Raindance Film Festival 2019
*I attended the Raindance Film Festival as a professional delegate
As an introduction to the Autumn season and indeed the film festival season for the latter part of the year, the 27th Raindance Film Festival started on a high note. Declaring that ‘Raindance means Raindance’ within its striking trailer forecasting an empty London in 2023 following Brexit, Europe was a focus as its guest continent. The festival is the largest independent film festival in the UK.
With 90 feature films, 113 short films and various industry talks between the festival’s duration of 18-29 September 2019, there was certainly a wide ranging programme with something for all tastes. Its impressive mobile phone application certainly assisted with the navigation of the programme enabling an online schedule to be created and thankfully there was also a back up provided being the hard copy schedule within the tote bag given.
From the first day that I attended the festival, which was fortunately at a single venue, Vue Piccadilly, I was struck by the convivial nature of the event as I tucked into a tablet of Green and Black’s chocolate and noted the WIFI password for the festival. The bonus of being in a single venue provided the opportunity to mingle and network with all, including the attending filmmakers, passing through the venue’s bar or seated in the foyer awaiting the latest film. The screens by the bar and foyer also helpfully provided up to date information of the daily events and the screen location.
It certainly felt as a home away from home, even though I was unable to attend the daily talks, as the daily schedules were discussed amongst familiar faces whilst mingling. Feedback was also encouraged at the end of each screening which was usually introduced by a member of the Raindance team, including the Raindance founder Elliot Grove, with a question and answer session thereafter. The majority of the tickets for the films indicated whether there would be a discussion with the director or members of the film crew thereafter which was certainly useful for planning particularly when watching films for the entire day, as I did one Saturday with a 10am start!
The timetables were very well structured, however, meaning that there was usually a 15-30 minutes break between the films or events. This was certainly sufficient time to indulge in Happy Hour daily at 5.30pm with a bottle of Bulmer’s cider!
The online application fortunately prompted me as to the start of Happy Hour which was the ideal opportunity to mingle and to indulge in more Green and Black’s chocolate, where they were available. The ambience throughout the festival was very welcoming within an intimate setting without lengthy queues to endure to attend the screenings!
Overall, the Raindance Film Festival is an enjoyable event to commence the late film festival season. I was very impressed by the film screenings that I attended, which had a focus on UK homegrown films such as Homeless Ashes, Schemers and Hurt by Paradise, as well as those by female filmmakers within its F-Rated section, plus those that were available online, which shall form part of several separate reviews. The festival even had an event showcasing the impressive short films from the students on its MA filmmaking programme.
I shall certainly look forward to attending the Raindance Film Festival again in 2020!