Winners announced for 25th Raindance Film Festival in London

The iconic independent festival announced its winners in a glittering award ceremony at The Mayfair Hotel on 29th September.

The night was hosted by the festival’s founder Elliot Grove, and the jury included renowned British names such as Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones), Jack O’ Connell (Skins, Unbroken), and Celia Imrie (Pat and Margaret, Bridget Jones’s Diary). This year, the festival received submissions from over 200 countries, surpassing previous records.

There were 15 main categories for the jury to choose from, including Best Director, Best Picture and Best UK Feature. The Raindance VRX Awards were also launched for very first time to showcase the numerous virtual reality experiences produced across the globe. Other established events included China Day, to shed a light on Chinese film projects, and the popular Live Ammunition!, which gives filmmakers a chance to pitch their film ideas to a panel of seasoned industry members.

The Constitution, a film about misunderstandings which are deeply rooted in xenophobia, reaped the most awards: Best Screenplay, Best Film and Best Performance by Nebojša Glogovac, who plays the main character of an ageing cross-dressing professor impeccably.

Hector Valdez’s Peaches won Film of the Festival. Set in an unknown location in the Caribbean, it follows an inventor who creates a time machine to right the mistakes he made while on a romantic trip with his girlfriend Laura. Grove said that Peaches was chosen “because of the spirit in which it was made […] The film cleverly interweaves style and synthesised music rooted firmly in the 1970s to create a relentlessly upbeat movie with characters that are hilariously oblivious to the complexities of basic morality.” Valdez will direct next year’s Official Festival Trailer according to Raindance tradition.

Best Documentary was awarded to RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save the Planet, a film about well-known river conservationist Mark Angelo’s global river journey to reveal the dark secrets of the fashion industry. The Special Jury Mention for Best Documentary was a specially added to the festival by the jury for The Family I Had. In it, a mother remembers how her family was torn apart as a result of a horrifying act committed by her teenage son.

Other wins included I Still Hide to Smoke (Discovery Award for Best Debut Feature), Maya Dardel (Best Director) and In Another Life (Best UK Feature), which is set in the Calais refugee jungle camp. Winners of the Shorts category included Game, for Best Short, Viola, Franca, receiving Special Jury Mention for Best Short, Cla’am for Best UK Short, and Best Documentary Short Riders of the Well of Death.

Guy Ritchie, acclaimed British director known for his works such as RocknRolla (starring Gerald Butler) and Sherlock Holmes, was awarded the second Raindance Auteur Award for his accomplishments and contributions to the film industry.

Winners of the VRX Awards consisted of Eugene Chung (The Special Prize for Best Storytelling in Virtual Reality) for Arden’s Wake. Other winners were The Chainsmokers: Paris for Best Branded VR Experience and Alteration for Best Mobile Interactive VR Experience. 

Check out all of our reviews from the fantastic festival here.

Image: The Constitution, Raindance 2017

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