London’s ever-wonderful Raindance Film Festival – Europe’s foremost celebration of indie cinema – celebrates it’s 20th birthday this year with yet another excellent programme of features, documentaries, shorts, retrospectives and industry events. Scattered amongst the vast programme are a selection of Australian projects, many displaying the increasing willingness of Antipodean filmmakers to search for stories outside the confines of their national identities.
ERRORS OF THE HUMAN BODY
If you discount John Jarratt’s gruesome turn as a(nother) crazed killer in US horror Shiver, the only other fiction feature with an Australian connection at Raindance 2012 is Berlin-based Aussie Eron Sheean’s debut feature Errors of the Human Body. Evolving from Sheean’s experience as artist-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology in Dresden, Errors… centres on a Canadian doctor who arrives in wintry Dresden to take up a new job in a human genetics laboratory. Sent to work on a top-secret project to produce a human regenerative gene, he soon discovers a conspiracy of monumental proportions that threatens his own life and the future of humanity.
This psychological thriller and medical mystery may have already had its UK premiere as part of Film4 FrightFest, but its screening at Raindance is just as special. On September 27, Errors… will participate in a world premiere presentation of the amBX cinema enhancement system, which purports to ‘do with light and colour what Dolby does with surround sound’, introducing a wholly immersive lighting environment to the cinema. Unfortunately, single-session tickets are not available for this special ‘event’ screening, but you can still grab a seat as a holder of a festival Events Pass (£50+VAT) or by supporting Raindance as a Festival Friend (£100-500). The amBX-enhanced version of Errors of the Human Body screens at the Moving Picture Company Screening Room in Soho at 3pm on September 27, 2012.
| Screening Info | Trailer | Official Website |
DESPITE THE GODS
Also looking offshore for inspiration is Australian documentarian Penny Vozniak, who turns her camera onto the tortured creative process of filmmaker (and daughter of David) Jennifer Lynch for Despite the Gods. Still sporting the scars of her reviled directorial debut Boxing Helena (1993), Lynch followed the relative success of her 2008 comeback, Surveillance, by leaping headlong into the volatile Indian film industry, heading to Chennai to make a film based on an Indian myth about a woman who turns into a snake and back into a woman again. Tagged as ‘Jennifer Lynch’s Bollywood Odyssey’, Vozniak’s unflinching film captures moments of sheer joy, pure desperation and everything in between as Lynch struggles to navigate through the Indian industry and bring her singular vision to the screen. Much more than a glorified ‘making of’ DVD extra, Despite the Gods is an uncompromising portrait of the creative process and has its UK premiere at 6:30pm on October 2, 2012 at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus, which also hosts an encore screening at 3pm on October 5. The film is also one of six nominees for the Best Documentary Feature prize, with the winner announced at the Raindance Awards ceremony on October 6.
| Screening Info | Trailer | Official Website |
SHORTS & MUSIC VIDEOS
Aussie talent also features in the short-form component of Raindance 2012: having previously worked with Adam Eliot on Mary and Max, the multi-talented Darcy Prendergast brings two of his works to the music videos session, a dizzyingly great stop-motion clip for Gotye’s Easy Way Out and a beastly homecoming narrative to accompany British India’s I Will Make You Love Me, a collaboration with Oh Yeah Wow colleague Seamus Spilsbury. The Raindance Music Videos screening takes place at Apollo Piccadilly Circus, 5:30pm on September 28 and also features clips from Die Antwoord, Delta Heavy and Bohemian Thought.
| Screening Info |
Finally, there is just one Australian short screening at this year’s Raindance, with writer-director Matt Richards presenting his 21-minute work, First Contact. A product of the prestigious VCA film school, the film traces the self-imposed isolation of a father and daughter who live peacefully beside a vast salt lake, until a mysterious interloper forces them to confront their own existence. Visually stunning, it screens with four other shorts from the US and UK that survey the difficult terrain of modern life. First Contact makes its UK debut as part of the Gone Astray shorts session at 6:15pm on September 28 at Apollo Piccadilly Circus, with the programme repeated at 1pm on October 5.
| Screening Info | Trailer |
Europe’s leading independent film festival, the 20th Raindance Film Festival runs at London’s Apollo Piccadilly Circus (and other venues in the West End) from 26 September to 7 October, 2012