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The Raindance Film Festival

Long running fest focuses on first-timers

The Raindance fest, now entering its 15th edition in London, is the U.K.’s leading celebration of indie cinema.

Raindance focuses on first-time helmers and has given U.K. premieres to “Memento,” “Ghost World,” “Capturing the Friedmans” and Shane Meadows’ “Dead Man’s Shoes.”

Under the stewardship of fest director Elliot Grove, the fest has built up a rep for showcasing edgy rock ‘n’ roll docs and pics. In the past it has programmed cult features “Billy Childish Is Dead,” “The Devil & Daniel Johnston,” “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” and “Brothers of the Head.”

Raindance’s long-running commitment to punk rock cinema has attracted Iggy Pop and the Clash’s Mick Jones to sit on the 2007 jury.

The high regard in which Raindance is held by the Brit industry is underlined by the impressive 2007 jury which, besides Pop and Jones, includes writer-director Penny Woolcock (“Mischief Night”), helmer Andrea Arnold (“Red Road”), producer Simon Channing Williams (“The Constant Gardener”), producer Sandy Lieberson (“Performance”), Tessa Ross, Channel 4 controller of film and drama, and leading cinematographer Brian Tufano.

Fest patrons include esteemed Brit industry figures Ken Loach, Ewan McGregor, Alan Parker, Michael Winterbottom, Vanessa Redgrave and Bill Nighy.

“Raindance has always favored extreme cinema,” Grove says. “By extreme cinema I do not mean ultraviolent cinema. I mean films that push the envelope.” Grove points to an early Raindance showcase of Meadows’ shorts that screened before his first feature (“TwentyFourSeven”) was released in the U.K. “Meadows was an outsider who just went out and made movies. This is the thing that appeals to us. And it is why the likes of Iggy Pop and Mick Jones support the fest.”

This year, Grove & Co. are launching the Raindance TV website, which promises streaming video content about all aspects of indie filmmaking. A total of 50 hours of interviews, docs and features are in the locker with plans afoot to make available another 200 hours. Grove promises “virtual screenings of films in the fest which will allow film lovers in Scunthorpe the opportunity to participate.”

Grove describes the Raindance audience as “first and foremost film lovers. If you are tired of Hollywood and craving stories about someone in a different country or in a different class, Raindance is the place for you.”

FEST INFO

When: Sept. 26-Oct. 7

Web: raindance.co.uk

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