Category: Media News


The Festival Diary – it’s emotional

So onward the festival weekend went and with no screening at the Southbank it was once again off to Piccadilly to harvest the best that Raindance can offer. Luckily, due to a little festival burn out I had decided to take the easy route and commune with other wary soul journeying through the desert of creative thought.
So after a quick visit to the Raindance cafe it was back to the cinema to see ‘Hinterland’, a slow burning road movie it which not a lot happens but says more than most movies about our relationships and how they sometimes “devolve” over time. It has a real charm about it which makes the end note of the movie far more touching than a lot of movies which try to force an emotional response on you.
After another long gap the movie ‘Cesar Chavez’ dealt out a history lesson on the civil rights leader who changed the way in which migrant workers were paid and treated. It has some stand out moments but in the main the story is told in quite a straight forward fashion considering the stella cast assembled which goes to prove that, although this was not a bad movie, A big name cast does not guarantee a big emotional experience.
And talking of emotion the last film I saw on Saturday was meant to be shown as part of the Raindance MA short film program. ‘Beyond The Cage’ tells the story of two MMA fighters Alex Reid and Tony Giles as they prepare to fight each other in a match. The impression I had of the sport and of the individuals involved were shattered into pieces as they explained their prep method but also their highly emotional reason for their drive towards fighting. Tony spoke in a mini Q&A after and I really get now how personal struggle can work for and at time against you but his drive and determination plus his endless support he feel from his son to do better has left a deep emotional crater that will be hard to fill for a long time.
Sunday mornings shorts program offered some light and shade with the stand out film ‘Mr Invisible’ a bench mark of things to come from the film making team.
The feature ‘Fourever’ showed the darker side of long term friendships (a theme that has ran through the festival on and off screen as of late) with the main protagonist tricking his friends into a home party situation with disastrous consequences. A very slow starting moving at first and a technically difficult film to watch it eventually fumbled its way to some very “ah-ha!” moments later on down the line. Then after more networking and my second hot meal of the festival I took in the music documentary ‘Take Me To The River’ which open our eyes to the joy and pain of the Memphis music scene and it’s bi-directional effects on the wider community. A gala screening packaged with a Gig at the 100 Club made the night worth the headache the next day.

Bouncing back to the BFI on the Southbank Monday morning and the morning screening of ‘Kelly & Cal’ show the more surreal way in which love and infatuation knows no bounds. Even if the one of the would be lovers are physical bound through disability the story still wrapped us in a realistic but cute version of suburban hell.
Meanwhile after a quick Raindance cafe pitstop I sat through the UK Funds talk which still had some supprises even for me. The comedy ‘Down Dog’ with Nick Moran told the story of a man wrongly told he has a year to live who decides to try and turn his life around and reconnect with his son. Funny. Not laugh out loud funny in my view but the kind of comedy that I am sure Sky TV will lap up.
After a very short breather I was invited to the screening of the new Richwater film ‘We Still Kill The Old Way’, a comically at time dark tale of revenge and urban gangland style warfare with the older generation taking on a careless youth gang. For me it was a welcome break from the claustrophobia a festival environment can be. Also. They ran out of space at the ‘Boozin N Smoozin’ event so at least I was left completely out in the cold. Not that anyone would purposeful do such a thing……would they?

To round off this diary entry quickly both screening at BFI, ‘Queen and Country’ as well as ‘NAS -Time Is iLLmatic’ we’re both fresh and worthy of the bouncing around between the Sourhback and Piccadilly.
At Raindance and my film choices were not going well. Both ‘The Ninth Cloud’ with Michael Madsen and the later screening from Sadie Frost ‘Buttercup Bill’ were too out there for words. Luckily the Gala screening of the Manchester United mockumentary ‘United We Fall’ round the day off with at least one hit on planet Raindance.

It has been a weird few days during this festival time as the highs and lows of people energy can draw blood if we are not careful. Film can be a very emotional medium both on screen and especially off screen…..if you let it.

The Festival Diary – it’s all a blur.

For me it’s that time of year where I step away from the overcooked laptop and see what daylight looks like. With the BFI industry screenings (which I can’t talk about, even though I have just mentioned it) and The 22nd Raindance Film Festival plus The London Film Festival bring up the rear it is going to a busy 4 weeks for sure.

So after a couple of days enjoying the calm that is The BFI NFT scenes on the southbank I readied myself for the un-plannable but for me, over planned Raindance Festival.
Dubbed by me as the only festival my wife lets me go to Raindance is not just about cramming In as many films in a day as humanly possible despite my best efforts but it is about meeting with like minded people who you can connect with on one level or another.

The opening gala which featured the film ‘I Origins’, a film I was planning to see when released in the UK, gave us the promise of the festival. That promise being an open window into films you would normally not get a chance to see either for a long time or not at all.

The after party was a chance to let off some steam, catch up with your festival crew and network with what will be the new festival buddies. As well as that the Roland Gift set blew my sock off. He sang and performed like the true gift he is.

With only four hours sleep to my name the first full day of the festival gave me my first film ‘The Word’ from Poland (showing again on Sunday 28th Sept – 6:00pm). A story of teen angst and murder it demonstrates once again that Poland do not skimp on quality. The second film of my day was ‘The Beat Beneath My Feet’ with Luke Perry staring. A mix of musical and drama was executed in an original fashion (showing again Sunday 4th Oct) made me sit up and listen not only to the songs but the message as a few difficult subject was wrapped in an inventive but popular format.
Last of that day was the ‘Children Of the Sun’ gala screening. A loving, dreamy tone poem wraps this drama about a family trying to escape the local mafia. The after show drinks helped to wake me from the shockingly airy way the conclusion was played out.

Friday morning and after taking in The film ’71’ at BFI I proceeded to head back to the festival to see ‘Gregor’ which contains an “N word” joke which spent way too much time to dig itself out of a hole. Luckily I had a get out clause with the Raindance MA student screenings which showed three short but could not show the forth due to a technical error. With luck it gave us a chance to speak to all of the filmmakers and a few star in the form of MMA fighters including Alex Reed. I can truly say my perception of the sport and the sportsmen involved has change for the positive and especially catching up with one of the fighters (Chi) I now have a new sport to follow.
After a brief munchy I had the pleasure of meeting up with my fest buddies and catching the screening of ‘Show Pieces’ short film trilogy. This Alan Moore/Mitch Jenkins collaborative work deals with the regret and guilt (yeah I said it) of passing into the afterlife. As well as this superb eye opening thriller hitting me with shock and humour in equal measure the Q&A afterwards with Alan and crew was just as irreverent.

I feel uplifted and tired. And it is only a week into the festival and screenings. I look forward to more energy giving cinema over the coming weeks. Also, if you are reading this in time for the Raindance Film Festival my motto is simple. Book, get passes……Go!!

Raindance has begun…

So tonight sees the opening gala of the 22nd Raindance Film Festival. I will be there (in body at least with only 4 hours sleep in my bones) enjoying 10 days of eye opening and awe inspiring movies short and tall.
I will try and maintain a daily short report but for now, I hope to see you there.