Festival Preview: 10 Unmissable Raindance Films

This entry is part 3 of 30 in the series Raindance 2011

In just under a week’s time London’s Raindance Film Festival will begin.  This is the first film festival that I’ll be attending since launching LouiseReviews and I have to admit I’m pretty excited about it – seeing so many new films, meeting film-makers and fellow reviewers and generally just soaking up the atmosphere.

The Raindance Film Festival was founded in 1993 and showcases the best independent film-making from around the world.  Films which had their UK premieres at Raindance include Christopher Nolan’s Memento, Ghost World and The Blair Witch Project.  This year’s programme includes 18 world Premieres, 90 UK premieres, submissions from 36 countries and over 130 shorts.  After attending the press launch I picked out almost 40 features that I really wanted to see!  Obviously, time constraints make it impossible to attend every film showing, event and workshop but there are a number of films that I’ll be making sure that I get to.

Here are my ten unmissable Raindance features:

1.  Another Earth

The opening night film is Mike Cahill’s beautiful and haunting science fiction drama about the discovery of mirror planet Earth and the intertwined lives of an astrophysics student and a grieving composer.  Co-writer and star Brit Marling will hopefully become a huge star – her performance is breathtaking.

2.  How To Start A Revolution

Gene Sharp is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee whose work has had a huge influence on non-violent revolutions across the world.  This documentary tells his story and illustrates vividly the impact his book, From Dictatorship to Democracy, has had on a number of uprisings including this year’s Egyptian revolution.

3.  By Day And By Night

I’m fascinated by the issue of over-population and how the world will be able to cope with its ever-increasing numbers.  Mexican film, By Day And By Night imagines that the population has been scientifically separated into day and night inhabitants and how families are split by this division.

4.  Meso Cafe

There tends to be three main trends in British film-making – gritty and depressing urban dramas, jolly middle class rom-coms and buttoned up period pieces.  There’s nothing wrong with any of these but they don’t truly reflect the vibrancy and diversity of the British population.  I’m hoping this story of an Iraqi blogger in London will go some way to redressing this imbalance.

5.  Amnesty

The founder of Raindance, Elliott Grove, is very excited about the Balkan Cinema strand which features a number of films from Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia.  The strand has a number of films which appeal to me but top of the list is the Albanian film Amnesty, a love story about two spouses visiting Tirana Prison for conjugal visits.

6.  Fambul Tok

One of my areas of interest is conflict and more importantly conflict resolution.  How do people move on after traumatic events?  This documentary looks at how victims and perpetrators of atrocities during Sierra Leone’s civil war are attempting to rebuild their lives through confession, apology and forgiveness.

7.  Hollow

I’ve yet to make up my mind about “found footage” films.  While it’s not a new phenomenon, the past couple of years have seen an explosion in the genre.  Hollow is a new British horror film about two young couples spending a weekend in the seemingly tranquil Suffolk countryside.  I’m delighted that a film has finally recognised that trees are inherently scary, particularly ones with strange branches which sit on their own in the middle of a field!

8.  State of Emergency

There’s nothing more fun than a good zombie movie.  Scared survivors of an improbable disaster trying to escape the continuing horror always spells a good laugh to me.  State of Emergency looks like it could fit nicely into the genre, following the tradition of classics such as Dawn of the Dead.

9.  Monk3ys

The human mind can be very scary and I love psychological dramas which explore what goes on inside the head.  This micro-budget British feature film follows the experiences of three men who are locked in a cell for 48 hours.  Each man represents a standard behavioural type and as time continues they start to vie for supremacy.

10. Holy Rollers

I’m not in any way religious but I do get annoyed at the lazy and cliched depictions of those who are.  Anyone who has faith is represented as repressed, boring or (if Catholic) a child abuser.  I know lots of people who do follow a religion and none are like this.  American documentary Holy Rollers follows a blackjack team of church-going Christians.  This promises to shatter a number of myths about people of faith.

There’s lots more films that I want to, and hopefully will see, including a number of shorts but these are the ones I would kick myself for missing.

Are you going to Raindance? What films are you most looking forward to?  You can find out more information including showtimes and booking details on the Raindance website.

Previous and next posts in this series:<< 18 World Premieres at RaindanceAnother Earth >>
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