LONDON — The stormy skies cleared just in time for the launch of the 16th edition of the Raindance Film Festival, held Wednesday in London’s West End.

Opening the fest, which celebrates international and Brit indie cinema, was Clark Gregg’s debut film “Choke,” starring Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston and Kelly Macdonald.

“Tonight proved, once again, that despite rumors to the contrary, independent cinema is alive and well,” said fest director Elliot Grove to a packed house at the Cineworld Trocadero, adding that “we could have sold out tonight’s event three times over.”

Of the 75 films screening over the next fortnight, only “Choke” and “Hush,” the closing night film, have U.K. distribution deals. The rest of the films in the lineup, many from debut filmmakers, are still looking for a U.K. home.

After the screening, partygoers — including lots of indie filmmakers — trooped around the corner to the Orchid nightspot, where the bash was in full flow until late into the night.

Highlights of this year’s festival include appearances by Faye Dunaway, Peter Greenaway and Brit band the Arctic Monkeys. Jury members include Nicolas Roeg, producer Rebecca O’Brien and the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch.

Award winners will be announced at the closing night festivities on Oct. 12.