Jeff Feuerzeig's documentaryThe Devil and Daniel Johnston, about the cult musician and songwriter,will kick off the 13th Raindance Film Festival in London on September 28. Thefilm previously won the best director prize at Sundance.
Raindance will close onOctober 9 with the European premiere of Jonathan Jakubowicz's SecuestroExpress, a Caracas, Venezuela-set crime thriller shot on digital videousing mostly non-professional actors.
During the 12-day festival,Raindance will present 80 features and 130 shorts at two central LondonCineworld cinemas. "It is a showcase of the new independent film from aroundthe world, specializing in first-time filmmakers," Raindance producer OliHarbottle said.
Harbottle said this year'sfestival submissions were up about 20% over 2004. "It's probably our strongestlineup," Harbottle said. "As we get more submissions, we can afford to choosejust the very best rather than filling slots. For us to be able to show filmslike [Russian blockbuster] Night Watch and Secuestro Express,that shows that the industry is taking Raindance more seriously." The festivalwill offer one world premiere, US director Johnny Martin's The GingerbreadMan.
The festival, as usual, willscreen several other music-themed works, including Billy Childish is Dead (accompaniedby a live performance and Q&A with Childish.)
Musician and filmmaker DonLetts will DJ at the Raindance opening party and later present his documentary Punk:Attitude, featuring punk figures such as Siouxsie Sioux and Tommy Ramone.Anne McCloy's 15-minute short, The Libertines: Fuck the Police will bepaired with that feature.
Among the domestic featuresshowing are Jake West's horror film Evil Aliens, Julian Gilbey's urbangangster tale Rollin' With the Nines(featuring an appearance by rapper Dizzee Rascal), Saul Metzsein's blackcomedy Guy X (starring Jason Biggs and Natascha McElhone), and thecontroversial UK feature about a gang rape, Thomas Clay's The Great Ecstasyof Robert Carmichael.
Vanessa Redgrave will hostthe Alexander Mackendrick Memorial Lecture on October 8 and also present herlatest film, Carlo Nero's The Fever. That film is also notable becauseit stars documentarian Michael Moore in his first acting role.
US independent features setfor Raindance include Antonio Campos' Buy It Now, about a teenagerselling her virginity on eBay; Stuart Gordon's Edmond starring WilliamH. Macy and written by David Mamet; and Scott Coffey's Los Angeles-set comedy EllieParker starring Naomi Watts.
Foreign-language offeringsinclude the Philippines-set drama Cavite; France's 36 Quai Des Orfevres starring Gerard Depardieu and DanielAuteuil; Russian hit Night Watch, Carlos Reygadas' Battle in Heaven;Fruit Chan's Dumplings; and the late Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh's 0605and Cool.
Harbottle noted that thefestival was showing films from a wider range of countries than in the past."We have the first non-state film from Vietnam, Bride of Silence; aswell as a Swiss film and a Macedonian film, a Colombian film and a Peruvianfilm - these are countries that don't always feature in our line-up," he said.
In addition to screenings,the festival will offer several panel discussions, a director's masterclass,and its Live! Ammunition! event, when aspiring filmmakers can pitch ideas toindustry experts including Nik Powell. Raindance has recruited jury membersincluding actor Natalie Press, musician Tommy Ramone, actor/director RichardJobson, and producer Mia Bays.