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Raindance Opens With ‘Problemski Hotel,’ Closes With ‘Planet Mars’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Manu Riche’s “Problemski Hotel” will open the 24th edition of London’s Raindance Film Festival, which closes with Dominik Moll’s “News from Planet Mars.” Both screenings will be U.K. premieres.

The festival said both films were “international and unique in their creativity and ability to captivate audiences.”

Riche’s film, which is inspired by Dimitri Verhulst’s novel of the same name, is “both timely and riveting,” the festival said. The pic reveals “the changes that occur in the lives of several people born in areas affected by war and armed conflict. The characters find themselves ejected from their daily lives and propeled into the Kafkaesque absurdity of the refugees’ no-man’s land,” the festival said.

“Problemski Hotel” stars Evgenia Brendes, Carlo Ferrante and Gokhan Girginol; it is a Belgian and Dutch co-production.

Riche’s credits include “Snake Dance” and “Can a Man Change the City.”

Eccentric French comedy “News from Planet Mars,” which stars Francois Damiens and Vincent Macaigne, follows a 49-year-old father, Philippe Mars (Damiens), “whose well-meaning and balanced approach to life is challenged by increasingly chaotic and absurd circumstances,” according to a statement.

“Dealing with his rebellious children, his artist sister and an over-the-top work colleague [Macaigne] who moves into his apartment, Philippe’s world goes from bad to worse in this darkly comic take on family life.”

Moll’s credits include “Lemming” and “With a Friend Like Harry…”

“For this year’s festival, we really wanted to enrapture our audiences with our film selection for opening and closing night,” commented Raindance founder Elliot Grove. “Each film is very different, but both stand out as great pieces of independent and international cinema.”

“Problemski Hotel” and “News from Planet Mars” will screen at London’s Picturehouse Central on Sept. 21 and Oct. 2, respectively. The festival will screen 90 feature films and 85 short films.

Last week the festival announced its jury members, competition films in its feature, short and web series categories. and the full line-up for its inaugural VR Arcade.

Its Music Strand, Co-Production Forum and Industry Days lineups, and additional jury members will be announced on Sept. 13.

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