Raindance announces opening and closing gala screenings and much more.

Raindance announces opening and closing gala screenings and much more.

Opening Gala: Jon Hamm In The Corner Office Closing Gala: Pinball – The Man Who Saved The Game Raindance Goes Maverick With Film Premieres + Special Screenings From The Festival Archive Including Pulp Fiction & Blair Witch Project

26 October – 5 November, in London cinemas and online throughout the UK


2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the Raindance Film Festival, the UK’s leading indie film festival, and this year’s edition will be a celebration of 30 years of independent film in the UK. Running 26 October – 5 November, Raindance will revisit some of the most pivotal films from its archive in a series of special screenings. Raindance will also look towards the next 30 years with a programme of fresh, relevant, and radical world premieres as well as a selection of must-see titles cherry-picked from the international film festival circuit.

Venues for 2022 include Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Genesis Cinema, Rio Cinema and The Garden Cinema. The film programme will also be available throughout the UK via Raindance’s new streaming partner Bohemia Euphoria.

“Over the past 30 years, UK cinemagoers have come to Raindance and joined us in discovering some of the greatest independent films ever made,” says Raindance founder Elliot Grove. “Raindance launched back in 1993 with the World Premiere of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Tarantino’s iconic Pulp Fiction made its UK debut at Raindance in 1994. In 1999, Raindance hosted the UK premiere of ground-breaking found footage mocumentary The Blair Witch Project. We hit the bullseye again in 2000 with the UK premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Memento. And in 2004, we presented Park Chanwook’s neo-noir thriller Oldboy, a classic of modern South Korean cinema.

But it isn’t all about discovering now-famous films such as these: a champion of indie cinema in  every guise and genre, equally important to us are the underrated, under-the-radar films that you might not see anywhere else but here. What will Raindance’s next landmark moment be? Join us in cinemas or via streaming in 2022 and see what you discover!”

OPENING GALA: CORNER OFFICE (dir: Joachim Back, Canada)

International Premiere. Mad Men star Jon Hamm returns to office life, playing a corporate drone trying to move up from his entry-level job, only to discover a secret room. An absurdist indie comedy, adapted from Jonas Karlsson’s acclaimed novella. Director Joachim Back will take part in a postscreening Q&A, followed by a gala red carpet opening party at the Waldorf Hilton.

CLOSING: PINBALL – THE MAN WHO SAVED THE GAME (dir: Austin Bragg, Meredith Bragg, USA) International Premiere. BAFTA-nominated for West Side Story, Mike Faist stars as Roger Sharpe, the young GQ journalist who in 1976 helped overturn New York City’s 35-year ban on pinball machines.

Genesis Cinema will become a pinball arcade for a retro-themed closing party.


Never one to follow the crowd, Raindance champions the independent-minded individuals who stay true to their instinct: the free spirits of cinema. As part of its celebration of 30 years of independent cinema in the UK, the festival will highlight the mavericks whose work and authenticity has contributed to both the Raindance story and the broader history of independent cinema. Alongside premieres of new films, there’ll be special presentations of iconic independent films that premiered in the UK at Raindance. Screening 28-31 October at the pop-up Raindance Backyard Cinema at Genesis Cinema will be special presentations of: PULP FICTION (dir: Quentin Tarantino, USA, 1994), THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (dir: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, USA, 1999), MEMENTO (dir: Christopher Nolan, USA, 2000), and OLDBOY (dir: Park Chan-wook, South Korea, 2003).


Throughout the last 30 years, the festival has premiered the films of numerous Raindance Film School alumni. 2022 is no exception, with a highlight from the Sonica strand set to be the World Premiere of Raindance alumni Ben Lowe’s debut feature RAZORLIGHT: FALL TO PIECES (dir: Ben Lowe, UK), an intimate, all-access documentary following this seminal English indie band on the road to reforming.

Further titles in the strand include ANONYMOUS CLUB (dir: Danny Cohen, Australia) a rare glimpse at Grammy- and Brit Award-nominated singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, TRACES OF GLORY (dir: Mark Davis) documenting the cult LA slowcore band Idaho, and OKAY! THE ASD BAND FILM (dir: Mark Bone, Canada), the heart-warming tale of a group of autistic musicians.


UK red carpet highlights include the World Premiere of A BIT OF LIGHT (dir: Stephen Moyer, UK), a complex and thoughtful family drama starring Anna Paquin and Ray Winstone. A Raindance alumni and BIFA nominee, Finn Bruce makes his directorial debut with the World Premiere of SWEDE CAROLINE (dir: Finn Bruce, Brook Driver, UK), a very British comedy set in the world of competitive vegetable growers, with a cast including BIFA-nominated Jo Hartley, BAFTA-winning Aisling Bea, Welsh BAFTA winner Celyn Jones, plus Ray Fearon, Richard Lumsden and Fay Ripley. The European premiere of GOLDFISH (dir: Pushan Kripalsni, UK) stars award-winning Indian-born French actress Kalki Koechin as a daughter who moves back home to deal with her mother’s dementia. An impactful documentary about light pollution in London, the World Premiere of NIGHT BURNS LIKE CIGARETTES (dir: Elisabeth Felson, UK) is narrated by Lily Cole and features singer-songwriter Kwaye.


Curated for Raindance by the New Black Film Collective, new strand An Immigrants Tale will incorporate archive screenings of the ground-breaking BLACK GIRL (dir: Ousmane Sembene, Senegal, 1966) and DAUGHTER’S OF THE DUST (dir: Julie Dash, USA/Germany, 1991), alongside complex and powerful new cinematic visions of Africa.


Acclaimed features coming to Raindance from the international film festival circuit include GENTLE (dir: László Csuja, Anna Nemes, Hungary). Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, it’s the sensitive portrayal of a female bodybuilder and her complex relationship with her life partner and trainer. Nominated for the Golden Camera at Cannes, PAMFIR (dir: Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk, Ukraine) is the story of a former criminal who trys to be a decent family man but returns to crime to help pay a family debt. Executive produced by Oscar-nominated German filmmaker Wim Wenders, ROVING WOMAN (dir: Michal Chmielewski, Poland/USA) is co-written by and stars Lena Gora, alongside Oscar-nominated actor John Hawkes. It follows a Polish migrant in LA, who is kicked out by her famous boyfriend, and ends up on the road with nothing. Nominated for the Golden Camera at Cannes, MARCEL! (dir: Jasmine Trinca, Italy/France) follows a mother who reconnects with her neglected young daughter whilst searching for her beloved lost dog.


The Documentary strand contemplates a range of complex contemporary issues. LITTLE AXEL (dir: Fabien Greenberg, Bård Kjøge Rønning, Norway) provides the stepson of Leonard Cohen with an opportunity to open up about the difficulties growing up within a bohemian community, and the mental health issues he’s since faced. An intimate character-driven film, RELATIVE (dir: Tracey Arcabasso Smith, USA) sees the filmmaker confront her childhood sexual abuse, only to unearth a pervasive history of intergenerational abuse in her seemingly-idyllic family. Presented as a thriller, SPANTON VS THE FRENCH POLICE (dir: Ovide, France) spotlights a famous French trial whereby two policemen were accused of raping a Canadian tourist in this exploration of the meaning of consent. In the European Premiere of WHEN WE SPEAK (dir: Tas Brooker, UK), actress Rose McGowan, Oxfam aid worker Helen Evans, and British Intelligence employee Katharine Gun are three whistleblowers who share their motivations and experiences – probing what happens when women speak up.


Significant titles from the Queer strand include ERIN’S GUIDE TO KISSING GIRLS (dir: Julianna Notten, Canada) a Heartstopper-style feel-good feature that follows the drama and emotion ahead of a big school dance. WAKE UP, LEONARD (dir: Kat Mills Martin, USA) puts LGBTQ+ mental health and wellbeing in the spotlight as we follow the messy life choices of a between-jobs actor. PALOMA (dir: Marcelo Gomes, Portugal/Brazil) portrays the challenges faced by a transgender woman when the local priest refuses her request for a traditional church wedding.

The 30th Raindance will comprise features across 8 strands (Debut, International, Documentaries, Homegrown, Queer, Sonica, Screamdance, An Immigrants Tale), plus 10 shorts programmes, the Raindance Immersive VR programme, and an industry programme of events and masterclasses.

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