Raindance Film Festival 2020: The online line-up
James R | On 28, Oct 2020
The Raindance Film Festival is going online this autumn, and the festival has announced its line-up.
The hybrid event, part in-person and part digital, runs from 28th October to 7th November, with 50 film premieres and a programme that ranges from features and shorts to immersive titles. (See our picks from the line-up here.)
It will kick off with UK premiere of Stardust, Gabriel Range’s David Bowie biopic. Starring Johnny Flynn, it follows a young Bowie embarking on his first trip to America, revealing the inspirations and life events that gave birth to his iconic alter ego, Ziggy Stardust.
Range will attend the red carpet premiere at The May Fair Hotel in London and take part in a post-screening Q&A. The gala will have reduced audience capacity to adhere to social-distancing guidelines, and Raindance masks will be provided. In addition to the Opening Night gala, in-person activity will include an out-of-competition gala screening of Hiroshi Akabane’s Twiceborn at The May Fair Hotel.
As part of the festival’s music strand, Jimmy Is Punk will premiere at the 100 Club, including a live Q&A with director Duco Donk plus members of punk band Panic. Different Johns will have an in-person premiere along with an exhibition of original photographs by John Cohen from the 50s Beat Generation era. Another in-person screening will be the premiere of The Hat, a new short film from Darren Strowger, starring Jude Law and Rafferty Law and shot during lockdown. The private invitation-only event will take place at Ham Yard Hotel.
The rest of the programme will be delivered online via Shift72, including a chance to catch Stardust digitally at the end of the festival, plus the UK premiere of The Great Green Wall, exec-produced by Fernando Meirelles, Citizen Penn, following Sean Penn as he joins aid workers around the world, I Am Not a Hero, a Belgian portrait of health workers combating the coronavirus pandemic, and the world premiere of Nadav Schirman’s hostage drama April 77, 1980.
Following their 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha, filmmakers Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe return to follow Terry Gilliam’s new (successful) attempt at filming The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in He Dreams of Giants, while the Oscar-nominated Milcho Manchevski will present the UK premiere of Willow and Oscar-winning Barbara Kopple exec-produces The Dilemma of Desire, which also has its UK premiere.
George MacKay stars in Nuclear, the feature debut of Catherine Linstrum, while Stacy Keach narrates Survival Skills. VR highlights include new game Paper Beast, multi-player horror The Devouring, Sundance theatre piece Scarecrow, docuseries Virtually Speaking and animation Baba Yaga, featuring the voice of Daisy Ridley.
To enhance the festival experience there’ll be a line-up of extras such as virtual red carpets, and live-streamed Q&As, DJ sessions and live performances. This year’s jury includes Jeremy Irons, Pippa Bennett-Warner (Gangs of London), Kris Hitchen (Sorry We Missed You), Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), Esme Creed-Miles (Hanna), Jessica Brown Findlay (Harlots), Thomas Brodie Sangster (Maze Runner), Georgie Henley (The Chronicles Of Narnia), Ariyon Bakare (His Dark Materials), Colman Domingo (Fear The Walking Dead), Ray Panthaki (Colette) and Lily Cole.
All films will be geo-blocked to the UK and, while some films will be available online throughout the festival, others will be made available at specific times and have limited ticketed capacity – although there are also online repeat screenings available for most movies.
All films, shorts, Q&As and VR experiences streaming online will be available for free, with pay-what-you-can donations encouraged. (To celebrate the 28th year of Raindance, 28 per cent of proceeds will be donated to charity.)
To book tickets, head to www.raindance.org/festival – or read on below for a guide to what’s streaming and when.
Jimmy is Punk – The Story of PANIC – 7pm
A punk story about the 1976 Dutch band Panic: capturing the pure undiluted spirit of punk. First feature.
Repeated at 1pm on 31st October
Suffocation – 4pm
An albino woman newly released from prison, spends her nights taking care of a hypochondriac obsessed with avoiding sudden death. Their relationship moves through suspicion, fear and compassion to tenderness and love.
Repeated at 12pm on 31st October
The Average Color of The Universe – 5.30pm
In a life severely marked by the loss of her son, a woman lingers in the borderlands between memory and reality, in this visually stunning portrayal of grief.
Repeated at 1.30pm on 31st October
Twiceborn – All day
After receiving a message from the spiritual world, a man realises his mission is to lead humankind to happiness. He becomes a successful businessman while secretly publishing spiritual messages, but the devil’s temptation shakes his mind.
Repeated at 1.30pm on 31st October
Under My Skin – 6.30pm
Liv Hewson and Alex Russell star as a free-spirited artist and a straight-laced lawyer respectively, whose love is tested by questions of gender.
Repeated at 2pm on 31st October
Nuclear – 6.30pm
The feature debut by Cannes Un Certain Regard and Welsh BAFTA award-winning short filmmaker Catherine Linstrum, this tense drama stars George MacKay, Emilia Jones, Sienna Guillory and Oliver Coopersmith.
Once You Know – 4pm
Exploring energy depletion and runaway climate change, it questions how will we cope with an ending world. A DIRTY WORLD
Repeated at 2pm on 1st November
Shoot To Marry – 4pm
Lovelorn filmmaker Steve Markle decides the perfect way to meet women is to ask them to be in his documentary – the result is a real-life romantic comedy. ABSURDITIES
Repeated at 1pm on 2nd November
He Dreams of Giants – 7pm
Following their 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha, filmmakers Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe return to follow Terry Gilliam’s new (successful) attempt at filming The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. ARTY
Repeated at 2pm on 2nd November
Madame – 5.30pm
Using private archive footage, this family saga challenges the taboos of gender and sexuality as a flamboyant 90-year old and her gay grandson explore the development and transmission of gender identity in a patriarchal environment.
Repeated at 1pm on 1st November
In The Shadow It Waits: Special Live Film – 6pm
Especially for Halloween night, a Raindance version of Michael Beets critically acclaimed psychological horror: performed, shot and edited live with actors performing in real-time in their homes in Australia – a rare experience, tailor-made for these unprecedented times.
The Ties – 6pm
A marriage-in-crisis drama set in Naples and Rome, with a cast including Alba Rohrwacher (Venice Best Actress award winner for Hungry Hearts) and Luigi Lo Cascio.
My Thoughts Are Silent – 12pm
A champion at festivals including Karlovy Vary, this oddball drama follows an over-tall sound engineer and his diminutive mother, as they head to the mountains to record the sound of a very rare bird.
Repeated at 6.45pm on 1st November
Materna – 4pm
With a cast including Kate Lyn Sheil, Jade Eshete, Lindsay Burdge, Rory Culkin and Assol Abdullina (in a role that won a Best Actress award at the Tribeca Film Festival), it portrays four women whose lives are bound together following an incident on the New York subway.
Repeated at 1pm on 4th November
The Dilemma of Desire – 5.30pm
Executive produced by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple, it follows four women artists/activists who aim to shatter myths by celebrating the clitoris and female sexual pleasure.
Repeated at 3pm on 2nd November
End Game: Breaking The Silence – 7pm
Documenting one of the biggest taboos in sport today, this unprecedented investigation covers a variety of sports over a period of two years, showing that sexual violence is not limited to isolated incidents, and reveals the abuse of an entire system.
Repeated at 12pm on 2nd November
Kosa – 4pm
A young boy from India’s forest heartlands in picked up by the police because his name is similar to that of a Maoist commander. Will the farcical trial that follows prove his innocence or confirm he’s a criminal? First feature. POLITICO
Repeated at 12pm on 3rd November
Beyond Moving – 5.30pm
Documenting gifted ballet dancer Siphe November, following his journey from South African township to the world of professional ballet. First feature.
Repeated at 1pm on 3rd November
After So Many Days – 7pm
The raw personal account of Jim and Sam, a singer-songwriter duo who uprooted their lives by attempting to play one show every day for a year – putting their music, health, career, and their first year of marriage to the test.
Repeated at 12pm on 4th November
The Past is Always New, the Future is Always Nostalgic – 4pm
Intimate documentary capturing Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, aged 80, whose work transcends art, fashion and design.
Repeated at 1.30pm on 5th November
Nafi’s Father – 5pm
A double-winner at Locarno Film Festival (Best First Feature & Golden Leopard: Filmmakers of the Present), it’s the story of an Imam and his powerful extremist brother as they fight over a family marriage, illustrating how a small village community can drift towards extremism.
Repeated at 12pm on 5th November
Now – 5.30pm
Felix Finkbeiner, Luisa Neubauer, Greta Thunberg and Vic Barrett are challenging the status quo and pushing for social and political change – but what does it feel like to be an activist in 2020?
Repeated at 1pm on 5th November
Our Own – 7pm
Rising star Emilie Bierre plays a 13-year old who falls pregnant in this complex and compelling small-town drama. GENERATION Z
Repeated at 2pm on 4th November
Born to Be – 4pm
An intimate look at how the work of Dr Jess Ting at New York’s groundbreaking Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery impacts the lives of his patients, as well as his own life.
Repeated at 2pm on 5th November
Antarctica – 5.30pm
Two teenage misfits face the pressures of sex, drugs, gun-crazy janitors, and time-travelling boyfriends in this fresh dramatic comedy.
Repeated at 12pm on 6th November
Descent – 6.45pm
Documenting Dutch ice freediver Kiki Bosch, who dives into the world’s coldest waters without a wetsuit as therapy for the trauma of sexual assault, and to inspire others.
Repeated at 2.30pm on 6th November
Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance – 7pm
Exploring the lineage and future progressions of jazz dance, from its Afro-American roots to Broadway, with contributors including Debbie Allen and Joshua Bergasse. ARTY,
Repeated at 1pm on 6th November
The Mystery of the Pink Flamingo – 4pm
With contributors including John Walters and Eduardo Casanova, this eccentric documentary follows a man obsessed with flamingos on his quest to unravel the real story behind this pink socio-cultural phenomenon.
Repeated at 2pm on 6th November
Eastern – 5.30pm
A brutal, gun-wielding tale of two families entangled in a never-ending blood vendetta.
Repeated at 3pm on 7th November
Different Johns – 6pm
Feature documentary exploring the different lives of John Cohen: folk musician, photographer, filmmaker, and one of the great faces of the 50s Beat Generation.
Not streaming online
Thou Shalt Not Hate – 6pm
A double winner at Venice Film Festival, Alessandro Gassmann plays the son of a Holocaust survivor working as a surgeon in Trieste, who begins to doubt his actions after refusing to help the victim of a traffic accident that he encounters on his way home from work.
Willow – All day
This Academy Award nominated and Venice Golden Lion winning director portrays three women from medieval times and the present as they struggle by various means to become mothers.
Repeated on 6th and 7th November
Punta Sacra – 4pm
Evocative documentary about the community who live in an impoverished area outside of Rome: a favela-like settlement that is destined to be torn down.
Stardust – 5.30pm
Starring Johnny Flynn (Emma, Beast) as a young David Bowie embarking on his first trip to America, Stardust reveals the inspirations and life events that gave birth to his iconic alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, charting the transformation of one of the world’s greatest cultural icons.
Drag Kids – 7pm
Touching documentary chronicling four drag performers under the age of 12. Having faced enormous scrutiny over their brief drag careers, the young stars prepare for the biggest performance of their lives at Montreal Pride. First feature.
Repeated at 2pm on 7th November
Here Are the Young Men – 6pm
The story of three Dublin teenagers who leave school to a social vacuum of drinking and drugs, starring Dean-Charles Chapman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Finn Cole and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo.
Not streaming online – cinema screening cancelled
Available All Festival
All of these films are available to watch at any time from 28th October to 7th November 2020.
April 7, 1980
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Nadav Schirman (The Green Prince) directs this tense hostage drama set in a Kibbutz nursery.
Documenting five female skateboarders who embark on a modern day odyssey to Sumela, an ancient monastery perched high in Turkey’s Pontic Mountains.
TOPOWA! – Never Give Up
Celebrating the power of music to change lives, it follows four youngsters and the Brass For Africa band on a journey of hope from Uganda’s Katwe slums to the streets of London and the Cheltenham Festival.
A young boy must learn to survive when his father disappears and the rest of his family is sent to a notorious political prison camp in North Korea. This powerful animation is the first feature by manga producer and Zen master Eiji Han Shimizu.
The Price of Progress
Documenting both sides of the argument around the controversy of GMO foods.
The State of Texas vs. Melissa
Documenting a life plagued by poverty and prejudice, this is the story of the first Hispanic woman to be sentenced to death in Texas as she faces her last appeal.
The Woman with Leopard Shoes
Pared-back Hitchcock-style thriller about a burglar who is hired by a mysterious woman to steal a box from a house, but the sudden arrival of party guests forces him to hide.
The Eagle’s Nest
The story of two girls from Cameroon intent on migrating to Europe, they’re portrayed as unlikely superheroes in this surreal fantasy with a rich impression of African culture.
The Great Green Wall
Executive produced by Oscar-nominee Fernando Meirelles (City of God), it follows Malian musician, actress and UN Ambassador, Inna Modja on an epic journey along Africa’s ambitious Great Green Wall.
Presented as a lost training video from the 1980s, with Golden Globe winner Stacy Keach as narrator, it tells of a good policeman trying to resolve a domestic violence case.
Documenting the challenges faced by a Native and Non-Native couple in Montana ahead of their wedding.
Not To Be Unpleasant But We Need To Have A Serious Talk
Dark comedy about a womanizer who must inform his ex-girlfriends that he’s a carrier of a sexually transmitted virus, lethal only for women. ABSURDITIES
I Am Not A Hero
Timely and often harrowing portrayal of Belgian health workers combating COVID-19.
Endless Sunshine on a Cloudy Day
A heartbreaking account of the final months of social influencer Jade McCann, it portrays an Irish family battling to stay together despite the odds.
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
One night, at a drunken house party, vulnerable Lilla falls victim to four teenage friends when a dare gets out of hand, and the youngsters’ world changes forever.
Force of Habit
Seven directors depict the lives of various women on one day; their stories illustrate the normality of sexual harassment and abuse.
Ella Es Cristina
Executive produced by Salma Hayek, the first feature as director by Oscar-winning screenwriter Gonzalo Maza (co-writer of 2018’s Best Foreign Language Film A Fantastic Woman) is the tale of two women in their 30s who are still living like they did in their teenage years.
Actor and filmmaker Sean Penn joins aid workers from around the world to help the relief effort following 2010’s devastating Haiti earthquake.
A Dim Valley
In this hallucinogenic fairytale, a biologist and his two pot-smoking assistants working deep in the Appalachian woods encounter a trio of mystical backpackers.