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Raindance Film Festival 2005 announces a quality line-up



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 to controversy.

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 already converted.

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

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