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Raindance Film Festival 2023 returns to London's West End

The statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus on Raindance's 2023 poster highlights its West End location
2 minute read
The statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus on Raindance's 2023 poster highlights its West End location

For its 31st edition, the Raindance Film Festival, the UK’s leading indie film festival, is returning to the heart of London’s West End. This is what it's all about.

Raindance in a nutshell

Raindance is dedicated to fostering and promoting independent films around the world. Founded in 1992 by Elliot Grove, this iconic film festival has been a significant platform for emerging filmmakers, celebrating creativity, diversity, and innovation in storytelling. With its headquarters in London, Raindance has not only hosted numerous film festivals but has also been a pioneer in offering a wide range of educational programs, designed to nurture the talents of both aspiring and established filmmakers.

The UK’s largest independent film festival

For the 31st edition, the Raindance Film Festival, the UK's leading independent film festival, is set to return to the heart of London's West End, a place filled with the rich cinematic heritage of the country. Taking place from October 25th to November 4th, the festival's host cinemas will include Vue Piccadilly, Curzon Soho, Curzon Mayfair, and the Garden Cinema, while The House of Raindance industry hub and the Raindance Immersive VR Showcase will be hosted at Wonderville on Haymarket, all within a stone's throw of the iconic Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus. Additionally, select films will be screened at the Genesis Cinema in East London. No wonder Raindance Film Festival holds the distinction of being the largest independent film festival in the UK and has been lauded by Variety as one of the "world's top 50 unmissable film festivals."

A champion of new and vibrant voices in cinema, this year's festival selection is dedicated to championing the work of first, second, and third-time filmmakers, spanning the entire feature program, and re-enforcing Raindance's reputation as a place for both discovery and recognition. Over 75% of this year's films are debut features, with an additional 14% representing second or third directorial endeavours. The festival's industry program is firmly committed to nurturing new talent, offering a platform for sharing innovative ideas and facilitating firsthand experiences.

The full schedule of screenings, discussions, and workshops is here, but here are some of the highlights:

Opening gala: Day of the Fight screening

UK Premiere. Debut feature. Award-winning British actor Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire, American Hustle, House of Gucci) makes his directorial debut with this story of a once-renowned boxer who takes a redemptive journey through his past and present on the day of his first fight since he left prison. This formidable drama stars Michael Pitt alongside a cast including Ron Perlman, Joe Pesci,  and a cameo from Steve Buscemi. Director Jack Huston will take part in a post-screening Q&A, followed by a gala opening party at the Waldorf Hilton.

Closing gala: Un Amor screening

UK Premiere. Based on Sara Mesa’s bestselling novel, award-winning actress Laia Costa (nominated for the 2017 BAFTA EE Rising Star award for Victoria) plays a young woman who escapes her stressful life in the city and relocates to rural Spain. When she accepts a disturbing sexual proposal, it gives rise to an all-consuming and obsessive passion. Nominated for the Golden Seashell at San Sebastián Film Festival, it’s a striking account of existential doubt and the transformative power of carnal desire.

Special focus: Catalonia

Raindance is honoured to welcome Catalonia as a special guest this year. Closing gala Un Amor is presented as part of this special focus in partnership with Catalan Films, along with the UK Premieres of Upon Entry, Tender Metalheads and La Singla. A dedicated Shorts Programme Catalan Collection will further showcase the vision, ambition, and vibrancy of Catalan filmmakers. Special sessions during Raindance’s Industry Programme will also champion Catalonia’s film industry.

Festival passes start at £150, but tickets for individual screenings are available for £15 each. Find tickets here.


Tags: Production News Film