Russia). UK Premiere. Having premiered in Berlin, this debut feature by Uldus Bakhtiozina reflects her work as a fine artist and photographer and features lavish avant-garde costumes. In a narrative inspired by Russian fairytales, it tells of a fishmonger’s daughter who drinks a strange tea and dreams that she’s the Tzar’s daughter.

THE DAY I FOUND A GIRL IN THE TRASH (dir: Michal Krzywicki. Poland). International Premiere. In 2028, a social activist announces his pending suicide via his streaming channel, intending it to be a statement against slavery in Poland – then he finds an abandoned slave-girl in the trash.

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>> BOOMERANG: a new strand that embraces the joy of indie film

ALL SORTS (dir: J. Rick Castañeda, USA). International Premiere. A nerdy loner gets an office job and discovers a secret competitive world of championship folder filing.

MY HEART GOES BOOM! (dir: Nacho Álvarez, Spain/Italy). UK Premiere. A joyful, high-spirited musical incorporating the hits of iconic Italian star Raffaella Carrà, telling the story of a starlet who brings colour to the greyest days of Francoist Spain in the 1970s.

ZIP IT (dir: Anicée Gohar, Egypt/Saudi Arabia/UK). UK Premiere. Fun, flamboyant and full of fabulous clothes, documenting the creativity of edgy Egyptian fashion designer Mohanad Kojak.

SWEET DISASTER (dir: Laura Lehmus, Germany). UK Premiere. A pregnant woman uses increasingly absurd, exaggerated and often hilarious methods to try and win her boyfriend back.

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>> DISCOVERY: the place to find maverick works by first-time filmmakers

AS FAR AS I KNOW (dir: Nándor Lörincz & Bálint Nagy, Hungary). UK Premiere. Based on true events, presented as a detective story, and radically told from the male perspective, it’s the story of a couple and their challenges after a rape.

MAYDAY (dir: Karen Cinorre, USA). UK Premiere. Starring Grace Van Patten, Mia Goth and Soko, with a cameo by Juliette Lewis, this intriguing story follows a young woman who faces abuse from her boss, and is then transported to a dreamlike land where girls like her are engaged in a never-ending revenge war.

SECOND THOUGHTS (dir: Zora Rux, Germany). UK Premiere. An apprentice of renowned Swedish director Roy Andersson, filmmaker Zora Rux takes his influences onboard in her first feature: a surrealistic story of a woman who gets a wedding proposal, and has her mind flooded with the thoughts and opinions of others, including her parents and ex-boyfriend.

SHAPELESS (dir: Samantha Aldana, USA). International Premiere. Kelly Murtagh brilliantly portrays a singer who is forced to confront her eating disorder when her internal struggle appears to become external and she risks turning into a monster.

THE HILL WHERE LIONESSES ROAR (dir: Luàna Bajrami, France/Kosovo/USA). UK Premiere. Nominated for the Golden Camera and Queer Palm at Cannes, the film depicts three free-spirited young women who rebel against the prospect of a dismal small-town future by forming a gang – with bleak consequences.

ASCENSION (dir: Jessica Kingdon, USA). UK Premiere. Documenting the paradoxes of economic progress, this impressionistic portrait of China’s industrial supply chain reveals the country’s growing class divide.

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>> FEMALE GAZE: a viewpoint covering everything from motherhood to race to abuse

MY SUNNY MAAD (dir: Michaela Pavlátová, Czech Republic/France/Slovakia). UK Premiere. This highly topical and thought-provoking animation depicts a young Czech woman who falls for an Afghan man – but when the couple and their newly-adopted disabled child begin a life in post-Taliban Afghanistan, they must face the reality of being odd ones in a community that doesn’t like diversity.

PORCELAIN (dir: Jenneke Boeijink, Italy/Belgium/Netherlands). UK Premiere. A Dutch couple enjoy an apparently perfect life, but when their son inexplicably falls ill with a disease, the happy family façade starts to fracture and tragically falls apart.

SHADOW (dir: Bruno Gascon, Portugal). UK Premiere. The harrowing real-life story of a woman who continues to look for her missing son years after his disappearance, touching on delicate topics including the brutal reality of sexual trafficking.

SUBJECTS OF DESIRE (dir: Jennifer Holness, Canada). European Premiere. Contributors including India Arie, Jully Black, and Brittany Lee Lewis help to document the cultural shift in US beauty standards towards embracing black aesthetics and features, deconstructing what we understand about race and beauty.

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>> GENERATION: from Millennials to Gen Z to the newbies of Gen A, Raindance visualises our world from the unique perspective of these three young generations

BEANS (dir: Tracey Deer, Canada). UK Premiere. Hailed at festivals including Berlin and Toronto, this debut feature tells of a Native American girl rebelling against her family, set against the real-life stand-off between Mokawk communities and government forces in Quebec in 1990.

SAMI, JOE AND I (dir: Karin Heberlein, Switzerland). UK Premiere. A coming-of-age story of three girls from different walks of life, ready to embrace what comes after school – but reality doesn’t live up to their dreams.

THE REVOLUTION GENERATION (dir: Josh Tickell, Rebecca Harrell Tickell, United States). UK Premiere. Narrated by Michelle Rodriguez, the film documents how millennials have inherited a world that needs them to save it, and shows young people deploying their strengths to confront both the US political crisis and the global environmental crisis.

VIRAL (dir: Udi Nir, Sagi Bornstein, Germany). UK Premiere. Portraying young influencers who share their lives on social media, illustrating their adaptability during the Corona pandemic.

YOUTH v GOV (dir: Christi Cooper, USA). UK Premiere. The story of twenty-one young Americans hoping to make history and change the future, as they sue the US government over its role in the climate crisis.

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>> HOMEGROWN: The best new indies born and raised right here

A BIRD FLEW IN (dir: Kirsty Bell, UK). World Premiere. Featuring a host of UK talent including Derek Jacobi, Sadie Frost, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Camilla Rutherford and Frances Barber, it follows what happens when lockdown is imposed, and the cast and crew of a film are removed from the set and sent home alone.

THE DROWNING OF ARTHUR BRAXTON (dir: Luke Cutforth, UK). World Premiere. The story of a bullied teenager who falls in love with a mermaid-like girl in his local swimming pool, co-starring Johnny Vegas.

LISTEN (dir: Ana Rocha, UK/Portugal). UK Premiere. Anchored by a brilliant performance by Lúcia Moniz (Love, Actually) alongside co-stars Ruben Garcia and Sophia Myles, it follows a couple living in the London suburbs who face serious difficulties with social services when their 7-year-old daughter’s deafness triggers a red flag in the system.

I AM GEN Z (dir: Liz Smith, UK). UK Premiere. Documenting how the digital revolution is impacting our society, our brains and our mental health, it investigates how we use different social media platforms – and how they use us.

HOSTILE (dir: Sonita Gale, UK). World Premiere. For generations, Britain has relied on migrants to keep the wheels of our society in motion. This documentary explores how they now face being expelled. Although Brexit contributes, Covid is the focus: we see, for example, a doctor who worked on the frontline during the pandemic, and now his licence to work is being revoked.

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>> ICONS: a strand of biopics honouring some of cinema’s biggest icons

THE ROSSELLINIS (dir: Alessandro Rossellini, Lorenzo d’Amico de Carvalho, Italy/Latvia). UK Premiere. Following its Venice premiere, this glorious family saga recounts the lives of Roberto Rossellini’s children, told from the perspective of the great director’s grandson Alessandro. After a shaky career as a photographer and a past as a drug addict, this film is his attempt to measure up to the surname he bears.

JEAN SEBERG: ACTRESS ACTIVIST ICON (dir: Kelly Rundle & Garry McGee, USA). International Premiere. Comprising exclusive interviews and never-before-seen private footage, it focuses on the private side of this international movie star, including her offscreen activism that made her a target of the F.B.I.

OSCAR MICHEAUX – THE SUPERHERO OF BLACK FILMMAKING (dir: Francesco Zippel, Italy). UK Premiere. The complex and fascinating story of the most successful African American director of the first half of the 20th-century – a pioneer who wrote, directed and produced more than forty-four films.

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>> POLITICO: astute stories of social and political significance

THE CAVIAR CONNECTION (dir: Benoît Bringer, France). UK Premiere. Exploring corruption in countries including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, and documenting how this impacts the likes of the EU.

WHITE NOISE (dir: Daniel Lombroso, USA). UK Premiere. The disturbing inside story of the alt-right, as white nationalist violence surges in America and across the world.

POWER, PROFIT AND POPULISM: THE BATTLE FOR HARD BREXIT (dir: Tom Costello, Germany). UK Premiere. A behind-the-scenes look at the thinktanks and lobbyists who supported the Leave campaign.

SOROS (dir: Jesse Dylan, USA). UK Premiere. With unprecedented access, this documentary pulls back the curtain on the personal history, private wealth and public activism of billionaire George Soros – one of the most influential and controversial figures of our time.

FAR EASTERN GOLGOTHA (dir: Julia Sergina, Russia). UK Premiere. A small-town taxi driver ends up in danger and in prison for sharing his opinions on a YouTube channel, illustrating how impossible it is to show any form of opposition in Putin’s Russia.

CHILDREN OF THE ENEMY (dir: Gorki Glaser-Müller, Sweden/Denmark/Qatar). UK Premiere. A grandfather campaigns to bring his orphaned grandchildren home to Sweden from a Syrian detention camp.

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>> QUEER: the full rainbow spectrum of LGBTQ+ cinema

MIGUEL’S WAR (dir: Eliane Raheb, Lebanon/Spain/Germany). UK Premiere. Winner of the Teddy Award at Berlin, the story of a gay man from Lebanon living in exile in Spain, who returns to his native country after 37 years to confront his traumatic past.

THE POP SONG (dir: Raúl Portero, Spain). World Premiere. Shot on a small budget in b&w, this classic arthouse indie explores the loss and grief of a past relationship as friends come together for a funeral.

GIRL LIKE YOU (dir: Frances Elliott & Samantha Marlowe, Australia). International Premiere. This touching and insightful documentary portrays a couple battling to stay together as one of them transitions genders.

AGAINST THE CURRENT (dir: Óskar Páll Sveinsson, Iceland). UK Premiere. Having spent a lifetime battling social expectations, a trans woman from Iceland attempts to become the first person to kayak against the current around the 2,000 km Icelandic coastline.

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>> SCREAMDANCE: the festival’s new signature horror strand

FATHER OF FLIES (dir: Ben Charles Edwards, UK/USA). World Premiere. A haunting tale of family life, starring Camilla Rutherford alongside Nicholas Tucci in his final role.

THE SECRET OF SINCHANEE (dir: Steven Grayhm, USA). International Premiere. The survivor of a double murder returns to his childhood home only to discover a paranormal presence.

WHERE’S ROSE (dir: John Mathis, USA). International Premiere. A missing girl is seemingly found, but her brother enters a deadly game of cat-and-mouse to discover who or what has really taken her place.

THE WELDER (dir: David Liz, USA). International Premiere. A traumatised ex-soldier takes what should be a relaxing holiday with her boyfriend, only to find themselves in a fight for their lives.

VAMPIR (dir: Branko Tomovic, UK/Serbia). UK Premiere. A witness to a crime flees London, deciding to hide himself in a remote Serbian village – but he begins to have nightmarish visions.

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>> SONICA SPONSORED BY SPOTIFY: resonating with music docs and live concert films

LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER: THE RETURN OF MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN (dir: Jesse Lauter, USA). International Premiere. This documentary concert film revisits this historic Joe Cocker tour, featuring performances from Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes), Dave Manson, and Claudia Lennear (20 Feet From Stardom).

I’M WANITA (dir: Matthew Walker, Australia). European Premiere. Documenting a renegade country music singer from regional Australia, hellbent on overcoming hurdles such as her autism to realise her childhood dreams of stardom.

HELMUT LACHENMANN – MY WAY (dir: Wiebke Pöpel, Germany). UK Premiere. An exploration of the life, philosophy and artistry of this experimental German composer.

Michael Caine


The Raindance Film Festival awards system honours features and documentaries in eight categories: Best International Film, Best UK Film, Best Director, Best Performance, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Discovery, Best Documentary.

This year’s jury includes: 

Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve, Harry Potter, True Blood), 
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), 
Tobias Menzies (The Crown, Outlander, Rome), 
Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton, Snatch, Waterloo Road), 
Rakie Ayola (Anthony, The Pact, Grace), 
Jodhi May (A World Apart, Last of the Mohicans, Defiance), 
Dolly Wells (The Offenders, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Doll & Em), 
Robert Sheehan (Love/Hate, Misfits, Song for a Raggy Boy), 
Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Goldfinch), 
Romola Garai (The Hour, Emma, Inside I’m Dancing), 
Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse, Mary Shelly, Bohemian Rhapsody), 
Babou Ceesay (Our Loved Boy, Dark Money, Best of Enemies), 
Mena Massoud (Aladdin, Open Heart, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), 
human rights and LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell, 
director Tarsem Singh, 
The Guardian head of documentaries Lindsay Poulton, 
CNN political commentator S.E Cupp, 
casting associate on the Emmy Award winning show Ted Lasso Olissa Rogers, 
producer Phil Hunt, 
producer Stella Nwimo, 
Arrow Films senior marketing manager Louise Buckler, 
Bulldog Film head of distribution Philip Hoile, 
42 Management literary manager Alex Bloch, 
Film Constellation marketing director & general manager Chloe Tai, 
16 Days 16 Films Johanna Von Fischer, 
Curzon’s director of programme & distribution sales Damian Spandley, 
Spotify’s Olga Puzanova, Leroy Harris and Kieran Lancini, 
Genesis Cinema alternative programming manager Christina Papasotiriou, 
director Gabriel Range (Stardust, 28th Raindance opening gala), 
director Giorgos Georgopoulos (Not To Be Unpleasant But We Need To Have A Serious Talk, 28th Raindance “Film of the Festival”), 
director Amit Dubey (A Fallen Fruit, 28th Raindance “Short Of The Festival”).

Peter Tatchell


Raindance turns back time to give HATING PETER TATCHELL (dir: Christopher Amos, Australia/UK) the gala cinema screening it deserves. Executive produced by Elton John and David Furnish, and starring Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry, this evocative documentary from WildBear Entertainment will be making its UK theatrical premiere at Raindance. With his acts of civil disobedience, Peter Tatchell rocked the establishment, revolutionised attitudes to homosexuality and exposed tyrants in the fight for equality – earning him a place in queer history, and now a Raindance red carpet screening at The May Fair Hotel followed by a Q&A. Hating Peter Tatchell is now streaming on Netflix.

Documenting the soul of American music, 2014’s Take Me To The River won awards at festivals including Raindance and SXSW. Now the second film TAKE ME TO THE RIVER: NEW ORLEANS (dir: Martin Shore) celebrates the rich musical history, legacy and influence of New Orleans and Louisiana. This Out-of-Competition gala at The May Fair Hotel will feature a DJ plus special guests including director Martin Shore, Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), and Ian Neville (from the band Dumpstaphunk who feature on the upcoming Take Me To The River: New Orleans LP release, and son of Art “Papa Funk” Neville from The Meters and The Neville Brothers).

An Out-Of-Competition gala, the European Premiere of Japanese anime THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE – THE AGE OF ELOHIM (dir: Isamu Imakake, Japan) is set 150 million years ago, at a time when Earth was in harmony under Elohim – but forces from the dark side of the universe are intent on destruction.

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This year the Raindance Film Festival, along with the Cyprus High Commision in the UK and Invest Cyprus, will showcase the country as a filming location, as well as presenting a programme of glorious new films from Cyprus. A Greek former champion diver takes an adventurous road-trip of rediscovery with a handsome German student in THE MAN WITH THE ANSWERS (dir: Stelios Kammitsis, Cyprus/Greece). A musician’s plan to leave crisis-ridden Cyprus must be amended when his dog Jimi runs away and crosses the UN Buffer Zone that divides the Greek and Turkish sides of the island in SMUGGLING HENDRIX (dir: Marios Piperides, Cyprus/Germany/Greece). A wife attempts to escape her oppressive marriage by finding refuge in a fantasy world of vindictive violence in PAUSE (dir: Tonia Mishiali, Cyprus). A woman begins a hesitant friendship with a shy and defiant teenage girl in PATCHWORK (dir: Petros Charalambous, Cyprus). And a masterclass by award-winning cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos.

Still from Paper Beast


The indie community spirit exists in VR just as it does in film. Indie VR creators, game developers and avatar designers are laying the foundation blocks of the metaverse, building virtual worlds and creating virtual spaces where the VR community come together. Curated by Mária Rakušanová with virtual worlds co-curated by Joe Hunting, this year’s Raindance Immersive is powered by HTC VIVES’s Viveport and VRChat, with immersive VR games and experiences competing for seven awards – Raindance is the only film festival in the world to recognise and award VR on this scale.


THE METAMOVIE PRESENTS: ALIEN RESCUE (creators: Jason Moore, Avinash Changa, Chris Insana). A vast, cinematic VR adventure with supporting characters played by live actors. This revolutionary shared experience combines immersive VR storytelling, live theatre, role-playing and video game mechanics.

GLIMPSE (creator: Benjamin Cleary, Michael O’Connor, Lee Harris, Julianna Barwick). Having previewed at Raindance 2019, and following its World Premiere at Venice, this animated love story features a heartbroken panda who’s recently broken up with his deer girlfriend, voiced by Taron Egerton and Lucy Boynton.

KNIGHT OF THE WAILING STARS (creators: Louis Cacciuttolo, Denis Semionov, m1n0t0r). Players travel to mystical planets in this immersive journey through the music of electronic artist m1n0t0r.

THE PIRATE QUEEN (creators: Eloise Singer, Maja Bodenstein, Will Brosch, Dave Raynard). Multi-award winner Eloise Singer has produced films that have screened at top international film festivals, including Raindance. Here she co-creates her first VR: a puzzle-based adventure game that centres on Cheng I Sao, a Chinese widow who became the world’s most powerful pirate in the lead up to the Opium Wars.

NATURE TREKS: TOGETHER (creators: John Carline, Eleftheria Kalograni, Sergiu-Robert Ursulescu). A multiplayer meditative game for up to 16 players. Explore a beautiful island paradise, connect with others, and transition into a powerful sensory experience.

SPACEFOLK CITY (creators: Therése Pierrau, Chris McLaughlin, Alex May, Frankie Hobbins, Taylor Keator, Ben Sherratt, Joe Bain, Vincent Diamante). Build your own city of bizarre buildings, and help its citizens save themselves from the danger of their dying sun in this VR city simulator.

DAGON: BY H. P. LOVECRAFT (creators: Hubert Mróz, Maciej Górny). This Polish VR studio has created a free daemonic narrative experience, inspired by a short story by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.

SUSHI BEN VR (creator: Kane Tyler Garrett, Brian Hicks, Ian Navarro Silver, Alli Hockaday, Tanner Carson, Zerolchi). A preview of this anime-style narrative game enhanced by 3D manga panels, in which a sushi bar is going out of business – and it’s up to you to save it.

BELONGINGS (creator: Carol Silverman). The haze of memory blurs the line between ordinary and precious as a woman’s possessions tell the story of the life she lived in this highly interactive VR experience.


Still from Split Sole


Raindance is an Oscar-qualifying festival. The recipient of Best Short Of The Festival is eligible for consideration in the Short Film category of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run (provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules). Highlights include Andrew Kötting’s DISEASED AND DISORDERLY which utilises the artworks of neuro-diversive artist Eden Kötting to take us on a fantastical journey. Award-winning Michelle Coomber explores Ugandan tradition in the ethereal documentary NSENENE. Two young men secretly express their feelings for each other through dance against a backdrop of homophobia in SPLIT SOLE. Director-duo rubberband collaborate with musician Topaz Jones for DON’T GO TELLIN’ YOUR MOMMA, which won awards at Sundance and SXSW for its quasi-documentary portrayal of black educators in 1970s Chicago.

Shorts programmes include Guardian Picks by Guardian Documentaries, comprising documentary shorts with narratives relevant to today. These include THE RETURN, the story of a family in the Ecuadorian Amazon who move deeper into the jungle in response to the coronavirus pandemic; and SINDICAT, documenting a group of young volunteers in a Barcelona suburb trying to counteract the housing crisis.

The new subscription-free streaming platform Paus will exclusively preview a selection of short films ahead of their Raindance premiere. These will screen in a series of 24-hour windows between 15 September – 15 October on the paus iOS app, Android app and the streaming website. Paus aims to disrupt the traditional streaming models that rely on adverts or intrusive payments, by instead allowing viewers to support filmmakers directly by virtual tipping.


Raindance announces the inaugural edition of The House of Raindance. Based in the heart of central London just steps from Charing Cross Station, The House of Raindance is an exclusive space where filmmakers, audience members, and industry professionals can come together to engage and explore what the future of cinema has to offer today. At our morning coffee club guests can prepare themselves for the day ahead, and our evening happy hours offer time to network and reflect on the future of film. The House of Raindance Pass offers full access to our programming on site, including more than 30 panels and talks covered in our Industry Forum and an exciting curation of exclusive virtual reality content in The Raindance Immersive VR Programme. Individual day passes will also be available, though with so many events to choose from, you won’t want to miss a moment of it.


This year’s expanded edition of the Raindance Industry Forum (28 October – 6 November) celebrates the future of Independent Cinema. With over thirty talks covering topics from the evolution of Sound Design in Virtual Reality to the explosive transition of Drag Performances from Stage to Screen, we invite our industry delegates to join us in The House of Raindance for a series of thought-provoking discussions and presentations

We’ve invited some of our favourite filmmakers and industry experts to explore a range of technical, cultural, and cutting-edge subjects designed to educate and inspire. Now more than ever, we as an industry must look forward. This programme has been curated to explore a future we can all be excited about.


Raindance in collaboration with Vuulr will offer a global content marketplace for filmmakers in the Official Selection, connecting them with distributors and buyers of content worldwide 24/7. Filmmakers from the past few years will also be invited to join this new online marketplace venture.

Another new partner for 2021, Raindance will manage its expenses spending with Soldo, the payment and spend management automation platform for business.


Raindance tells powerful stories via the medium of film: shining a light on injustice, amplifying the whistleblowers, and championing the activists and campaigners who fight for equality and a better world. Raindance endeavours to share these stories with as broad and engaged an audience as possible: but not everyone can easily afford to go to the cinema. That’s why Raindance is partnering with Greenlit on a new crowdfunding initiative. The aim is simple: to provide FREE TICKETS to festival films from strands including Politico, Queer and Female Gaze.

Free tickets will be provided to people from marginalized communities such as young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, BIPOC communities, refugees, and the socially isolated. Tickets will be allocated with the input of partner organisations and charities including Total Arts, The Cares Family and Micro Rainbow. By donating the cost of just one ticket you could help to inspire a young trans activist, give a disillusioned refugee a new sense of purpose, energise a campaigner on disability rights, or bring a sense of community to someone who feels lonely and isolated. Independent film is a powerful medium – so help Raindance utilise film to motivate, edify and inspire others.

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