WRITTEN BY EMILY ANSELL

The London film festival which once premiered Pulp Fiction and The Blair Witch Project is returning to Soho for its 19th year with a new line up of quirky, controversial screenings.

Raindance, Europe’s largest independent film festival, specialises in edgy and alternative films from across the genres.

This year’s event includes 20 more films than previous years, with a series of 100 films screening over 12 days and an emphasis on extreme film making.

Founder of Raindance, Elliot Grove, said: “Over 3000 films were submitted to us but we look for a story saying something different. Every film we show is unique.”

Every film screened by Raindance is independent from studios and this year’s event includes 20 from South East Europe and 10 Japanese films.  Most have a small budget and a controversial idea behind them.

The festival will open with the UK premiere of Another Earth the breakout hit at this year’s Sundance, a haunting indie sci-fi drama starring newcomer Brit Marling alongside William Mapother (Lost).

Quirky movie fans will be excited to hear that several alternative film makers are attending the opening, including Gareth Edwards, the maker of Monsters, who will lead a Q&A session after the screening.

The festival splits the movie screenings into different strands with the Homegrown strand showcasing the best in independent British Cinema, boasting 10 world premieres.

The strand includes mockumentary Black Pond, starring BAFTA winner Chris Langham and comedian Simon Amstell in his acting debut. The black comedy sees an ordinary family accused of murder after a stranger dies at their dinner table.

Acts of Godfrey, a film written entirely in rhyming couplets stars Simon Callow and Harry Enfield and will make its world premiere at the festival.

Also receiving its world debut is A Thousand Kisses Deep starring Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II).

Sea Monsters, directed by Julian Kerridge, is another to be screened for the first time. Two teenage best friends living in a dead end town meet a bewitching traveller girl and their lives are torn apart by tragedy.

Fresh from its world premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, super natural thriller, Hollow, will receive its European premiere.

This year’s Raindance also boasts a strong raft of documentaries including the European Premiere of How To Start A Revolution (directed by Ruaridh Arrow). This moving film reveals the remarkable story of a modern revolution and the power of people to change their world.

The closing film is ‘slacker romance’ Bonsai from cult Chilean director Christian Jimenez, a movie adaptation of a Chilean novel.

Raindance believe they have something different to offer movie fans who are bored of the monotony of our big budget Blockbuster generation of movies.

Elliot commented: “Our movies are different to the typical Hollywood fair which is pastoralised to fit one taste.

“These films don’t have to bow down to anyone and are often quirky and very extreme.”

Raindance claim to be dedicated to promoting independent film all over the world. The company combines Raindance Film Festival, training courses, the prestigious British Independent  Film Awards and Raindance.tv.

This year’s festival appears to offer something for everyone, whatever your taste and each film will certainly leave an impact on you in its own extreme, low budget way.

Raindance Film Festival runs 28 Sept- 9 Oct at The Apollo, Piccadilly Circus. For tickets and information visit www.raindance.co.uk

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.