The 2016 Raindance Film Festival takes place in London from Wednesday 21st September to Sunday 2nd October, showcasing web series, VR shorts and indie films from around the world. The Web Fest Awards take place on Sunday 2nd October at 3.30pm. Read all of our reviews of the nominees here – or view the full programme.
Keith Broke His Leg
A series regular on 30 Rock, Keith Powell strikes out on his own with this web series about him struggling to deal with breaking his leg. The promise of a semi-autobiographical comedy from a familiar star might suggest all kinds of candid, scandalous digs at himself or the TV world, but Keith Broke His Leg is, like its title, much simpler than that: the show is frank in a different way, instead opening up about relatable things such as marital insecurity, porn, and plain old boredom. That mundane approach makes for a relatable series that, which lacks in laugh-out-loud moments but builds up to them with a restraint and gentle tone that makes them more satisfying. “Keith Broke His Leg? Cool story, bro,” is the kind of reaction you might have to the title, but there’s surprising substance here.
Keith Broke His Leg screens at Raindance Web Fest at 1pm, Sunday 2nd October. It is nominated for Best Actor.
The close bond between serial killers and those pursuing them is a well-worn subject in television land, but what if the person obsessed with them isn’t a cop but a photographer? That’s the intriguing dynamic that Il Sonnambulo gives us, as we see Atticus Hurst, a washed-up artist who used to take pictures of the titular killer’s victims, team up with a hacker-turned-journalist to track down the murderer. Dean Christie is enjoyably gruff as the weary recluse, with his cravat and suit jacket, while Rob McLoughlin makes for a likeable investigator, who even manages to sell the clunky line “I used to be a hacker”. Together, they’re an enjoyably unusual duo, while director Douglas Rath shoots the whole thing with a noir-tinged style that lights London up in the darkest way possible. Glossy and grimy in equal measure, this shows real promise.
Il Sonnambulo screened at Raindance Web Fest at 8.30pm, Saturday 1st October. It is nominated for Best International Series.
Match Not Found
With every new social media platform that launches, web series continue to try new things. The idea of a Skype-based show might sound limited, but anyone who’s seen Lisa Kudrow’s hysterical Web Therapy will be well aware of the comic potential from a warts-and-all video call. Match Not Found takes that and combines it with the dating scene, as we see Kat (Katie Sheridan) trying to find the right man, after an unexpected break-up with a long-term boyfriend. There’s no Tinder here, but there are believable relationships between its characters, who are presented with a deceptively witty touch – her BFF, Doug (Connor Mills), looks like the world’s worst actor, until they cleverly reveal he’s been reading out relationship advice from the internet. Sheridan, though, is the key to its success, as her direct-to-camera addresses combine Skype calls and vlogs into a story that – thanks to the smart use of Twitter for interaction with viewers each week – blurs the boundary of fact and fiction. Short and sweet.
Match Not Found screened at Raindance Web Fest at 1pm, Saturday 1st October. It is nominated for Best Lead Actor.
We live a a time when diversity in Hollywood is a hot topic, when the industry is being challenged to change its years of under-representation of minorities and women. Almost Asian is an amusing reminder that indie filmmakers are way ahead of the big boy. The series, from Katie Malia, is a snapshot of her day-to-day life in Los Angeles, from facing expectations and stereotypes to sharing her struggles with others in La La Land. The result is funny, insightful and hyperactive, mixing up Malia’s half-Japanese cultural identity with the more familiar fly-on-the-wall US format. How fitting that it should earn Malia a Web Fest Award nomination for Best Discovery.
Almost Asian screened at Raindance Web Fest at 1pm, Saturday 1st October. It is nominated for the Discovery Award.
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