To celebrate the outstanding achievements of the films screening in competition at the 29th Raindance Film Festival (27 Oct – 6 Nov), 9 prizes are awarded to features, 5 to shorts/music videos.
Nominated for the Golden Camera and Queer Palm at Cannes, THE HILL WHERE LIONESSES ROAR triumphs at Raindance with two awards: ‘Best Director’ for Luàna Bajrami and ‘Discovery Award: Best Debut Feature’.
The debut feature by YouTuber and short filmmaker Luke Cutforth, THE DROWNING OF ARTHUR BRAXTON is named ‘Best UK Feature’. A champion at San Sebastián and Sitges film festivals, Anita Rocha da Silveira’s second feature MEDUSA is named ‘Best International Feature’. Tracking the rise of far-right nationalism in the United States, the award-winning debut feature from director Daniel Lombroso, WHITE NOISE is named ‘Best Documentary Feature’. A nominee at Sydney and Nashville film festivals, I’M WANITA is named ‘Best Music Documentary’, winning the director Matthew Walker £1,000 from Spotify.
Portuguese actress Lúcia Moniz has received numerous accolades for her lead role in LISTEN – now also winning ‘Best Performance’ at Raindance for her powerful portrayal of a struggling mother in the outskirts of London whose daughter’s deafness triggers a red flag with the British social services.
Known for his work on Frances Ha and Lady Bird, cinemaphotographer Sam Levy wins ‘Best Cinematography’ for MAYDAY. Fantastical sci-fi story KING CAR wins ‘Best Screenplay’ for writer/director Renata Pinheiro and writers Sergio Oliveira and Leo Pyrata. And the winners are:
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: MEDUSA
Inspired by mythical and real-life violence by women against women and set against a backdrop of toxic masculinity and right-wing politics, Medusa (dir: Anita Rocha da Silveira, Brazil) sees a group of Christian women gang up to attack women who they judge to be too liberal or too promiscuous.
BEST UK FEATURE: THE DROWNING OF ARTHUR BRAXTON
When a heavily bullied schoolboy from a dysfunctional home discovers a beautiful water nymph hiding in an abandoned Edwardian bathhouse, he must confront his own personal demons to save them both. The debut feature from YouTuber Luke Cutforth, The Drowning Of Arthur Braxton is based on the bestselling novel by Caroline Smailes.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: WHITE NOISE
With unprecedented access, first time filmmaker Daniel Lombroso tracks the rise of far-right nationalism. White Noise shows us explosive protests, riotous parties, and the private spaces where populist and racist ideologies are refined and weaponized.
BEST DIRECTOR: LUÀNA BAJRAMI, THE HILL WHERE LIONESSES ROAR
DISCOVERY / BEST DEBUT FEATURE: THE HILL WHERE LIONESSES ROAR
In a small remote village in Kosovo, three young women see their dreams and ambitions stifled. In their quest for independence, nothing can stop them. The Hill Where Lionesses Roar (dir: Luàna Bajrami, Kosovo/France) was nominated for the Golden Camera and Queer Palm awards at Cannes.
BEST PERFORMANCE: LÚCIA MONIZ, LISTEN
Anchored by a brilliant performance by Lúcia Moniz (Love, Actually) alongside co-stars Ruben Garcia and Sophia Myles, Listen (dir: Ana Rocha de Sousa UK/Portugal) follows a couple living in the London suburbs who face serious difficulties with social services when their 7-year-old daughter’s deafness triggers a red flag in the system.
BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY: I’M WANITA
I’m Wanita (dir: Matthew Walker, Australia) documents a renegade country music singer from regional Australia, hellbent on overcoming hurdles such as her autism to realize her childhood dreams of stardom. The filmmakers receive £1,000 from Spotify.
BEST SCREENPLAY: RENATA PINHEIRO, SERGIO OLIVEIRA, LEO PYRATA, KING CAR
In indie sci-fi King Car (dir: Renata Pinheiro, Brazil), a taxi company owner’s son has an extraordinary connection with cars: he can talk to them. Together with his uncle, he converts write-offs into futuristic vehicles that are conscious and speak. They then take on the status-quo under King Car’s banner.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: SAM LEVY, MAYDAY
Starring Grace Van Patten, Mia Goth and Soko, with a cameo by Juliette Lewis, Mayday (dir: Karen Cinorre, USA) follows a young woman who faces abuse from her boss. She’s then transported to a dreamlike land and joins an army of girls engaged in a never-ending revenge war.
ACADEMY AWARD® QUALIFYING SHORTS PROGRAMME
Raindance is an Oscar qualifying festival. The recipient of Best Short Of The Festival is eligible for consideration in the Short Film category of the Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run (provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules).
BEST SHORT OF THE FESTIVAL: THE SILENT ECHO
(dir: Suman Sen, India/Nepal/Bangladesh/France). Four teenagers from a remote mountain village in Nepal gather enough money, and courage, to be part of a band competition in a neighbouring town.
BEST UK SHORT: ENJOY (dir: Saul Abraham, UK)
Michael (Himesh Patel) seeks novel ways to halt his spiralling depression. Enjoy is an offbeat exploration of masculinity, men’s mental health, and how societal stereotypes surrounding depression in men manifest themselves across different generations.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: NSENENE (dir: Michelle Coomber, UK)
The night sky in the Ugandan town of Masaka is punctured by eerie green light, the whine of electricity and insects buzzing. This documentary captures the extraordinary spectacle of grasshopper season.
BEST ANIMATION SHORT: A BITE OF BONE (dir: Honami Yano, Japan)
On a small island in Japan, a little girl reflects on her last summer with her father at his funeral.
BEST MUSIC VIDEO: DON’T JUDGE ME (dir: Emmanuel Adjei, FKA Twigs, UK)
A comment on the experience of being black and British, featuring FKA Twigs and Headie One alongside activists, writers, and cultural figures.
RAINDANCE 2021 JURY
This year’s jury: Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve, Harry Potter, True Blood), Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Tobias Menzies (The Crown, Outlander, Rome), Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton, Snatch, Waterloo Road), Rakie Ayola (Anthony, The Pact, Grace), Jodhi May (A World Apart, Last of the Mohicans, Defiance), Dolly Wells (The Offenders, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Doll & Em), Robert Sheehan (Love/Hate, Misfits, Song for a Raggy Boy), Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Goldfinch), Romola Garai (The Hour, Emma, Inside I’m Dancing), Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse, Mary Shelly, Bohemian Rhapsody), Babou Ceesay (Our Loved Boy, Dark Money, Best of Enemies), Mena Massoud (Aladdin, Open Heart, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan)
Human rights and LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell, director Tarsem Singh, The Guardian head of documentaries Lindsay Poulton, CNN political commentator S.E Cupp, casting associate on the Emmy Award winning show Ted Lasso Olissa Rogers, producer Phil Hunt, producer Stella Nwimo, Arrow Films senior marketing manager Louise Buckler, Bulldog Film head of distribution Philip Hoile, 42 Management literary manager Alex Bloch, Film Constellation marketing director & general manager Chloe Tai, 16 Days 16 Films Johanna Von Fischer, Curzon’s director of programme & distribution sales Damian Spandley, Spotify’s Olga Puzanova, Leroy Harris and Kieran Lancini, Genesis Cinema alternative programming manager Christina Papasotiriou, director Gabriel Range (Stardust, 28th Raindance opening gala), director Giorgos Georgopoulos (Not To Be Unpleasant But We Need To Have A Serious Talk, 28th Raindance “Film of the Festival”), director Amit Dubey (A Fallen Fruit, 28th Raindance “Short Of The Festival”).
ADDITIONAL AWARD: BEST UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY
Julia Campanelli wins this additional award from Raindance for her screenplay The Paisley Witch Trial, beating other unproduced screenplays Meetings With Marty by Gregor Nicholas and Water House by Alice Charles.
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