02nd Oct2017

Raindance Film Festival – Best of LGBT Films

by timbaros


“There is a Light” (Il Padre d’Italia)

A beautifully written and told and acted story of gay man Paolo who, unusually, encounters a very pretty young pregnant woman – Mia – in a backroom gay sex bar. She’s presumably looking for her boyfriend who ditched her. Paolo befriends her and they leave together and embark on a road trip that turns into something a bit more. Luca Marinellil and Isabella Ragonese are a revelation in the leading roles, and the great soundtrack is an added bonus. Look for this film anyway you can.

“Discreet” – written and directed by Travis Mathews, who collaborated on “Interior Leather Bar” with James Franco, as well as a documentary series of gay men in several cities, brings us a film that is about a gay drifter Alex (Jonny Mars) who takes up residence in his supposed mute grandfather’s house. At the same time he pursues a local young teenage boy and spends time at the local gay cinema with a muscular Italian man. Alex is also hypnotized by some sort of strange sex website run by an oriental woman that seems to help him drive his inner ego. It all makes for a very strange and uncomfortable movie wth an awful narrative, a self-indulgent work on Mathews part. This one is a miss.


“Anatomy of a Ballet Dancer: Marcelo Gomes”
A documentary about the life and career of one of ballet’s biggest stars, who has been with the American Ballet Theatre for 20 years. This film is not just for ballet fans as we get too see the inner workings of the mind of Gomes, who had talent at a very young age. This film also deals with how he overcame his parents divorce, as well as coming out of the closet in a big way on the cover of a magazine, and how he has become one of ballet’s biggest stars. The documentary shines a light on his relationship with his father, who for some reason does not want to go see Gomes dance on stage in his hometown of NYC. Gomes comes across as such a nice and down to earth guy, and it doesn’t hurt that he parades around in really really tight ballet clothes that leave nothing to the imagination.


“The Joneses”
Jheri Jones is a fascinating woman, and in this excellent documentary we learn that Jheri is no ordinary woman, she used to be Jerry. But to her four male children, one of whom is gay and comes out in the documentary at the age of 37, Jheri is actually both mom and dad (their actual mother passed away years ago at the age of 59). Including Jheri’s two understanding grandchildren, “The Joneses” show how the family have accepted and embraced Jheri’s transition (which took place years ago). But it’s Jheri who is the star of this documentary- she fascinating, fun, fierce, and fabulous.

“The Misandrists”
Controversial film director Bruce LaBruce is, as always, in unusual form in this strange film about a school for girls and the powering teachers who lead them and who call themselves the Female Liberation Army. But all is not what is seems with the girls, some are hiding secrets, and one of them is hiding a male soldier in the basement dungeon. But it gets to be a bit too much when a penis is surgically cut off which leads to, at the very end, a lesbian orgy that leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s 90 minutes that’s a bit too much to take.

A Mexican film with English subtitles, it’s the story of a young pregnant woman, Martina, who escapes her life in Mexico City to go look for the father she never knew in Berlin. Of course while in Berlin she encounters all sorts of people, including a memorable drag queen played by the fabulous Dieter Rita Scholl. But Martina’s boyfriend comes looking for her in Berlin, and she’s got a strange habit of spontaneously stealing things. “Mist” is worth a watch for the performances.

“Apricot Groves”
Aram (Narbe Varten) has just flown back to Armenia from where he’s living in California to ask the parents of his girlfriend for her hand in marriage. He is squired around town by his confident and worldly brother Vartan (Pedram Ansari). But another purpose of Aram’s trip is for him to undergo surgery, and it’s this revelation at the end of the film (and a bit in the beginning) that makes “Apricot Groves” a real treasure.

“Boys for Sale”
Having never been to Tokyo, I didn’t realize that there was such a huge male escort scene there. In this well done documentary, we get to meet several ‘urisen’ (male sex workers) in Tokyo’s Shinjuku 2-chome gay district, where they all talk to the camera about their lives and what led them to this type of work. It’s a fascinating film by director Itako and Executive Producer Ian Thomas Ash. It also includes very clever and compelling drawings of a sexual nature that depict the urisen’s non-exciting sexual encounters. Try to find this documentary anyway you can.

While not specifically LGBT, two other films at Raindance are recommended because of their great music stores. “Trendy,” about a man who moves to London from up north to escape a bad incident, is shot almost entirely in East London and many scenes take place in Berlin-style underground clubs. “Afterparty” is just what you’d expect. It takes place in a huge nightclub in Belgrade, focusing on one of the bartender’s quest to become famous, and where the music is just as fast and furious and thumping as the main character.

15th Aug2017

Raindance Film Festival (Film)

by timbaros

20768037_10155650003862803_8328159887117642741_nThe 25th annual Raindance Film Festival announced its line-up this morning at London’s Vue Cinema in Leicester Square, and it includes world, international, European and UK premieres. The Festival will take place at the same cinema from September 20th – October 1st, 2017.

The UK Premiere of Atsuko Hirayanagi’s Oh Lucy! (USA), starring Josh Hartnett is the opening night film. The film is a drama-comedy and tells the story of Setsuko Kawashima, a lonely, chain-smoking office lady in Tokyo who is past her prime and adopts an American alter ego. The Festival’s Closing Night film will be announced later in the month.

Raindance received a record-breaking number of submissions this year from over 120 countries, the highest it has received to date and will screen over 200 projects – including features, shorts, WebFest, VR and music videos.

Jamie Campbell Bower (Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2), Raindance Jury Member, announced the line-up alongside Elliot Grove, Raindance Founder. Alongside Bower, this year’s competition films will be judged by a panel of industry members and film journalists including, including: Jack O’Connell (Money Monster, Unbroken), Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy), Christopher Eccleston (Thor, Dr Who), Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman, Trainspotting), Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones series, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie).

To recognize the outstanding achievements of this year’s filmmakers, the jury will go through each of the Feature Films, selected for Official Competition, in the following categories; Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Performance. Films nominated in these categories include the international premiere of Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s feature debut, Maya Dardel (USA), starring Lena Olin and Rosanna Arquette, which tells the story of a famous writer, who states her intention to end her own life during an interview on NPR, and invites male writers to compete to become the executor of her estate; The Constitution (Croatia), directed by Rajko Grlic, follows four people who live in the same building but avoid each other due to differences in their assets, sexual habits, nationality and religion; Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s Mukoku (Japan), tells the story of a security guard, whose best days are behind, until a chance encounter changes everything.

Additional features in Official Competition include both narratives and documentaries vying for Best UK Film, Best Documentary and the coveted Discovery Award, which is given to Best Debut Film. Films nominated in these categories include; the World Premiere of In Another Life (UK), Jason Wingard’s directional debut, set against the backdrop of the Calais Jungle, where refugee Adnan battles to be reunited with his wife in the UK; The Family I Had (USA), directed by female co-directors Katie Green and Carlyle Rubin, is a documentary featuring a mother recalling how her teenage son shattered their idyllic family through one violent act; Children Of The Night (Italy / Belgium), Andrea De Sica, grandson of four times Academy Award winner, Vittoria De Sica, tells the story of Giulio, a seventeen-year old from a well-to-do family, who is sent to a remote boarding school the Alps, where iron-clad rules limit all contact with the outside. He makes friends with Edoardo, an oddball, and their friendship is sealed by frequent escapes at night, to a nightclub hidden in the forest.

Other noteworthy films playing at the festival include You Are Killing Me Susana (Mexico / Canada), by Robert Sneider, producer of Frida, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal, and tells the story of a Mexican native adapting to life in the USA; Heitor Dhalia’s On Yoga The Architecture Of Peace (Brazil / USA) is based on Michael O’Neill’s book of the same name, and tells the story of the 10 years the author spent photographing Yoga’s great masters; RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save The Planet? by David McIlvrid and Roger Williams, follows internationally celebrated river conservationist Mark Angelo on an around-the-world journey by river that uncovers the dark side of the fashion industry; Tom Gustafson’s Hello Again (USA) starring Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, is the film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical, it explores 10 fleeting love affairs across 10 periods of time in New York City history.

The LGBT strand will showcase legendary queer director Bruce LaBruce’s latest feature, The Misandrists (Germany), about a young man who unknowingly is taken in by members of the Female Liberation Army – a lesbian separatist stronghold; Becks (USA), co-directed by Daniel Powell and Rebecca Drysdale, starring Mena Suvari, sees a Brooklyn musician move back in with her Midwestern mother, after a crushing breakup with her girlfriend. As she navigates her hometown, playing for tip money in an old friend’s bar, an unexpected relationship unfolds; Travis Mathews’, Discreet (Germany) tells the story of an eccentric drifter who returns home and discovers his childhood abuser is still alive.

This year’s films directed by women include Leslie Ann Coles’ debut documentary Melody Makers (UK) which stars Melody Maker Magazine’s Chief Contributing Photographer, Barrie Wentzel, who tells the story of the rise and fall of the magazine, which marked the end of a style of rock ‘n’ roll journalism that no longer exists today; Barrage (Luxembourg) directed by Laura Schroeder, stars Academy Award nominee Isabelle Huppert, and her real life daughter Lolita Chammah, following the journey of Catherine (Chammah), who is returning to Luxembourg after ten years abroad, to catch up with her young daughter who has been brought up by Catherine’s mother (Huppert), and kidnaps her taking her on a road trip; City Of Joy (USA) is Madeline Gavin’s inspiring documentary following the first class of students at a remarkable leadership centre in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region often referred as “the worst place in the world to be a woman”.

Running between September 28 – October 1, the newly established virtual reality strand will feature the Raindance VRX Awards, VRX Summit, VRX Market and the VR Arcade. The brand new VRX awards will recognise pioneering virtual reality experiences in 10 categories: Best Interactive Narrative Experience, Best Mobile Interactive Experience, Best Cinematic Narrative Experience, Best Documentary Experience, Best Animation Experience, Best Music Experience, Best Branded Experience, Best Sensual Experience, Best Social Impact Experience and Best Sound Design Experience.

There is so so much more that Raindance will offer this year. All the information can be found on their website – Raindance.org.
Tickets go on sale on the website later today.

The Online Festival box office will be open from noon on August 15th, 2017, the cinema box office will be open from September, 20th 2017.

Festival tickets can be purchased through the Festival website:

Raindance Film Festival

Festival passes can be purchased through the Festival website: http://raindancefestival.org/register-now/

Press can apply for accreditation through the Festival website:

Press Accreditations

Industry can apply for accreditation through the Festival website:

Accreditations 2016