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Raindance Film Festival 2019: Krow's Transformation and Aren't You Happy to open and close

Raindance 2019

Story by Jack Foley

THE Raindance Film Festival returns to London from September 18 to 29 for its 27th edition.

The event opens with the World Premiere of Krow’s Transformation (dir: Gina Hole Lazarowich, Canada), a film that documents Canadian transgender model Krow Kian. A successful female model as a teen, the film charts Krow’s transition over a three-year period, including Krow walking the catwalk for Louis Vuitton’s iconic SS19 show in Paris – his first show since transitioning to a male.

The film incorporates conversations between Krow and his mother, plus stories from other trans people in Krow’s circle.

Krow Kian and director Gina Hole Lazarowich will attend the gala premiere at Vue West End in Leicester Square. A party at Café De Paris will follow, featuring Guilty Pleasures.

A special gala, the World Premiere of Everybody Flies (dir: Tristan Loraine, Beth Moran, UK) sees former British Airways captain turned documentary filmmaker Tristan Loraine exposing the cocktail of toxins that make up the air on commercial passenger aircraft.

And the festival closes on September 29 with the UK Premiere of post-modern comedy Aren’t You Happy? (dir: Susanne Heinrich, Germany). This debut feature brings together theory, feminism, humour and a bubblegum pop palate of colour as we follow a girl roaming a city looking for a place to sleep.

Overall, the 27th Raindance Film Festival includes 90 feature films, with 13 World Premieres, 10 International Premieres, 9 European Premieres and 54 UK premieres. The programme also includes 108 short films, 19 music videos, and 30 VR experiences.

Elliot Grove, Raindance founder, commented: “Raindance is happening from September 18 – no ifs no buts. Despite Brexit uncertainty, we’re bringing the boldest and freshest talent from the world of indie filmmaking to the heart of London.

“Raindance is proud to have a global vision, not a narrow one, and this year’s festival has an incredible range of stories from Britain and across the world. And remember that Raindance means Raindance.”

Hence, this year’s event will have an emphasis on strong and empowered European women. One of the key titles include A Regular Woman (dir: Sherry Hormann, Germany). Inspired by tragic real-life events, it tells the story of a vibrant Turkish woman living in Berlin who is murdered at 23 by her youngest brother in an ‘honour’ killing. The screening will include a director Q&A.

Another highlight is dark coming-of-age tale, Luna (dir: Elas Diringer, France), which follows a young French woman who, during a night of drunken revelry with her friends, helps them gang rape a male stranger – but must grapple with her conscience when she falls in love with him. The screening will include a director Q&A.

A romantic, melancholy comedy, Aurora (dir: Miia Tervo, Finland) captures a relationship between a commitment-phobic party girl and an Iranian man running from death.

An independent comedy with a lighter shade of dark, Emma Peeters (dir: Nicole Palo, Belgium/Canada), focuses on a would-be actress who, believing that 35 is the expiry date for actresses, sets her mind to commit suicide on her 35th birthday.

The strand Viva Voce tells stories of women across the globe. A favourite at this year’s Berlinale, hybrid documentary By The Name of Tania (dir: Mary Jimenez, Bénédicte Liénard, Belgium/Netherlands/Peru) combines the true testimonials of many women forced into prostitution, creating one poignant central character.

British director Tom Wilson focuses on a teenage girl who struggles to emancipate herself from her Roma community, clashing with her family, her teacher and her evangelical Baptist upbringing in the World Premiere of Matthew Mark Luke John (dir: Tom Wilson, Romania). This screening includes a director Q&A.

Last year, Raindance became the first ‘Top 50’ film festival to adopt the F-rated system (the F is given to any film written, directed or featuring women in significant on-screen roles – films meeting all three criteria are awarded a Triple F-Rating).

Raindance is committed to all aspects of inclusion both onscreen and behind the camera, and continues to incorporate the F-rating this year.

Over one-third of this year’s features are F-rated (30 films, up from 27 in 2018), including the F-rated opening night film, and the Triple F-rated closing night film. F-rated shorts have increased from 35 in 2018 to 58 this year.

Another strand of note is Politico, which tackles political and social issues. Included among these films are Jirga (dir: Benjamin Gilmour, Australia), which follows an ex-soldier who returns to Afghanistan to find the family of a civilian he accidentally killed during the war; and Gael García Bernal’s second feature as director, Chicuarotes (dir: Gael García Bernal, Mexico), which follows two teenagers who are driven by desperation and a lack of options in their Mexico City neighbourhood.

More Mexican flavour can be savoured in SXSW jury prize-winner Nothing Dancy: Diana Kennedy (dir: Elizabeth Carroll, USA/Mexico), a docu-portrait of this British-born Mexican food guru and environmental activist.

For further information about this year’s line-up, to book screenings and find out more about this year’s jury and prizes, visit the Raindance website