LondonNet Cinema Guide

14th Raindance Film Festival:
27 September - 8 October 2006

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Click here to see the full screening schedule

All screenings take place at the CineWorld, Trocadero Centre, Piccadilly, London W1 except Opening and Closing Night - CineWorld Haymarket

Like a rebellious teenager, proudly wearing their Ramones t-shirt as they watch A Clockwork Orange, the 14TH RAINDANCE FILM FESTIVAL is ready to embrace punk rock, BDSM sex, comic books, graffiti and similar subcultures. Are you?

Widely known as a platform for independent films and aspiring filmmakers, the Raindance Film Festival has previously discovered films such as Memento, as well as hosting the world premiere of The Blair Witch Project. This year looks set to be another voyage of discovery: many of the festivals most anticipated films are by first-time directors some having their premiere at Raindance. Be amongst the first to catch tomorrow's coolest movies by seeing them at Raindance today.

As well as screening a vast number of remarkable short films alongside some motivating discussion panels and the infamous Live!Ammunition! pitching event, Raindance has assembled a selection of original independent features and documentaries the range and scope of which you won't find anywhere else.

Luke and Harry Treadaway as Tom Howes and Barry Howes in Brothers of the Head co-directed by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe. Copyright: Tartan Films UKThe festival opens on Wednesday 27 September with the London premiere of Brothers Of The Head. Having previously directed various making-of films, this is directing duo Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe's debut feature. Based on a story by sci-fi writer Brian Aldiss, and with a screenplay by Tony Grisoni, it's a dark and twisted mocumentary that follows a 1970s music promoter as he plucks conjoined twins Tom and Barry Howe from obscurity and grooms them into a freakish rock 'n' roll act. It took top honours at last month's Edinburgh Film Festival where it won the Michael Powell award for best new British feature film, so you won't want to miss its London debut.

Another British highlight is Mark Hammond's Johnny Was. Starring Vinnie Jones as Johnny Doyle, a man whose efforts to escape a violent past in Ireland by lying low in Brixton are thwarted when a former mentor (Patrick Bergin) breaks out of Brixton Prison. Questioning race, morality and loyalty, this gangsta flick features a Rastafarian reggae pirate radio station, Yardie crack dealers, a brilliant soundtrack, and an eclectic cast that includes former ER star Eriq La Salle, boxer Lennox Lewis, actress and pop star Samantha Mumba, former footballer and TV presenter John Fashanu, and The Who's Roger Daltrey.

Rock music has long been an integral part of Raindance, and this year is no exception with a handful of music documentaries that supplant some of the decade's most significant live performances onto celluloid. Too Tough To Die: A Tribute To Johnny Ramone is a rocumentary capturing an unforgettable benefit concert that took place on September 12, 2004, just two-and-a-half days before Johnny Ramone's death. Joined onstage by a group of musicians and friends including Deborah Harry, The Dickies, X, Eddie Vedder, Joan Jett, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers the concert was staged to celebrate The Ramones 30th Anniversary and to raise money for cancer research. This world premiere screening, sponsored by HMV, will be introduced by Marky Ramone, followed by a Q&A with Marky and Mojo's Kieron Tyler.

Neil Young: Heart Of GoldWhen Neil Young played Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium in August 2005, after successfully undergoing lifesaving surgery to remove a brain aneurysm just months earlier, his performance was captured by Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme. The resulting feature, Neil Young: Heart Of Gold, is a unique collaboration that has its London premiere at Raindance. Another London premiere is Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, a biographical snapshot of one of the greatest poets of popular music. Taking the recent 'Came So Far For Beauty' tribute concert as its starting point, the film splices live performances of Cohen's songs by artists like Nick Cave, Beth Orton, and Rufus and Martha Wainwright, with behind-the-scenes interviews that reflect Cohen's quietly gripping presence and dry humour.

Taking its name from the bands key philosophy, There Is No Authority But Yourself is a documentary following British anarcho-punk band Crass from 1977 to 1984 and through to the present day. This screening will be hosted by Crass co-founder Penny Rimbaud and Crass video artist Gee Vaucher. Unauthorised and Proud of It: Todd Loren's Rock'n'Roll Comics examines the life and death of publisher Todd Loren, who spearheaded unauthorised comic book biographies of rock, pop, and rap stars. Beginning with Guns & Roses in 1989, he was famously sued by New Kids On The Block, and more famously murdered in 1992 the principal suspect being serial killer Andrew Cunanan who later murdered Gianni Versace.

The 14th Raindance Film Festival is privileged to celebrate the work of maverick director Stanley Kubrick with a 35th anniversary screening of what is possibly his most notorious work, A Clockwork Orange. Festival filmgoers will also have a rare opportunity to see Kubrick's sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen. Rounding off this Kubrick retrospective is the acclaimed documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures, which will be hosted by the films director Jan Harlan also Kubrick's long-time executive producer and brother-in-law.

From Australia comes the subversive and sexually explicit documentary Liberty In Restraint, which follows fetish photographer Noel Graydon as he explores the BDSM community via rope artists, adult babies, electro-torture, and blood play enthusiasts. The result is a provocative, erotic, and graphic exploration of sexual desire and freedom of expression.

From China comes the intriguing Little Red Flowers by Zhang Yuan, this years Director In Residence. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and took home the C.I.C.A.E. award at Berlin. It follows four-year old Qiang, deposited in a kindergarten in post-1949 Beijing by his travelling parents. But the kindergartens sunny rituals and carefully organised regime, designed to train each child to be a good member of society, doesn't sit comfortably with Qiang's rebellious nature. Someone else who doesn't fit in is Rodney Miller, the protagonist of offbeat American comedy Fat Girls. This shy and awkward school student in a small Texan town loves the theatre and dreams of being on Broadway, hence only his theatre teacher (played by award-winning documentary filmmaker Jonathan Caouette) understands him. This heartfelt and often very funny gay film was written, directed by, and stars 19-year old Ash Christian. This will be its international premiere.

A London premiere is Wristcutters: A Love Story, by debut director Goran Dukic. The film is set in a strange afterlife reserved for those who have committed suicide, and stars Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, and rock singer Tom Waits. One of the most intriguing films to emerge from Eastern Europe is Serbian debut director Stevan Filipovic's Sheitan‚'s Warrior. A group of secondary schoolchildren find an old esoteric book that can be used to summon a demon but, this being a dark Harry Potter-type tale, it falls into the wrong hands...

The festival closes on Sunday 8 October with the World premiere of British comedy Scenes Of A Sexual Nature. This debut feature from former Raindance film course student, Ed Blum, was shot in less than a month for a budget of under £500,000. Following seven couple as they explore love, sex and relationships one sunny afternoon on Hampstead Heath, the film boasts a stella British cast that includes Ewan McGregor, comedienne Catherine Tate, Oscar-nominated actress Sophie Okonedo, Adrian Lester, Andrew Lincoln, Douglas Hodge, Gina McKee, Hugh Bonneville, Mark Strong and Polly Walker. I am so delighted that Scenes Of A Sexual Nature has been selected as closing night film of this year's Raindance Festival which has always been a celebration of independent filmmaking, encouraging young filmmakers to live the dream, says the films producer/director Ed Blum.

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The 14th Raindance Film Festival will run from September 27 to October 8, and will feature 90 films screening over 12 days at Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue (opening and closing night films to be screened at Cineworld Haymarket) Ticket Prices: peak: £8.90 / before noon: £5.50 / off peak: £6.50 / students & concessions: £6.00. Bookings can be made via or on 0871 200 2000.

Click here to see the full screening schedule

This year's jury will include rock 'n' roll legends Lou Reed from The Velvet Underground, and Marky Ramone from The Ramones; Scottish film director Kevin Macdonald famed for his compelling documentary Touching the Void; US cinematographer Matthew Libatique (Requiem for a Dream/Tigerland) and Anton Corbijn, a celebrated stills photographer and music video director who has worked with U2 and Nirvana. Bend it Like Beckham and ER actress Parminder Nagra will represent the acting contingent alongside veteran British actress, Dame Judi Dench.

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