Raindance Film Festival, Britain’s largest independent film festival, will return to cinemas this year, reimagined and restructured with a host of new partners and new films. Running Oct. 27 – Nov. 6, this year’s in-person event will partner with several cinemas across London and offer online screenings in the U.K., facilitated by Curzon Home Cinema.
After seeing last year’s data, which showed that about 70% of the festival’s online audience was located outside of London, Raindance has made a concerted effort to continue fostering its online reach, resulting in the new partnership with Curzon, which will host pay-per-view screenings of official competition films on its iOS, Android and Smart TV apps.
Kicking off on Oct. 27, the Raindance opening gala will feature a screening of Lina Roessler’s “Best Sellers,” starring Academy Award winner Michael Caine, Cary Elwes and Aubrey Plaza. Bookending the event on Nov. 6, the closing gala will feature Anita Rocha de Silveira’s feature “Medusa,” a Cannes Directors’ Fortnight player about gender violence in Brazil.
“There’s nothing new about independent film, except that indie film is forever new,” said Raindance founder Elliot Grove in a release. “Independent filmmakers tell the most original and individual stories, using the medium of film to show every facet of the complex world we live in. Now that cinemas have reopened, Raindance is ready to reconnect with the energy, vibrancy and insurgent spirit of indie film – and this year we have some exciting new partners to join us on our mission. We hope you will join us too.”
This year’s 17th Zurich Film Festival is bringing TV series to the big screen with eight high-end programs set to compete at this year’s event. Zurich’s Series section is organized as a celebration of episodic storytelling, highlighted this year by Netflix’s “The Billion Dollar Code” which will receive its world premiere at the festival. Other series screening at ZFF take in Giacomo Bendotti’s “Ever After” (Italy); Angela Pell’s “Close to Me” (Mexico, U.K.), Alexei Lyapichev’s “Container” (Russia); Levan Akin and Mattias Johansson Skoglund’s “Dough” (Sweden); Maysaloun Hamoud’s “Nafas” (Israel, Palestine); Marianne Wendt’s “Neumatt” (Switzerland); and Gustavo Pizzi’s “Os últimos dias de Gilda” (Brazil).
RSVP and Roy Kapur Films‘ war film “Pippa” has kicked off production, after most of its cast and crew were fully vaccinated and COVID restrictions for film shoots were eased in Amritsar, Punjab. The film’s production team has also shared a first-look poster for the upcoming epic, featuring lead actor Ishaan Khatter (“Dhadak,” “Beyond the Coulds”) as Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, author and protagonist of the film’s source novel “The Burning Chaffees.” “Pippa” is described as a heroic tank battle film which underscores the bravery of its protagonist during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, which resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh.
Former managing director of international TV at Vice, Amara Howe, has been hired by Fremantle’s Naked to the newly created role of director of commercial operations. Howe will work with managing director Fatima Salaria to develop and execute Naked’s strategic planning and take the lead on commercial business development. She will oversee developing a new culture at the label while nurturing future generations of TV creatives with a special emphasis on creating a diverse talent and production landscape at the company.
Former National Theatre commercial and media director Colin Lawrence has been hired as the new CEO of MediCinema, taking over for interim CEO Crispin Lilly. At the same time, Entertainment One’s Kezia Williams will take over as MediCinema’s board chair, stepping in for Paul Massara who has just finished his five year term in the role. MediCinema is a non-profit which works to improve the wellbeing of NHS patients and their families by bringing the cinemagoing experience into care facilities. It builds and runs cinemas in hospitals which have spaces for beds, wheelchairs and medical equipment. Services were suspended in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but limited screenings were allowed to return in August of last year, and a majority of the company’s cinemas are now open and operating once again.
BAFTA and TCL Mobile are teaming to honor “James Bond” actor Daniel Craig with a BAFTA: A Life in Pictures career retrospective on Friday Sept. 24 at London’s Odeon Luxe Leicester Square cinema. DJ and TV presenter Edith Bowman will host the session, which will see the BAFTA-nominated actor reflect on his years in the industry and look forward to his final appearance as James Bond in the oft-delayed “No Time To Die,” directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, which will release theatrically on Sept. 30. Craig is the second figure to be honored with a BAFTA: A Life in Pictures event, following George Clooney in 2020.
MBC Group has announced a new partnership with Animaccord to be the exclusive licensing agent for the company’s global hit animated series “Masha and the Bear” in the MENA region. According to MBC Group, its licensing and merchandising unit will provide Animaccord with a holistic support solution including consumer product deals as well as growing the presence of the IP in the region via digital offerings, events and on TV where the show will be televised on MBC3 and on Shahid Kids.