Preview by: Jack Foley
EUROPE'S largest independent film festival Raindance,
now in its 13th year, will run from September 28 to October 9
at cinemas throughout central London.
Specialising in first time directors and showcasing over 200
shorts from the best and brightest of new talent, the festival
promises to screen some of the most inspiring and challenging
films from around the world.
Highlights of Raindance 2004 saw a collection of groundbreaking
independent films on show for the first time, from End of the
Century, the highly praised documentary on the seminal punk band
The Ramones, to One For The Road, a documentary focusing on ex-Squeeze
frontman, Glenn Tilbrook.
This year's line-up promises to be just as special, if the early
indication is anything to go by.
Among the special guests will be Oscar nominated actress and
political activist Vanessa Redgrave in the company of her director
son, Carlo Nero, to present their film, The Fever,
with a special screening and Q&A to follow.
In keeping with the spirit of Raindance, the 2005 film line-up
is expectedly eclectic.
Rock music and bands have consistently played an integral part
of the festival and this year is no exception, beginning with
Babyshambles front man, Pete Doherty, a man who is no stranger
Two years pre his very public wild ways and love affair with
Kate Moss hit the headlines, Pete and his former band The Libertines
would jam in Pete’s very own flat, charging fans £10
entry to watch.
Now we get to watch as well, with an exclusive 15-minute piece
of raw footage shot by Anne McCloy.
McCloy’s short, but fascinating piece documents the events
of one fateful night when a gig is busted by the police. Nothing
new in that, but here we get a fascinating close-up look at the
troubled man of the moment held to account.
Then we come to Billy Childish. You may be asking yourself, ‘who
he?’; but those already ahead of us lesser-knowing mortals
include Kurt Cobain, one his earliest championers and a recent
Top of the Pops appearance saw Jack White with Childish’s
name scrawled on his arm.
But, just who is Billy Childish? Said to be one of the most
prolific painters, poets and songwriters of his generation, the
in-depth documentary, entitled Billy Childish is Dead,
showing at Raindance explores the extraordinary life and career
of this cult figure.
Childish not only screens his film
but also delivers a live acoustic set but also subjects himself
to a Q&A session, which is bound to swell the numbers of those
Putting punk into its proper historical context is the aim of
Grammy award winning director, Don Letts, with Punk: Attitude,
documentary written and directed by the renowned DJ and member
of Big Audio Dynamite himself.
Armed with a Super 8 during the heyday of punk, Letts has taken
his footage and assembled it into this documentary ably telling
the story of how a few guitar chords changed the world.
With contributions from inspirational punk figures including
Tommy Ramone, Siouxsie Sioux, and the Sex Pistols’ Glen
Matlock as well as an insightful commentary from film director
Jim Jarmusch and a stellar soundtrack, this film gives a fresh
perspective on the elements of the Punk Rock sub-culture that
defined an era. Don Letts will introduce Punk: Attitude and will
be on hand for a Q&A.
The winner of this year’s Sundance Director’s Award
- Jeff Feuerzeig will be showing The Devil and Daniel
Johnston, his look into the roller-coaster life of the
manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter whose illness gives
him delusions of the devil that haunts his life.
A compelling portrait of madness, creativity and love, this is
one of a kind and not to be missed.
Films featured for selection at Raindance 2005 bring us actor
Steve Buscemi’s Lonesome Jim, Saul Metzsein’s
black comedy Guy X, and Ellie Parker
starring Naomi Watts.
On top of this, the festival brings us a dozen Japanese premieres
and the stylish horror fantasy Night Watch (pictured),
of which director Quentin Tarantino stated that if there is only
one film you see this year, let this be it.
A smash-hit in its native Russia, this film is from director/writer
Timur Bekmambetov and is the first instalment of a trilogy based
on the best-selling sci-fi novels of Sergei Lukyanenko. Terrifying
and action packed, you’ll love it.
Much-acclaimed Chinese film Dumplings will close
the 13th Raindance Film Festival.
This delicious dark fantasy from director Fruit Chan tells the
story of Qing, a rich ex-starlet who in desperation to retain
her youthful looks visits Mei, a former gynaecologist and abortionist
whose mysterious ‘dumplings’ are said to fulfil a
woman’s need to remain beautiful and young.
The opening night film of the festival will be announced shortly.
Related stories: Read
our preview of Night Watch