Raindance opens with ‘Humpday’

U.K. indie film festival to close Oct. 11

The 17th Raindance Film Festival, the U.K.’s leading indie fest, opened Wednesday with helmer-scribe Lynn Shelton’s laffer “Humpday.”

Pic, which nabbed the special jury prize at Sundance, centers on two straight buddies who test the limits of their friendship when they attempt to make a gay porn video. Pic has been picked up by Vertigo Films in the U.K.

Other films with local distribution include Steven Soderbergh’s “The Girlfriend Experience,” which closes the fest on Oct. 11; Marc Price’s ultra-low-budget zombie pic “Colin,” made for just £45 ($72); and Sean McConville’s thriller “Deadline.”

World preems in competition include Brett Sullivan’s “Special When Lit,” a doc about the history of the pinball machine; Ozgur Uyanik’s thriller “Resurrecting the Street Walker”; Dom Shaw’s music doc “All the Years of Trying”; Douglas Arrowsmith’s music doc “Memory and Desire: 30 Years in the Wilderness With Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time”; and Till Kleinert’s skinhead thriller “The Longest Night.”

Fest jury includes Guardian newspaper columnist and film critic Peter Bradshaw, actress Kerry Fox (“Bright Star”), BBC Films creative director Christine Langan and singer Tom Waits.

Fest has steadily raised its standing over the years to become the U.K.’s premier indie event.

Event topper Elliot Grove said, “The festival is about giving great films a screening and a chance to find audiences who crave something different from the mainstream.” The fest specializes in rock-themed pics, such as world preems “Journey of the Childmen” and “The Hand of Fatima.”

After the opening pic, guests moved to the Latin-themed night spot Floridita in London’s Soho, where partygoers kept festivities going late into the night.

Awards will be handed out Oct. 11.

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