sleep strangers

Source: Raindance

‘Sleep’, ‘The Strangers’ Case’

Jason Yu’s Sleep and Brandt Andersen’s The Strangers’ Case were among the winners at the 32nd Raindance Film Festival, which held its jury awards ceremony today (Thursday, June 27) in London.

Korean filmmaker Yu - a former assistant director to Bong Joon Ho - won the Discovery award for best debut feature with Sleep. The black comedy stars the late Lee Sun-kyun and Jung Yu-mi, in the story of an expectant wife who must stop her husband’s sleepwalking habits before he harms himself or his family.

Scroll down for the full list of feature awards

Sleep debuted in Critics’ Week at Cannes 2023, going on to festivals including Toronto.

Brandt Anderson’s The Strangers’ Case starring Omar Sy won the best international feature prize. A Berlinale Special premiere in February this year, The Strangers’ Case sees tragedy strike a Syrian family in Aleppo, creating a chain reaction involving five different families in four countries.

Best documentary went to Debra Aroko and Nicole Gormley’s Kenya-US co-production Searching For Amani, in which a 13-year-old aspiring journalist investigates his father’s murder within one of Kenya’s largest wildlife conservancies.

Further prizes included best debut director to Luke Gilford for National Anthem, and best performance in a debut feature to Paula Grimaldo for The Quiet Maid.

Andrew Abrahams’ Dog War, a world premiere at the festival, took the Spirit of Raindance award. The documentary follows a team of animal-loving combat veterans who infiltrate the dog meat farms and markets of South Korea to save as many dogs as possible; members of the team, including a canine companion, were present at the festival this week.

The festival also handed out an award for best unproduced screenplay, to Darryl Wimberley for A Seeping Wound; while a new award, the Innovation in Storytelling prize, went to Jay Alvarez’s Something’s More Than One Thing.

The new award ”celebrates a groundbreaking independent film that moves the medium further into the ever-evolving cinematic landscape,” said Raindance founder Elliot Grove. ”This film’s unique narrative techniques embody the values this award was made for.”

The 17-strong jury included actors Alice Englert, Claes Bang, Diego Luna and Jared Harris, plus producer Ivana MacKinnon and director Paul Sng.

Raindance wraps its 2024 edition – its first to take place in the summer following the move from November – with a closing party tomorrow.

Raindance 2024 jury awards

Discovery award for best debut feature – Sleep, dir. Jason Yu
Honourable mentions: It’s Burning, Sisterhood

Best international feature – The Strangers’ Case, dir. Brandt Anderson

Best documentary feature – Searching For Amani, dirs. Debra Aroko, Nicole Gormley

Best debut director – Luke Gilford, National Anthem

Best performance in a debut feature – Paula Grimaldo, The Quiet Maid

Spirit of Raindance award – Dog War, dir. Andrew Abrahams

Best unproduced screenplay – A Seeping Wound, wri. Darryl Wimberely

Innovation in Storytelling award - Something’s More Than One Thing, dir. Jay Alvarez

Honorary Rainmaker award: Thompson Dean, chairman of Investment Committee at Avista