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Raindance Film Festival

03 September 2009

This year’s Raindance Film Festival is almost upon us and as usual there’s a veritable smorgasbord of independent films coming your way with over 75 features and 150 shorts, special events and master classes.

The 17th Annual Festival Opens this year on the 30th September with Lynn Shelton’s critically acclaimed comedy Humpday and there’s bound to be something for everyone.  In the Homegrown category, celebrating the best of British Independent film, there’s everything from Colin, a British zombie horror movie reportedly shot for £45 (these days you can barely make two tickets to the cinema and popcorn stretch to 40 quid, so that should be interesting), to The Cry of The Owl, a thriller featuring Paddy Constantine (soon to be seen in Shane Meadows’ mockumentary Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee) and Julia Stiles (of 10 Things I Hate About You fame).

The festival will also feature films in the Japanese category, this year focusing on female Japanese directors and will include the premiere of Momoko Ando’s Kakera and work by the prolific director Sachi Hamano (who’s directed over 300 films).  Along with the aforementioned Humpday, the American indie strand will feature David Carradine in one of his last performances in My Suicide and the return of director Steve Balderson with his noir women’s prison film Stuck!  The documentary strand will feature controversial films such as A Necessary Death, a point of view portrait about suicide and My Big Break, a 10 year undertaking following the lives of one house which includes Wes Bentley (of American Beauty Fame) and Brad Rowe.

This year will also feature an entire strand dedicated to music and film – The Raindance Symphony Orchestra, which will feature the premiere of The Mighty Boosh Tour Doc (Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt are expected to attend).  Of particular note is Breaking Rocks, a documentary about the Jail Guitar Doors project started by Billy Bragg which aims to rehabilitate prisoners through music.  The Proud Galleries will be hosting a screening of the film followed by live performances from Billy Bragg himself, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters and Wayne Kramer from MC5 who The Clash song Jail Guitar Doors was originally written about.

Even before the festival’s even started, it’s already managed to raise eyebrows.  The trailer for the festival received a 15 rating but it’s been banned to general audiences because the Cinema Advertising Association believes that the film might cause “undue fear and distress” to viewers because of its “snuff” nature.  Personally, I think it’s pretty harmless and good fun, so I’d urge you to check out the Raindance site which has it in full.

There’s so much to check out that it seems almost daunting, but if history’s any indicator, there should be some real gems as Raindance saw the premieres of Pulp Fiction, The Blair Witch Project and Memento.  If you’ve got any interest in film at all, you should put Raindance in your diary.

For more information and full programme, see www.raindance.co.uk