Films - Raindance Film Festival

2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the Raindance Film Festival, the UK’s leading indie film festival, and this year’s edition will be a celebration of 30 years of independent film in the UK. Here's what to look forward to...

Press Release

Running from 26th October – 5th November, Raindance will revisit some of the most pivotal films from its archive in a series of special screenings. Raindance will also look towards the next 30 years with a programme of fresh, relevant, and radical world premieres plus must-see titles presented in the UK by Raindance from the international film festival circuit.

“Over the past 30 years, UK cinemagoers have come to Raindance and joined us in discovering some of the greatest independent films ever made,” says Raindance founder Elliot Grove. “Raindance launched back in 1993 with the World Premiere of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Tarantino’s iconic Pulp Fiction made its UK debut at Raindance in 1994. In 1999, Raindance hosted the UK premiere of ground-breaking found footage mocumentary The Blair Witch Project. We hit the bullseye again in 2000 with the UK premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Memento. And in 2004, we presented Park Chan-wook’s neo-noir thriller Oldboy, a classic of modern South Korean cinema. But it isn’t all about discovering now-famous films such as these: a champion of indie cinema in every guise and genre, equally important to us are the underrated, under-the-radar films that you might not see anywhere else but here. What will Raindance’s next landmark moment be? Join us in cinemas or via streaming in 2022 and see what you discover.”

Venues for 2022 are Curzon Soho, Genesis Cinema, Rio Cinema and The Garden Cinema. The film programme will be available throughout the UK via new streaming partner Bohemia Euphoria.

Corner Office - Jon Hamm

OPENING GALA: CORNER OFFICE (dir: Joachim Back, Canada)

International Premiere. Mad Men star Jon Hamm returns to office life, playing a corporate drone trying to move up from his entry-level job, only to discover a secret room. An absurdist indie comedy, adapted from Jonas Karlsson’s acclaimed novella. Director Joachim Back will take part in a post-screening Q&A, followed by a gala red carpet opening party at the Waldorf Hilton.

Pinball - The Man Who saved the game. Two kids and a man play a pinball machine


International Premiere. BAFTA-nominated for West Side Story, Mike Faist stars as Roger Sharpe, the young GQ journalist who in 1976 helped overturn New York City’s 35-year ban on pinball machines. Genesis Cinema will become a pinball arcade for a retro-themed closing party.

Oldboy poster


Never one to follow the crowd, Raindance champions the independent-minded individuals who stay true to their instinct: the free spirits of cinema. As part of its celebration of 30 years of independent cinema in the UK, the festival will highlight the mavericks whose work and authenticity has contributed to both the Raindance story and the broader history of independent cinema. Alongside premieres of new films, there’ll be special presentations of iconic independent films that premiered in the UK at Raindance. Screening 28-31 October at the pop-up Raindance Backyard Cinema at Genesis Cinema will be special immersive presentations of: PULP FICTION (dir: Quentin Tarantino, USA, 1994), THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (dir: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, USA, 1999), MEMENTO (dir: Christopher Nolan, USA, 2000), and OLDBOY (dir: Park Chan-wook, South Korea, 2003).

Special screenings of new films include the World Premiere of A BIT OF LIGHT (dir: Stephen Moyer, UK), a complex and thoughtful family drama starring Anna Paquin and Ray Winstone alongside Pippa Bennett-Warner, Youssef Kerkour and Rebecca Callard. Director Stephen Moyer will join cast and guests on the red carpet at Curzon Soho.

Director Moshe Rosenthal will take part in a Raindance Masterclass, as well as present the UK Premiere of KARAOKE (dir: Moshe Rosenthal, Israel), a bittersweet comedy about a middle-aged couple who join their new neighbour’s karaoke evenings.

The World Premiere of BANGLATOWN (dir: Dishad Husain, UK) is a British Asian feature set in east London’s vibrant Banglatown. With nods to Bollywood and Chuck Norris, it follows a struggling actor facing house eviction who uses his acting skills to fall in with a local gangster.

PAMFIR - Man sits on a bench in a surreal landscape


>> DEBUT: maverick features by first-time directors

PAMFIR (dir: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk, Ukraine) UK Premiere. Nominated for the Golden Camera at Cannes, it’s the story of a former criminal who is trying to be a decent family man but returns to crime to help pay a family debt.

GENTLE (dir: László Csuja, Anna Nemes, Hungary/Germany). UK Premiere. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, it’s the sensitive portrayal of a female bodybuilder and her complex relationship with her life partner and trainer.

MARCEL! (dir: Jasmine Trinca, Italy/France). UK Premiere. This multi award-winning Italian actress made her directorial debut with the short Being My Mum, presented at Raindance 2021. Nominated for the Golden Camera at Cannes, her debut feature follows a mother who reconnects with her neglected young daughter whilst searching for her beloved lost dog.

ROVING WOMAN (dir: Michal Chmielewski, USA/Poland). International Premiere. Co-written by and starring Lena Gora alongside Oscar-nominated actor John Hawkes, it follows a Polish migrant in LA who is kicked out by her famous boyfriend and ends up on the road with nothing. Executive produced by Oscar-nominated director Wim Wenders.

BROADWAY (dir: Christos Massalas, Greece/France/Romania). UK Premiere. During the Greek economic crisis, a group of young street performers and pickpockets find refuge in an abandoned entertainment complex and form a makeshift family.

FALCON LAKE (dir: Charlotte Le Bon, France/Canada). UK Premiere. Two teenagers form a singular bond whilst on a summer vacation, which becomes a turbulent pivotal moment for the young boy.

Four Samosas - four people standing by a road in the desert

>> INTERNATIONAL: must-see titles selected from the international film festival circuit

TO LESLIE (dir: Michael Morris, USA). Critically acclaimed at SXSW, it’s the melancholy tale of a Texas single mom who had won the lottery – but quickly squandered all the money, and now fights to rebuild her life. Inspired by true events, it stars Andrea Riseborough, Allison Janney and Stephen Root.

MET MES (dir: Sam de Jong, Netherlands). UK Premiere. Having premiered in Rotterdam, this surreal tale with a vibrant 90s aesthetic is the story of a successful TV personality who exaggerates the story of a robbery to maximise her insurance – with unforeseen circumstances.

THE CODE OF SILENCE (dir: Francesco Costabile, Italy). UK Premiere. Following its Berlin premiere, and with a focus on women resisting the violent fate of the Mafia in southern Italy, it’s the story of a rebellious young woman whose life is upturned when an event resurfaces from her past.

SWALLOW (dir: Hee-il Leesong, South Korea). World Premiere. A twisted love story, focusing on a son whose mother disappeared, and who now faces the truth that was hidden for 30 years.

FOUR SAMOSAS (dir: Ravi Kapoor, USA). International Premiere. Mixing arthouse flair with a crowd-pleasing Bollywoood vibe, it follows a South Asian American rapper who aims to disrupt his ex-girlfriend’s pending engagement by planning a heist to steal her wedding diamonds.

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MARRIAGE (dir: Signe Baumane, Latvia/USA). London Premiere. An animated tale of inner female rebellion, Succession’s Dagmara Dominczyk voices a spirited young woman who grew up with songs and fairytales – stories that convinced her that love would solve all her problems.

Little Axel - Leonard Cohen and step son

>> DOCUMENTARIES: powerful and relevant narratives.

WHEN WE SPEAK (dir: Tas Brooker, UK). European Premiere. Actress Rose McGowan, Oxfam aid worker Helen Evans, and British Intelligence employee Katharine Gun are three whistleblowers who share their motivations, experiences, and the fallout, probing what happens when women speak up.

LITTLE AXEL (dir: Fabien Greenberg, Bård Kjøge Rønning, Norway). UK Premiere. The stepson of Leonard Cohen opens up about the difficulties growing up within a bohemian community, and the mental health issues he’s since faced.

RELATIVE (dir: Tracey Arcabasso Smith, USA). UK Premiere. While confronting her childhood sexual abuse, the filmmaker unearths a pervasive history of intergenerational abuse in her seemingly-idyllic family.

SPANTON VS THE FRENCH POLICE (dir: Ovidie, France). UK Premiere. This exploration of the meaning of consent spotlights a famous French trial whereby two policemen were accused of raping a Canadian tourist.

BAWA’S GARDEN (dir: Clara Kraft Isono, UK). UK Premiere. Artistic and contemplative, documenting the work of Sri Lanka’s most influential architect, Geoffrey Bawa, the pioneer of Tropical Modernism.

DOGWATCH (dir: Gregoris Rentis, Greece/France). UK Premiere. Documenting the mercenaries hired to protect huge cargo ships from pirates off the Somali coastline – who nowadays more commonly face boredom. With an experimental dub score composed by Forest Swords.

MY NAME IS ANDREA (dir: Pratibha Parmar, USA). London Premiere. A hybrid documentary-drama based on the life of feminist poet Andrea Dworkin, who called out sexism decades before #MeToo, with a cast including Soko, Ashley Judd, Amandla Stenberg and Andrea Riseborough.

Goldfish - two women sit in a garden

>> HOMEGROWN: the best new films conceived and created right here

GOLDFISH (dir: Pushan Kripalani, UK). European Premiere. Starring award-winning Indian-born French actress Kalki Koechin as a daughter who moves back home to deal with her mother’s dementia – but she must also deal with the scars of her childhood.

NIGHT BURNS LIKE CIGARETTES (dir: Elisabeth Felson, UK). World Premiere. An impactful film poem about light pollution in London at night, narrated by Lily Cole, and with singer-songwriter Kwaye.

SWEDE CAROLINE (dir: Finn Bruce, Brook Driver, UK). World Premiere. The directorial debut of Raindance alumni and BIFA nominee Finn Bruce, it’s a very British comedy set in the world of competitive vegetable growers. The cast includes BIFA-nominated Jo Hartley, BAFTA-winning Aisling Bea, Welsh BAFTA winner Celyn Jones, plus Ray Fearon, Richard Lumsden and Fay Ripley.

OUR RIVER… OUR SKY (dir: Maysoon Pachachi, UK/Iraq). UK Premiere. Set in Baghdad in the middle of the Iraq War, a group of traumatised, war-weary characters face dilemmas about their future.

WINNERS (dir: Hassan Nazer, UK). London Premiere. An Audience Award nominee at Edinburgh, it follows a group of cinema-loving children in a small Iranian town who find a film award statuette, so they decide to try and find its owner.

Iguana Like The Sun - Woman on beach looking at two men on donkeys

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

ERIN’S GUIDE TO KISSING GIRLS (dir: Julianna Notten, Canada). European Premiere. A Heartstopper-style feel-good feature that follows all the drama and emotion ahead of a big school dance. Followed by Raindance’s colourful and celebratory Queer Prom Party.

WAKE UP, LEONARD (dir: Kat Mills Martin, USA). European Premiere. LGBTQIA+ mental health and wellbeing is put in the spotlight as we follow the messy life choices of a between-jobs actor.

PALOMA (dir: Marcelo Gomes, Brazil/Portugal). UK Premiere. A transgender woman confronts life challenges when the local priest refuses her request for a traditional church wedding.

IGUANA LIKE THE SUN (dir: Julián Robles, Mexico). World Premiere. Based on a theatre play, and set in a small Mexican town during a solar eclipse, it’s the colourful story of a family with broken dreams.

Razorlight Fall to Pieces

>> SONICA: resonating with music docs and access-all-areas stories

RAZORLIGHT: FALL TO PIECES (dir: Ben Lowe, UK). World Premiere. The debut feature of Raindance alumni Ben Lowe is an intimate, all-access documentary following this seminal English indie band on the road to reforming. Razorlight will take part in a Q&A (tbc), plus afterparty.

TRACES OF GLORY (dir: Mark Davis, USA). World Premiere. Documenting the cult LA slowcore band Idaho.

OKAY! THE ASD BAND FILM (dir: Mark Bone, Canada). UK Premiere. The heart-warming tale of a group of autistic musicians.

ANONYMOUS CLUB (dir: Danny Cohen, Australia). A rare glimpse at Grammy- and Brit Award-nominated singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett.

Pantafa - angry girl swinging baseball bat

>> SCREAMDANCE: Raindance’s indie twist on horror

Alongside new films in this Halloween-ready strand, there’ll be special presentations of iconic independent films that premiered in the UK at Raindance:

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (dir: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, USA, 1999)

OLDBOY (dir: Park Chan-wook, South Korea, 2003)

PANTAFA (dir: Emanuele Scaringi, Italy). World Premiere. Award-winning actress Kasia Smutniak stars as a mother who moves from the city to an Italian village, where a local myth tells of a witch who steals children.

LOW LIFE (dir: Tyler Michael James, USA). European Premiere. A YouTuber who catfishes child predators online, experiences a night from hell when he lets one of them into his own home.

Father's Day - Two women stand in a river

>> AN IMMIGRANT’S TALE: a cinematic celebration of Black History Month

Curated for Raindance by the New Black Film Collective, this new strand incorporates archive screenings of ground-breaking films alongside powerful new cinematic visions of Africa.

BLACK GIRL (dir: Ousmane Sembene, Senegal, 1966)

DAUGHTER’S OF THE DUST (dir: Julie Dash, USA/Germany, 1991)

FATHER’S DAY (dir: Kivu Ruhorahoza, Rwanda). London Premiere. A criminal introducing his son to a life of living by his wits, and a woman caring for the ailing father she never loved, are two of the patriarchal relationships portrayed in this complex and contemporary African feature.

NANNY (dir: Nikyatu Jusu, USA). An immigrant nanny caring for the child of an Upper East Side family is forced to confront a concealed truth that threatens to shatter her precarious American Dream. This Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner could be described as Black Girl in a modern setting.


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: Damian Lewis (Billions, Homeland, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Band of Brothers), Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey, Mank, Our House, War & Peace), Phoebe Fox (The Great, The Aeronauts, Woman in Black: Angel of Death), Tom Bateman (Thirteen Lives, Death on the Nile, Behind Her Eyes), Naomi Scott (Anatomy of a Scandal, Aladdin, Charlie’s Angels), Weruche Opia (I May Destroy You, High Desert, Slumberland), Daniel Brühl (Good Bye, Lenin!, Rush, The First Avenger: Civil War, The Alienist), Holliday Grainger (The Capture, Great Expectations, Cinderella), Lydia West (Years and Years, It’s a Sin, Dracula), Naomie Harris (The Man Who Fell To Earth, Moonlight, Skyfall), Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody, Murder on the Orient Express, The Ipcress File), Colin Morgan (Merlin, Mammals, Borderland), Lara Pulver (Sherlock, The Split, Maternal), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, Three Body Problem), Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Titans), Anne-Marie Duff (Bad Sisters, Suffragette, Nowhere Boy)

Film critic & Girls on Film podcast host Anna Smith, Director & winner of Raindance Discovery Award at BIFA 2021 Celeste Bell, Founder and CEO of Modern Films Eve Gabereau, Head of Programme for Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest Muffin Hix, Founder and director of the International Latino Film Festival - San Francisco Sylvia Perel, Filmmaker and Jarman Award Recipient Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Creative Director of We are Parable Anthony Andrews, Festival Manager at Memento International Anais Gagliardi, Producer and founder of Joi Productions Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Writer-director Luke Cutforth (The Drowning Of Arthur Braxton, Raindance 2021 Best UK Feature), Founder and CEO of ScreenHits TV Rose Hulse, Film London’s Head of Film Culture Paul Bowman.

Stepan and Friends - Cat with a wine glass


For the seventh year in a row, Raindance is celebrating all independent XR creators, game designers, virtual world builders and performers with the festival’s vanguard Raindance Immersive programme. Running 26 October – 26 November, this year’s selection is a mix of World Premieres and special first-look previews. The immersive indie community are laying the foundation blocks of the metaverse, creating new forms of virtual spaces where communities can come together. Curated by Mária Rakušanová with virtual worlds co-curated by Joe Hunting, this year’s Raindance Immersive Online Showcase is hosted by HTC VIVES’s Viveport and VRChat. The nominated immersive experiences, games, virtual worlds and live performances compete for seven awards.



BLOODBATH (creators: Tim Voronkin, Viktoria Lopukhina, Oksana Syhareva). Created by a 17-year old Ukrainian in exile, with a team including his mother as art director, this VR experience begins with visitors making a moral choice, after which they see the events unfold on the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Snake Island – now a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.

STEPHAN & FRIENDS (creators: M1n0t0r, VRrOOm, Mlemkid, Denis Semenov). Ukraine’s most famous cat, Stepan gained worldwide fame on social media. When Russian invaded, Stepan and his owner Anna had to flee Kharkiv, eventually finding a safe haven in France. Since finding refuge, they have been fundraising to provide aid for animals affected by the war, via the charities Happy Paw, UAnimals, Mykolaiv Zoo, XII Months and Plyushka. And now French electronic music composer and virtual DJ, M1n0t0r, will perform a special charity DJ set inside a custom-made world in VRChat.

MUNICH 72 (creators: Matthias Leitner, Eva Deinert). During the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Palestinian terrorists take members of the Israeli team hostage. This walk-through documentary in VRChat traces what happened 50 years ago. ONCE A GLACIER (creators: Jiabao Li, Jenny Qinya Guo, Denis Semenov, Kirill Klochkov, Matt McCorkle, Joan Naviyuk Kane). Reflecting the climate crisis, this VR experience is about a girl and her relationship with a glacier. As the girl grows older, the piece of ice is threatened, and the viewer is taken on a journey through her seemingly futile efforts to protect what was once an entire glacier.


CALL OF THE SEA VR – SPECIAL PREVIEW (creators: Tatiana Delgado Yunquera, Manuel Fernández-Truchaud Lorenzo, Daniel Nombela López, Carlos Montamarta). The VR version of the BAFTA nominated game from indie developer Out of the Blue. A narrative puzzle adventure, you play as a woman on the trail of her missing husband’s expedition in the 1930s to a strange South Pacific island.

DYSCHRONIA: CHRONOS ALTERNATE (creators: Ao Matsuoka, LAM, Yosuke Kori, Genz, Yuki Onuma). A VR SciFi adventure game where the player has to investigate an impossible murder, travelling between Dream and Reality, Past and Present.

JUPITER & MARS (creators: James Mielke, Sam Kennedy, Andre Elijah, Noah Rayburn). Acclaimed VR underwater adventure game where you control two dolphins and save the oceans.

TOWNSCAPER (creator: Oskar Stålberg). Build quaint island towns with curvy streets, small hamlets, soaring cathedrals, canal networks, or sky cities on stilts in this experimental passion project.


OXYMORE BY JEAN-MICHEL JARRE (creators: Jean-Michel Jarre, Louis Cacciuttolo, Georgy Molodtsov, Pavel Pavlyukov, Dmitry Vorobyov, Antony Vitillo). Jean-Michel Jarre’s latest music creation takes place in Oxyville, a virtual city inspired by iconic electronic music instruments, in homage to Pierre Henry.

SKITS & GIGGLES (creator: Kiira Benzing, Alyssa Landry). A rollicking mix of sketches and musical numbers, pushing the limits of live VR performance in Horizon Worlds, where no two performances are ever the same.

PARALLEL PEOPLE (creators: Owen Hindley, Nanna Gunnars, Ástþór Ágústsson). An interactive theatre experience for 5 audience members, trapped in a transparent box in an unfamiliar landscape. There’s a voice trying to guide you, and outside is a Caretaker, but are they telling the truth?

OFF-RAIL (creators: Ari Tarr, Jesse Fernandez, Boom Slang; cast: Dasha Kittredge, Max Maliga, Kevin Laibson, Mandy Canales). A parody of a western-themed VR/AI theme park of the future, featuring VR comedy improvisers.


BULLET TIME AGENT – SPECIAL PREVIEW (creator: Lakuza) A special preview of the first 15 minutes of the next adventure game by Lakuza, coming soon to VRChat. Playing as a secret agent, you are tasked with stealing a mysterious technology from a facility – but things don’t go as planned.

EXPOSURE (creator: 青木 Aoki, The Creator). A game in the VRChat social platform, anchored by an expedition to the centre of the Milky Way. The project is an opportunity to further advance theories on the nature of the Universe, and discover how one gravitating phenomenon can provide a strong magnetic field against a mass of antimatter.

LOST VALLEY LAKE RETREAT (creator: NProwler). Grab your hiking boots, swimming trunks and some friends for this open world experience in VRChat. Explore, swim, drive a jet ski, play chess, and retreat back to nature.

UNCANNY ALLEY (creator: Rick Treweek). A virtual place that comments of Metaverse themes and concepts inspired from the real world.


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).

Shorts highlights include the World Premiere of EVERYBODY DIES… SOMETIMES (dir: Charlotte Hamblin, UK), with a cast including Matthew Horne (Gavin & Stacey) and Tanya Reynolds (Sex Education). A European Premiere, IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING (dir: Derrick Scocchera, USA) is a social satire narrated by Stephen Fry. Narrated by Tilda Swinton, THE DONG WITH THE LUMINOUS NOSE (dir: Jonny Phillips, UK) is a modern realisation of Edward Lear’s haunting poem. A UK Premiere, MURMURS OF THE JUNGLE (dir: Sohil Vaidya, India) is a mystical documentary evoking the infinite cycle of life, death and rebirth. The UK Premiere of OPERATOR VICTORIA (dir: Anna Sobolevska, Ukraine) is a challenging, character-driven short about a woman on the verge of suicide. A UK Premiere, SAME OLD (dir: Lloyd Lee Choi, USA) is the story of a Chinese immigrant trying to make ends meet as a delivery worker in an American city. The lives of four individuals collide after a horrific accident in the European Premiere of HOLADIRIO (dir: Mariel Sosa, Peru). A drifter has nightmares of men trapped inside the bodies of farm animals in the horror short SKIN & BONE (dir: Eli Powers, USA) starring Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski. Altogether, there are nine short film programmes and a music videos programme.


This year's Raindance Industry Sessions will be a collection of independent filmmaking workshops and masterclasses hosted at the Bar Stage of Genesis Cinema. Most of the sessions will be presented by filmmakers who have films screening as part of the official selection of this year's Raindance Film Festival. Over 15 sessions cover topics as wide-ranging as Screen Combat Directing, the art of Breaking Down & Scheduling a Script, and what are the Do's and Don’ts of Music Documentary Filmmaking. The Raindance Immersive Summit (27th Oct) will feature talks by XR creators, Metaverse world builders as well as a special screening of WE MET IN VIRTUAL REALITY, a documentary filmed entirely in virtual reality inside the burgeoning VRChat social platform.

Find out more and book tickets at

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