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Raindance Film Festival  is happy to launch this year’s 48 Hour Film Challenge, in partnership with Lumix and The Reel Challenge. The challenge will take place during the first weekend of the festival – between the 28th and 30th of September.

About the challenge

The idea is, well, simple to the extreme: you make a film, from conception to delivery, in only 2 days and 2 nights. Because, like we like to say in the Raindance HQ, you can sleep when it’s over.

However, simple doesn’t mean easy, and although the experience can be very intense, it can be even more rewarding. It’s a challenge, but we wouldn’t be in this industry if we didn’t like one, would we?

If you needed a bit more of an incentive, the guys at Lumix are lending us all the equipment we need to shoot the films. Additionally, you’ll get support from a Lumix expert to help you work around all those little details that always come up when using new equipment. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get some hands-on experience with some top-class cameras. Bear in mind you will need to use your own editing equipment.

Furthermore, the team from The Reel Challenge – a unique filmmaking adventure from London to Budapest – will be coordinating the whole weekend and will be available to provide support throughout the weekend.

How to sign up

Get together a team of 3 to 6 members and fill the pre-registration form bellow. Consider the different roles each of you will need to fulfil; a key aspect of this challenge is synergy. The teams selected will be contacted with further details for the challenge. The resulting work will be screened at Vue Piccadilly on the 7th of October and will be invited to join us at the Raindance Film Festival Closing Party!

On your own? Don’t worry! We’re also putting together a “Wild Card” team. Just fill out the form and specify what role you would like to assume within the team. Keep in mind that you will meet your team on the first day of the challenge.

Please register HERE.

Best of luck!

The post 48 Hour Film Challenge in Partnership with LUMIX appeared first on Raindance.

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Ahead of the UK premiere of Best International Feature nominee Princesita at the Raindance Film Festival 2018 Opening Night Gala, we sat down with director Marialy Rivas to talk about the film.

How is it to be a female filmmaker in the Chilean film industry?

For a time I thought it was not the same than being a male director but similar. In Chile we don’t have a proper industry, as only a very few people make money off of films every once in a blue moon so movies are still mostly passion projects, you have to apply to government grants, wait a long time to be able to win one of the two annual grants a year per category between hundreds of applicants and even then, most of times, you still don’t have enough money to make your movie. So I always thought: it’s hard for everyone. This is still true, but then I started to realise as time went by that most Chilean female filmmakers are in their second movie in their 40s whereas guys are in their second movie in their 30s. I think this has to do with two factors: one external, a field dominated by male producers and male investors and one internal, as women we are taught to be perfect before doing something, so we take longer, we prepare longer the films and we prepare longer ourselves to jump into a feature through short films, documentary work, music videos, etc.

I have been privileged to have had my career in Fabula but even in that scenario I started to direct fiction later than the male directors of my generation.

How was working with the Larrain brothers’s Fabula?

They are simply the best. They support you in every step of the way and give you complete freedom to take your story wherever you wanna take it artistically. I must say they even push you to go further and bigger and they completely trust you. If you need help or advice they are always there, they are generous with their time and they have transformed Fabula in a family filled with the most talented and passionate crew. We usually visit each other’s shooting with Pablo and Lelio and I have on top of this the luck to have met them both way before any of us started doing fiction, so seeing every one succeed and make wonderful and relevant movies has been a beautiful and magnificent ride that I’m grateful to continue experiencing.

The film has a heavy and uneasy subject. Why did you decide to pick up such a theme and how did the story come along?

In 2012 many people thought the world was going to end, in Chile a family of only men was taken to custody under allegations of abuse to their niece. They were a family cult that claimed the girl was the chosen one to carry the Messiah that will avoid the end of the world.

I was in awe about how these men were incapable of even considering the desires or will of that particular girl. Of course no 12 year old will want to have a baby and also the poignant question on who will impregnate her to be the unwilling mother.

Consider that Chile didn’t have abortion law, in any case, and not even a rape law until 2017. That story for me resembled the story of all women; they were socially valuable as a vehicle to male objectives, and not by themselves as human beings with their own dreams.

This was the starting point for the film, from there I had to enter and embrace the darkness associated to abuse but also the resilience and power that lies inside every woman and child around the world.

 

Was it difficult to find a young actress who would take upon such a psychologically heavy part to play?

Yes. We searched among many girls of different ages, we tried girls from 11 to 18, and we ended up going with Sara that had the fierceness that was needed for the role. We did a lot of preparation with her and the rest of the kids. We started studying movies with complicated subjects played by kids, like Tomboy, and then we built bios for the characters with the kids so they could have tools to separate themselves from the characters, we did several rehearsals and went through the most complicated scenes in detail. Also Sara always understood she was being generous and was giving a voice to girls around the world that didn’t have her luck to have loving parents and a beautiful life. I saw Sara grew in front of my eyes; she was always brave because she loved the project and believed deeply in the need of telling this story.

How did you manage to tell such a tough and brutal story in almost fairytale like way? How did such an approach to the subject come to you?

I didn’t want to shoot the movie in any explicit way; it was an ethic choice for me from the beginning of the project. I also wanted to talk about child abuse as a child experience, so I did interviews with several women that were abused during their childhood and got counseled by a psychiatrist that has worked with victims of the biggest cult in Chile and psychologists that have worked with abused women and children. What struck me the most in these recollections is that these women didn’t remember the abuse as one might think a person remembers such a concrete physical experience; all of them just remembered confusing feelings and pieces of images that sounded to me like a blurry nightmare. This was the starting point.

The movie has to be built from the point of view of the child, seduced by the abuser, were the child is manipulated to not morally judge the experience, were the abuser knows how to stimulate erogenous zones and were usually that adult is larger than life for that particular child. This guided me to treat the movie visually as a paradise that turns into hell because that is how Tamara inhabits this experience.

Then the fairy tale side of it, it came together from many sides. The original family called the girl Princess and she lived in the south of Chile. I think we are the faraway land at the end of the world. At the same time, if you read the original tales for children as they were told in Europe before crossing to America, they were extremely dark as they were designed to work as cautionary tales, for example in the original story of The Sleeping Beauty, the Prince rapes the sleeping girl and she only wakes up when she gives birth to twins. Little Red riding Hood is of course a way to talk about abuse and so on.

All of the above crystalized the aesthetics of the film.

Was it important for you to touch on the subjects of patriarchy and female empowerment in Princesita?

Yes. For me Princesita is a small story that echoes the story of all women among history. Of course not all of us have been sexually abused, but the female experience is built on abuse against everything female and on the power and resilience of our gender. Against all odds we have prevailed.

Miguel teaches Tamara a worldview, what and how to think, whom to desire. It is said that what separates humans from animals is the capacity of creating a fiction that we can all inhabit together. For me, Miguel is the Patriarchy. In our Judeo Christian society, the fiction of a male God teaches us that he is the one who is able to create life, not women as any observer of nature will conclude, so this male God creates first a man, and then from that man, he gives life to a woman. This is clearly a way to deprive women of the immense power of creation that we hold, which is unstoppable and immense.

So for me, we as woman, you have to burn it all down to be able to be truly and completely free.

Book your ticket for the premiere of Princesita at the Opening Night Gala of Raindance Film Festival 2018, followed by a Q&A with Marialy Rivas and an after party.

The post Interview with Marialy Rivas, director of Princesita appeared first on Raindance.

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Celebrating Independent Film

For 26 years, Raindance has been bringing the brightest and best independent film to the core of London’s West End. This year is no different. A fresh crop of challenging, fresh and bold new talent hits Raindance. Feast your eyes on films that are nothing like Hollywood.

If you are serious about being independent, or serious about independent film, you won’t miss this year’s festival, as it celebrates the best in independent film from around the world.

1. Opening Night Party

The Raindance Opening Night Party will take place at the beautiful Bloomsbury Ballroom. There’s no better way to begin the festival than celebrating at this party of all parties. This year, the entertainment is brought by the amazing Guilty Pleasures. However, it’s all the pleasure with none of the guilt. So, if you want to see some special guest performers, this is the only way to start your Raindance Film Festival.

2. Guest Country: Chile

As there are many great contemporary Chilean filmmakers, Raindance is thrilled to present Chile as the guest of honour. Chilean filmmakers have been winning awards on the biggest stages because they are creating vibrant and exciting films. We’ll be showcasing Shorts, Q&As, and an Anatomy of a Reel with Gonzalo Maza (director of A Fantastic Woman), to celebrate and learn more about Chilean film.

3. Raindance’s Gallery of Immersive Stories

This year’s Virtual Reality showcase features 33 experiences, split into dedicated areas for VR installations, and curated playlists presenting 360º films. Navigate dreamlike worlds that are filled with secrets waiting to be discovered. From encountering the seven miracles of Jesus, to stepping inside the fracturing mind of Hamlet, each VR story is a unique and engaging experience. Is this a vision of the future or just a dream?

4. Industry Events

We’ve got industry events covering some of the most important and challenging topics in the film industry. From panels discussing onscreen disability representation, to a fireside chat with American History X director, Tony Kaye, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We’re also starting a new Emerging Filmmakers’ event aimed at young people who want to find the next steps for their filmmaking projects. Our industry forum is overflowing with amazing events, so get browsing!

5. Unique Film Strands

With specially curated film strands, you can delve into genres with ease. Take the Films on Filmmaking section. With six thought-provoking features that explore the action offscreen, these films provide an illuminating insight into the highs and lows of filmmaking. Alternatively, the F-Rated selection means you can easily glide through films that have female writers, directors, characters, and more. There’s also an extremely exciting queer film strand that is showcasing great films like the director’s cut of George Michael: Freedom.

6. Amazing Short Films

There is an amazing selection of Shorts at the 26th Raindance Film Festival. The Shorts Programmes are divided into sections ranging from animation, to documentary, to both international and UK Shorts. This shows the rich variety of Shorts we will be showcasing. There’s also a section for the Raindance MA and HND students to show their own work. Come and see established talent like Javier Bardem in Thy Kingdom Come, Tatiana Maslany in Souls of Totality, and Amanda Seyfried in Holy Moses.

7. Webfest

Remember that the festival doesn’t end when the credits roll at the cinema! Be sure to check out all the content on our Webfest platform. If you want to support your favourite web series, remember to vote by liking it on YouTube. Likes and views on YouTube will be used to give a web series the Audience Award. So, if there’s something you really love on the Webfest, remember to support it.

There’s 2 ways to attend:

Cheapest Way to Attend the 26th Raindance Film Festival

Do the maths: Individual Tickets cost £13.00

There are over 200 programmes and events

Raindance Passes cost £49 – £195

Attend all the screenings and events (Opening and Closing night included in the Premium Pass) for less than £1.00 per screening or event.

Get the lowdown. Attend the 26th Raindance and Book Passes Online Here

Single tickets can be purchased from the box office now

book online here

-call the Raindance Film Festival office on 0207 930 3412

The post 7 Reasons To Attend The 26th Raindance Film Festival appeared first on Raindance.

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This year Raindance saw 8929 film submissions with over 4,000 hours of film watched! The brave individual who oversaw the entire submission process is none other than Raindance festival senior programmer Martyna Szmytkowska. She selects her top 5 picks you make sure to see at the festival this year.

Princesita

Directed by Marialy Rivas

Launching the festival this year, PRINCESITA tells the story of twelve-year-old Tamara, raised in a cult community in southern Chile. Thought by their leader Miguel to be the golden child, Tamara is allowed to undertake education outside of the cult. Her growing awareness of life in the outside world however makes her realise that her role is not to be the Chosen One, but rather to bear it. As her second feature, Marialy Rivas does a subtle job in weaving the film’s heavy and bleak subject-matter into the film’s lighter, more accessible tone. A heart-wrenching coming-of-age story, PRINCESITA is a dazzling visual feast and deservedly in competition for Best International Feature in addition to many other awards at Raindance this year.

PRINCESITA will be part of the 26th Raindance Film Festival Opening Night with an ensuing party. Book your tickets here.

Southern Belle

Directed by Nicolas Peduzzi

Taelor Ranzauis is without a doubt a fascinating filmic character. At the age of 15, Taelor’s life is turned upside down when her billionaire father is mysteriously murdered. Growing up in the gated ghettos of Houston, Texas, she decides to emancipate herself from her mother and live her life dangerously on the road. Filled with drug abuse, alcohol and guns, Taelor’s exploits nevertheless stem from the violence and recklessness of the rich white ghettos where she grew up. SOUTHERN BELLE provides a rare look at a troubled, multi-faceted character so difficult to comprehend within her alienating environment.

SOUTHERN BELLE screening on Friday 28th September will be followed by a Q&A with director Nicholas Peduzzi. Book your tickets here.

When Margaux Meets Margaux

Directed by Sophie Fillières

Wouldn’t we like to know what we will be like in 10 or 20 years’ time? Sophie Fillières’ witty exploration of this in WHEN MARGAUX MEETS MARGAUX shows how some mistakes we are sometimes better off in making. A young woman called Margaux divides her days between shoplifting and two uninteresting boyfriends whilst living with her best friend, Esther. Meanwhile, an older woman called Margaux attends the funeral of her old flatmate, Esther, with whom she long ago lost touch. After the two Margauxes meet at a house party, they begin to believe they are the same person at different ages. And while young Margaux realises she can ask older Margaux about the outcomes of her one-night stands, the older Margaux becomes convinced that she could potentially prevent young Margaux from making the same bad decisions that resulted in her unsatisfying middle-age life. Although a story both light and entertaining, the film is neither stupid nor silly: instead it spins a coming-of-age tale in an original and quirky way.

WHEN MARGAUX MEETS MARGAUX screening on Thursday 4th October will be followed by a Q&A with Sophie Fillières. Book your tickets here.  

We

Directed by Rene Eller

A gang of eight privileged teens embark on a wild journey through the dark heart of suburbia. Their hedonistic attitudes and lack of inhibition lead them into lucrative sex work, but their greed quickly envelops them in a web of abuse, blackmail and self-destruction. Told through various different perspectives, their unreliable accounts unravel as they try to explain the death of one of their members and the involvement of a local politician in their operations. Breath-taking and suspenseful from start to finish, Rene Eller has masterfully structured his film to become progressively darker and perverted with every plot twist. Cleverly written and put together, WE is a gripping, mature achievement for a debut filmmaker.

WE screening on Friday 5th October will be followed by a Q&A with cast members Maxime Jacobs, Laura Drosopoulos, Folkert Verdoorn and Gaia Cozijn. Book your tickets here. 

Silent Night

Directed by Piotr Domalewski

SILENT NIGHT opens on the night of Christmas Eve, stripped of any anticipation of family harmony. Adam (DAWID OGRODNIK, from the Academy Award Winner IDA) makes a surprise visit to Poland, navigating his family’s broken relationships whilst unravelling unspoken hurt. He confronts his younger brother’s unexplained resentment, the abuse his sister is suffering at the hands of her husband, his father’s struggle with alcoholism, and his sour mother – whose dreams to sustain their family togetherness slowly crumbles. Despite its bleak subject matter, compassion is the prevailing thread running through the film as characters are depicted with such warmth and authenticity without exaggerating the heavy-handedness of their reunion. Debut filmmaker Piotr Domalewski tangibly explores family relations dealing with the promises, disappointments and realities of Polish immigration. Winning Best Film at Gdynia Film Festival, SILENT NIGHT is now in selection for Raindance’s Best Discovery award.

SILENT NIGHT screening on Friday 5th October will be followed by a Q&A with director Piotr Domalewski. Book your tickets here.

The post Raindance Senior Progammer Martyna Selects Her Festival Highlights appeared first on Raindance.

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This year Raindance saw 8929 film submissions with over 4,000 hours of film watched! The brave individual who oversaw the entire submission process is none other than Raindance festival senior programmer Martyna Szmytkowska. She selects her top 5 picks you make sure to see at the festival this year.

Princesita

Directed by Marialy Rivas

Launching the festival this year, PRINCESITA tells the story of twelve-year-old Tamara, raised in a cult community in southern Chile. Thought by their leader Miguel to be the golden child, Tamara is allowed to undertake education outside of the cult. Her growing awareness of life in the outside world however makes her realise that her role is not to be the Chosen One, but rather to bear it. As her second feature, Marialy Rivas does a subtle job in weaving the film’s heavy and bleak subject-matter into the film’s lighter, more accessible tone. A heart-wrenching coming-of-age story, PRINCESITA is a dazzling visual feast and deservedly in competition for Best International Feature in addition to many other awards at Raindance this year.

PRINCESITA will be part of the 26th Raindance Film Festival Opening Night with an ensuing party. Book your tickets here.

Southern Belle

Directed by Nicolas Peduzzi

Taelor Ranzauis is without a doubt a fascinating filmic character. At the age of 15, Taelor’s life is turned upside down when her billionaire father is mysteriously murdered. Growing up in the gated ghettos of Houston, Texas, she decides to emancipate herself from her mother and live her life dangerously on the road. Filled with drug abuse, alcohol and guns, Taelor’s exploits nevertheless stem from the violence and recklessness of the rich white ghettos where she grew up. SOUTHERN BELLE provides a rare look at a troubled, multi-faceted character so difficult to comprehend within her alienating environment.

SOUTHERN BELLE screening on Friday 28th September will be followed by a Q&A with director Nicholas Peduzzi. Book your tickets here.

When Margaux Meets Margaux

Directed by Sophie Fillières

Wouldn’t we like to know what we will be like in 10 or 20 years’ time? Sophie Fillières’witty exploration of this in WHEN MARGAUX MEETS MARGAUX shows how some mistakes we are sometimes better off in making. A young woman called Margaux divides her days between shoplifting and two uninteresting boyfriends whilst living with her best friend, Esther. Meanwhile, an older woman called Margaux attends the funeral of her old flatmate, Esther, with whom she long ago lost touch. After the two Margauxes meet at a house party, they begin to believe they are the same person at different ages. And while young Margaux realises she can ask older Margaux about the outcomes of her one-night stands, the older Margaux becomes convinced that she could potentially prevent young Margaux from making the same bad decisions that resulted in her unsatisfying middle-age life. Although a story both light and entertaining, the film is neither stupid nor silly: instead it spins a coming-of-age tale in an original and quirky way.

WHEN MARGAUX MEETS MARGAUX screening on Thursday 4th October will be followed by a Q&A with Sophie Fillières. Book your tickets here.  

We

Directed by Rene Eller

A gang of eight privileged teens embark on a wild journey through the dark heart of suburbia. Their hedonistic attitudes and lack of inhibition lead them into lucrative sex work, but their greed quickly envelops them in a web of abuse, blackmail and self-destruction. Told through various different perspectives, their unreliable accounts unravel as they try to explain the death of one of their members and the involvement of a local politician in their operations. Breath-taking and suspenseful from start to finish, Rene Eller has masterfully structured his film to become progressively darker and perverted with every plot twist. Cleverly written and put together, WE is a gripping, mature achievement for a debut filmmaker.

WE screening on Friday 5th October will be followed by a Q&A with cast members Maxime Jacobs, Laura Drosopoulos, Folkert Verdoorn and Gaia Cozijn. Book your tickets here. 

Silent Night

Directed by Piotr Domalewski

SILENT NIGHT opens on the night of Christmas Eve, stripped of any anticipation of family harmony. Adam (DAWID OGRODNIK, Ida) makes a surprise visit to Poland, navigating his family’s broken relationships whilst unravelling unspoken hurt. He confronts his younger brother’s unexplained resentment, the abuse his sister is suffering at the hands of her husband, his father’s struggle with alcoholism, and his sour mother – whose dreams to sustain their family togetherness slowly crumbles. Despite its bleak subject matter, compassion is the prevailing thread running through the film as characters are depicted with such warmth and authenticity without exaggerating the heavy-handedness of their reunion. Debut filmmaker Piotr Domalewski tangibly explores family relations dealing with the promises, disappointments and realities of Polish immigration. Winning Best Film at Gdynia Film Festival, SILENT NIGHT is now in selection for Raindance’s Best Discovery award.

SILENT NIGHT screening on Friday 5th October will be followed by a Q&A with director Piotr Domalewski. Book your tickets here.

The post Raindance Programme Coordinator Martyna Selects Her Festival Highlights appeared first on Raindance.

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When you go about creating a short film it can be a strangely overwhelming experience at first, Equipment, locations, crew, talent, shot lists are just a few of the organisational challenges you need to overcome. And you really want to smash your short film.

When you have a story to tell, the reality of making it happen can often come down to logistics. Being in the right place at the right time to film and ensuring the right people are there to allow you to carry out your artistic endeavours.

But with careful planning, simplification of resources and taking advantage of modern tools, it means making your film in 2018 is more realistic than you might have thought.

Here are 5 tips to smash your next short film

1.Plan and research

Before you get into your filming you need to have done your research. That means checking out locations, having plans so that when you get to shoot you know what you are going to be doing, with who and at what time.

2.Take advantage of modern tools

Smaller cameras, portable battery powered lights are all tools that recently became available and allow you to render fantastic quality at low costs. Be aware of the limitations of using smaller set ups and plan for it.

When Stanley Kubrick started making his first documentaries he had to calculate how much film he planned to shoot and rent 35mm film cameras. Now with a modern DSLR’s you can shoot to an SD cards swapping them out for new cards when filled.

3.Don’t get trapped by technology

What is on the other side of the lens (what you are shooting) will have a greater impact than the camera and lens you use! Don’t hold out for a camera then leave set design, props, and lighting to be superseded with the vision of using that expensive Alexa or Red camera.

4.Use what is available to you

When starting out one of the crucial parts to planning your film is being realistic. See what you have around you to use, then use those locations, people and props. This was the mentality used by Robert Rodriguez when he made El Mariachi with a borrowed camera and a tortoise and before this he used family members as actors.

5.Have a plan but keep your options open

When shooting It’s great to have a plan. But when the plan is clearly not working make sure you allow creative decisions to happen. Some of the best moments in cinema have come from un-planned but free flowing activities. Also be aware of weather. It can change your plan! but as in the Florida Project when a rainbow was spotted in the background of the Motel. They quickly shot a scene that could utilise its visual impact.

The post How To Smash Your Short Film – 5 Tips appeared first on Raindance.

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The arts transform our lives on a daily basis, being at once pools of inspiration, forebearers of change and vehicles of emotion. Oftentimes however the people striving behind the scenes are barely in profile. 26th Raindance Film Festival brings out through its Arts Documentary strand the stories of dancers, filmmakers, photographers and artists: their lives, dreams, artistic successes and struggles to live up to their aspirations.

Ballet Now

Directed by Steven Cantor

Before the curtain rises on the 2017 BalletNOW programme in Los Angeles, there are a final five days of hard preparation, improvisation and practice to get through. In her roles not only as lead performer but also curator and dance director, the toll on 28-year-old Tiler Peck is a heavy one, both physically and emotionally. BALLET NOW shows Peck immersed in a seemingly endless stream of rehearsals, pep talks, physiotherapy sessions, costume changes, interviews, meet-and-greets and consultations with lighting and sound technicians and stage managers. This is a breath-taking profile on a dancer who, with boundless energy and incredible talent, assembles a programme that could exceed even her own artistic aspirations.

Book your tickets for Ballet Now 

Barbara Rubin & The Exploding NY Underground

Directed by Chuck Smith

Barbara Rubin was a passionate pioneer of the budding underground movement of 1960s New York. Showcasing interviews of influential figures including Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol, BARBARA RUBIN & THE EXPLODING NY UNDERGROUND shows the incredible influence Rubin had on experimental film and in bringing the role of women as artists to the fore. Rubin is perhaps best known for her feature CHRISTMAS ON EARTH, which she shot at the age of 17 with one of 16mm cameras owned by influential filmmaker Jonas Merkas. This work is considered to be one of the first legitimate works of multi-media art. The documentary recounts the wild child life of Rubin as she experiments with drugs and sexuality- and captures a morsel of her explosive personality.

Book your tickets for Barbara Rubin & The Exploding NY Underground 

If The Dancer Dances

Directed by Maia Wechsler

“The beauty of dance is that it only exists in the moment. It goes into the air and then it disappears.” Choreographer Stephen Petronio has been teaching his own contemporary dance for thirty years. When his mentor, the legendary Merce Cunningham, passes away, he decides to reconstruct Cunningham’s iconic piece ‘Rainforest.’ Petronio puts his dancers through intensive training of Cunningham’s dance technique, who find his focus on the isolation of individual movements both exciting and challenging. IF THE DANCER DANCES explores dance as an art form that more than any other is lived in the moment in which it is experienced and leaves behind only its emotional resonance. This is an intriguing documentary on what it takes to keep a masterpiece living.

Book your tickets for If The Dancer Dances 

The Artist & The Pervert

Directed by Beatrice Behn & René Gebhardt

A documentary that provocatively peeks into the life of an artist and his eccentric muse. THE ARTIST & THE PERVERT explores the BDSM relationship between one of the 21st century’s most important composers, Georg Friedrich Haas, and his African-American wife, the sexually explicit performer and storyteller Mollena Williams-Haas. Exploring both the role of artists and their various fetishes, the documentary is a touching portrait of a couple who have found true love later in life, and through a master/slave relationship.

Book your tickets for The Artist & The Pervert 

The Greenaway Alphabet

Directed by Saskia Boddeke

THE GREENAWAY ALPHABET is a portrait of filmmaker Peter Greenaway; sensitively, intimately, and alphabetically explored by his wife Saskia Boddeke. We begin with Saskia delicately probing and exploring her relationship to him, but it is through conversations with their incredibly perceptive daughter, Pip, that true revelation begins. A is for Amsterdam, says Peter. For Autism, says Pip. We roam through the alphabet of his everyday, his passions, his strongly held opinions, until we reach a brimming encyclopaedia of Greenaway images and words.The artist discusses his death, his children, his legacy with a plainness that sometimes shocks his family. The biography is not his construct. They interrupt him mid-flow, and scold him from behind the camera – this is a rare insight into the iconic filmmaker.

Book your tickets for The Greenaway Alphabet

The Whistleblower of My Lai

Directed by Connie Field

One day in March 1968, American troops serving in the Vietnam War slaughtered over 500 unarmed civilians in two rural hamlets. The massacre, known as the My Lai Massacre, was only discovered by chance when helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson noticed the events from overhead. Nearly fifty years later, a composer, librettist, multi-instrumentalist and the legendary ensemble the Kronos Quartet (Mishima, Requiem for a Dream) combine to create an opera, My Lai, about Thompson.THE WHISTLEBLOWER OF MY LAI fuses the preparations for the opera’s premiere with a retelling of Thompson’s story, detailing the courage of a man who intervened between his fellow soldiers and their victims in order to save what few lives he could. A radical and original work, the opera serves as a testimony to Thompson’s morality and is a timely reminder of a shameful historical event which now threatens to fade into the mists of collective forgetfulness.

Book your tickets for The Whistleblower of My Lai

Zimbelism

Directed by Matt Zimbel & Jean François Gratton

Photography is an art, a practice, a state of mind. Not everyone with a smartphone can master the art or really understand what it takes without possessing a great eye. That is the ethos of George Zimbel, a freelance documentary photographer whose career spanning 70 years forged a path for humanist photography. Over the years, Zimbel has worked for established magazines such as the New York Times and has exhibited in prestigious galleries worldwide. ZIMBELISM explores Zimbel as much as an anthropologist as a photographer. Incorporating his historical subjects, from John Kennedy to Marilyn Monroe in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, the documentary emphasises how the artist strived to capture the humanity of his subjects and make photographs that were emotionally resonant. ZIMBELISM is a moving reflection on the dreams and trials of a revered man behind the camera.

Book your tickets for Zimbelism 

The post Come to Raindance For … Arts Documentaries appeared first on Raindance.

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I have just had an epiphany moment. On a trip from London to Toronto’s famous film festival I read an advance copy of James Forsher’s Film Stock Footage: Using Archival Material to Make Your Good Film Great. Had I had this book when I started out I am sure it would have shaved years off my journey and reduced hours of high anxiety off my production time.

Starting at the very first step, story, Forsher takes you through all the different elements of stock footage and how storytellers can use stock footage to enhance movies.. He vends in his lifetime of filmmaking experience making documentaries for American television with a series of easily-understood steps to sourcing, acquiring and licensing found footage. It’s like having him beside you.

Whatever type of project you have, whether it be documentary or fiction, this book will help you identify or source the best possible footage. if whatever delivery format you envision be it online, television, animation, commercials, books or radio – James Forsher’s book will spell out the commercial and legal implications. Should your project need found footage, Found Footage is a filmmakers bootcamp that should enable the novice through to experienced filmmaker a ton of useful ideas and information.

This book is an invaluable addition to any library.

The post [REVIEW] Film Stock Footage: Using Archival Material For Film appeared first on Raindance.

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In drama filmmaking the script editor’s services are used all the time to make film scripts better. The equivalent in documentary filmmaking is the Documentary Consultant who comes in at ideas stage (or sometimes during post-production) in order to help film-makers’ documentaries get better. However for some reason documentary consultants are used less frequently than drama script editors are. This is baffling to me. I have made three dozen documentaries myself, and consulted on countless others.  Every single person I’ve consulted with have raved about how their session with me has transformed their film and made it better and more importantly more saleable.

Instead of proselytizing about the merits of a Skype session with a good documentary consultant I’ve instead decided to come up with 5 reasons NOT to use a documentary consultant. If you can check each of these off, then you have no reason to call me!

1. No documentary consultant can help you if you’ve already achieved commercial and critical success

If you have already managed to sell your documentaries to a broadcaster or got them shown theatrically in the cinema you obviously know what you’re doing and don’t need to bring in someone to help you. God Bless.

2.You make experimental films or films for an art gallery

For these type of films I really don’t believe that you need to learn rules or study anything. You can just shoot from the hip and follow your heart. It’s just hit or miss whether your films get accepted or exhibited.

3.You have had a proper documentary filmmaking education

If you really know how to identify whether your idea for a film has the potential to emotionally engage with an audience AND you know how to translate that idea into a living, breathing film then you may very well not need to hire the services of a documentary consultant.

To be able to do the aforementioned you need to learn from people who have a tried and tested track record and are able to communicate that knowledge in a clear and effective way. I personally know of very few institutions that teach that – and many that certainly don’t.

In my experience most documentary film schools are offering less a structured education and more a glorified film studies programme. My evidence for this are the amount film-makers who have told me that they’ve learned more about documentary-making over three hours working with me than over their entire MA or BA at film school or university.

On the education front I teach a 5-evening Documentary Foundation Certificate at Raindance. We explore the basics of documentary filmmaking and develop ideas.

4.You are wealthy and have money to spare

If you have a lot of spare cash and can afford to just go out and keep shooting “films” without learning from a proper educator or consultant then you could just try to learn on the job, film after film, until you get your films shown by festivals or sold to broadcasters. Though I should warn you that the chances of that happening are slim.  And in the process you may very well waste special opportunities and serendipitous moments – as well as squandering potentially great film ideas.

5.You don’t believe that there are rules to learn about documentary filmmaking

If you’re one of those people who believe that you don’t need to learn the proper rules of documentary filmmaking and that instead you should just go out and start shooting films then good luck to you. As a consultant I‘ve seen many “films” directed by people who just picked up a camera and spent thousands of pounds shooting them. They start off believing that they’ll find their film in the edit or that a fully formed film with a great dramatic arc will miraculously appear to them. I passionately believe that you need to know the rules of documentary-making. You must have an understanding of how to appropriately direct them to know what your film is and how to direct it.

N.B. If none of the above apply to you could always book a consultation on Skype or in person with an inspired documentary consultant. It doesn’t have to be for very long – the average length of a session with me is around two to three hours.

The post 5 Reasons NOT To Use A Documentary Consultant appeared first on Raindance.

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Someone once compared watching a film to listening to a piece of music. Thinking about the whole process, it makes sense. Music notes on sheet paper guide musicians to play a piece of music in harmony led by a conductor. And yet music is not just about fitting all those components together like a puzzle. Instead they meld and cohere so invisibly to create a mood and flow of that piece. This is like film. Cinematography, sound design, editing, writing and actors all lift a story onto the big screen but don’t work in and of themselves. Their roles sync to create the right atmospheres for engaging narratives.

Understanding film like music cannot be a better comparison to situate pace in film: because pace is all about establishing mood and flow. Watching a film is about experiencing its patterns, the symmetry of its parts and, very importantly, timing. Pace relates to the progress of the narrative arc; how we are guided through the story. We engage with the scenes in terms of the flow of dialogue and action, in other words, its rhythm.

But understanding what we mean by pace can be very difficult because it is subtle. Let’s just say that bad pacing is when something happens too long on screen or contrarily too short: we’re either twiddling our thumbs, waiting for the next piece of information to reveal itself or are confused because we haven’t had enough time to process what we see. Good pacing constantly mediates that middle ground, adjusting between fast and slow to keep us emotionally engaged through one and a half hours of storytelling.

I’ve chosen to examine how 5 contemporary directors use pace in order to understand how films can be read this way. Although it’s not often explicit, the way these directors have paced their films have been influential in defining their specific directorial style.

1. David Fincher

David Fincher is perhaps most known for his hard-boiled, fast-thinking and emotionally twisted protagonists. Think the insomniac narrator in Fight Club, whiz brain Zuckerberg in The Social Network and the frantic but driven cartoonist Graysmith trying to find a killer in Zodiac. By following the journey of these characters, the pace of Fincher’s films are mostly fast, sharp and succinct. His punchy dialogue is definitely key to this, but also his slick editing and camerawork. Fincher for instance has this camera technique of following the movement of characters, tracking alongside them as they walk; lingering as they pause. It’s as if we’re experiencing the events alongside them, searching for truths the same time they are. Fincher always provides us with a lot of information to grasp in a short space of time, often jumping between different points in time, yet his films’ steady pace helps us process all of that whilst focusing on a clear plotline. As a result, you can pick up new details in his films with every viewing. However, Fincher’s best achievement lies in the way he brings his viewers to the level of his protagonists’ pace of thinking. When we watch the Social Network we can’t help but start think fast like Zuckerberg. This is the crux to the way Fincher builds suspenseful plotlines.

2. Quentin Tarantino

People usually associate violence with fast-paced thrillers. Violence in Tarantino’s films however occurs at a purposefully measured pace, usually at the end of a very long piece of dialogue, to make it all the more unexpected and ruthless. If you think of the opening scene of Inglorious Bastards, SS colonel Hans Landa has a pretty banal conversation with the dairy farmer, but psychologically transforms him into such a nervous wreck that he is led to reveal the Jewish family hiding under his floorboards. This scene draws out the characters’ conversations line by line, dragging out the tension without changing pace for as long as possible to the point of becoming unbearable: then he brings out the guns. Pensive but suspenseful pacing is particular to Tarantino in making viewers wait to jolt at newly erupted action. Additionally, Tarantino often utilizes confining claustrophobic spaces to establish power dynamics between characters. The intrusion of a Nazi officer in the basement bar of Inglorious Bastards for instance is a visual disruption because he walks in from a different camera angle within that space. This change in framing is disarming and considerably changes the flow of the scene, showing how instrumental shot composition is to pace.

3. Damien Chazelle

Music has been the main subject of Oscar-winning Damien Chazelle first two features, Whiplash and La La Land. As a musical, La La Land is obviously filmed and edited according to the film’s soundtrack but I found Chazelle’s other film Whiplash equally fascinating in a rhythmic sense. Chazelle’s debut feature centers on an ambitious student drummer challenged physically and psychologically by a renowned but abusive conservatory teacher, Terrence Fletcher. Whiplash opens on the protagonist, Andrew Neiman, playing on his kit, his drum roll in gradual crescendo as the camera pushes forward to a close up. This audio-visually establishes the increasing emotional frustration Andrew experiences throughout the film on the pulse of a drumbeat, pushed further to the brink of sanity. Sound architects Andrew’s state of anxiety and the film’s spiraling tension. In a finale jazz performance, when Andrew realizes he has been cheated by Fletcher he takes the orchestra into his own hands with an electrifying drum solo. Conductor and drummer lock heads in battle on the basis of whether Andrew will lose his furious beat, at times matching viewers’ racing heartbeat. Chazelle’s method of pacing posits Whiplash’s key point of contention: is Fletcher trying to screw Andrew over, or by challenging him does he help him become famous?

4. Terrence Malick

Whilst for Fincher pace is key to locking viewers into characters’ minds, the films of Terrence Malick remove them from the main narrative focus altogether. Malick’s films have often (controversially) been described as poetic essays, extended philosophical enquiries on the meaning of life. This is because he has a specific form of cinematic storytelling that is based on loosely associated images, using a drifting camera wafting in and out of a scene, placing characters in an out of focus. This is particularly distinctive to the flow of Malick’s work that doesn’t impose a particular way of viewing action according to characters’ perspectives. Malick builds his filmic narratives around moments and gestures, as if we’re guided by characters’ stream of consciousness. In Tree of Life for instance, Malick tries to express how protagonist Jack searches the farthest recesses of his mind to bring back his earliest childhood memories. The dislocated images and snippets of voices embody that indeterminacy of remembering. It’s Jack’s sensorial rather coherent experience that Malick tries to convey in his particular cinematic language. His sense of pace establish that illusion of what is floating, lilting and lyrical; to show how action doesn’t have a purpose or ending but just wafts in front of the camera.

5. Lynne Ramsay

Studying the pace of Lynne Ramsay’s work is intriguing on the basis of her formal background as a photographer. Her aesthetic practice weaves into her cinematographic work because they are as detailed as photography itself. What we see in her films are studies of characters, focusing on details that break free from the confines of the plot and set up a  pace to her films both tender and meditative. Ramsay tells stories of ordinary people’s lives, oftentimes harrowing or burdened by grief or pain, and within the worlds they inhabit she unfolds images and sounds that make us immerse in its folds and textures. As opposed to Whiplash’s plot-driven sound and image, to Ramsay they are part of her attention to detail. This is to show the way James in Ratcatcher wraps himself in a curtain, as if shrouded by his friend’s death who drowned in a bog. There’s this memorable close-up shot of ants crawling on a jam sandwich in We Need To Talk About Kevin. This not only reveals the mess left by an ill-mannered boy, but also how his parents, by post-poning the problem, let it grow into a bigger one. Through careful framing and shot choices, both films portray different portraits of childhood and adulthood, revealed in the visual pacing of their day-to-day lives.

The post 5 Directors And The Way They Ace Pace appeared first on Raindance.

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