About Raindance

What is Raindance Film Festival?

The Raindance Film Festival is the largest and most important independent film festival in the UK. We showcase features, shorts, web series and music videos by filmmakers from the UK and around the world to an audience of film executives and buyers, journalists, film fans and filmmakers. Along with screenings, there are seminars, workshops and parties to allow everyone the chance to share our passion for film.

Raindance Film Festival is officially recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences USA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the British Independent Film Awards. Therefore accepted short films in the Shorts Strand may qualify for Oscar® and BAFTA nominations. Short films that play in competition and all British features that play in 2016 will be eligible for entry for the 2016 British Independent Film Awards BIFA.

Amongst others, Raindance has hosted the UK premieres of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Blair Witch Project, Dead Man’s Shoes, Memento, Humpday, Love Exposure, Ghost World, Capturing the Friedmans, Down Terrace, I Origins and Old Boy. Our programming receives plaudits from press and public alike.

Over the years, the festival has hosted such guests and filmmakers as Christopher Nolan, Shane Meadows, Ken Loach, Marky Ramone, Iggy Pop, Anton Corbijn, Quentin Tarantino, Faye Dunaway and Lou Reed.

Over the last few years our international Jury has included Lemmy, Armando Iannucci, Jason Flemyng, Andrew Scott, Amy Hubbard, Alice Lowe, Tom Waits, Vicky McClure, Sheridan Smith and Martin Freeman.

Current patrons of Raindance include Terry Gilliam, Mike Figgis, Ewan McGregor, Michael Winterbottom, and Marky Ramone.

When is Raindance Film Festival?

Raindance Film Festival takes place in Central London each autumn. The 24th Raindance runs from 21st September to 2nd October 2016.


What is the film festival’s mission?

Raindance Film Festival’s mission is to promote new independent films and emerging filmmakers from the UK and around the world to a UK audience. Our tagline since the festival started (now in our 24th year) is: Discover. Be Discovered.

We want to develop new audiences for independent cinema, and provide a platform for discovery, discussion and learning.

What role does the film festival play in supporting your film’s community?

We promote and exhibit independent film through the annual 12-day festival in the heart on London’s buzzing West End district, giving indie films a wider platform to reach larger audiences of film-lovers and film industry professionals, including distributors and sales agents, that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. We also have a nascent production company, Raindance Raw Talent, which produces films from submitted screenplays.

We have a very active community of Raindance Members, who get special access to exclusive online content and events throughout the year, including monthly meet-ups for filmmakers and film-lovers, the film festival, and the British Independent Film Awards (also founded by Raindance founder Elliot Grove), as well as discounts on our evening and weekend film training courses, taught by seasoned, working filmmakers. Through the Raindance “eco-system”, currently with ten hubs located in major cities across Europe and North America, we connect filmmakers around the world.

The Raindance blog is regularly updated with filmmaking tips, advice and insight, as well as interviews with independent filmmakers.

What is something people look forward to every year at the film festival?

Raindance Film Festival prides itself on its bold programming, having over the years brought films that include Pulp Fiction, The Blair Witch Project, Capturing the Friedmans, Down Terrace and Ghost World to UK audiences, one thing that people always look forward to at Raindance is discovering a new cinematic gem from an emerging filmmaker. In 2015, for example, two UK features that premiered at the festival went on to receive British Independent Film Awards nominations, and one of the short films was nominated for the Best Documentary, Short Subject award at the Academy Awards.

Through the whole host of events that we put on in addition to screenings – networking events, panel discussions, Q&As – Raindance is a great place to meet other filmmakers from around the world, and many collaborations have even been born out of filmmakers meeting at the festival. For three years out of the past four, we have been named one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee”, which is a testament to not only the astounding range of talent that we showcase on the big screen during the festival, but also what we offer filmmakers in terms of their festival experience.

How long has the film festival been around?

The first Raindance Film Festival took place in October 1993, however, the very first Raindance event was in April 1992.

How did the film festival come into being?

Elliot Grove started Raindance in 1992 at a moment of deep crises in the British film industry. In 1992 only six UK features were made, but Grove and a small band of filmmaker/entrepreneurs that included Edgar Wright (the first Raindance intern) were determined to make their movies without training, without experience or without traditional funding. Grove seized on the then-current lack of practical film training and started Raindance film training classes, which provided down-to-earth, practical information from working film industry practitioners, mainly from America.

A year after beginning the film training courses, the Raindance Film Festival was born to showcase local talent. It’s grown to be one of the world’s largest independent film festivals and is Oscar, BAFTA and BIFA qualifying for films. 


What do audiences take away from the festival?

We want audiences to appreciate and enjoy the films we have curated, of course. But we also want them to feel refreshed, inspired, challenged, and to raise questions and have discussions about what they’ve watched.

Anything else?

We pride ourselves on being an antidote to the usual Hollywood fare, not that there’s anything wrong with big budget Hollywood films, it’s just that our cinemas are saturated with it. Raindance caters for audiences who crave for new topics, new talents, and new stories told in new ways.


About Submissions

How can I submit my film?

Submissions are open via withoutabox or filmfreeway only. Films must be submitted EITHER via online screener or DVD. The tracking number, film title, film category and running time MUST be clearly labelled on the DVD. Please avoid stickers on the cover. Submitted copies will not be returned.

What are the submission fees and deadlines for Raindance 2016?
Date Deadline Feature Fee Shorts Fee Music Video Fee
22 April 2016 Early Deadline £55 £25 £25
20 May 2016 Regular Deadline £70 £35 £35
10 June 2016 Late Deadline £100 £50 £50
17 June 2016 WAB Extended Deadline £150 £80 £80

Raindance Members can get 50% off their first submission (feature film, short, music video, web series). Not a member? Register here.

Can I submit my film by DVD?

Although Raindance encourages submissions via URL link, we also accept DVD. The tracking number, film title, film category and running time MUST be clearly labelled on the DVD. Please avoid stickers on the cover. Submitted copies will not be returned.

Your submission DVD should be sent to:

Festival Submissions
Raindance Film Festival
10a Craven Street
London WC2N 5PE
United Kingdom

All shipping and postage costs for the submission package and, if the film is selected for the Festival, for all DCPs and additional materials sent to and returned from Raindance must be borne by the submitting party. Raindance will not accept Cash On Delivery shipments. Raindance will not absorb any fees incurred in British customs. All charges must be pre-paid. Raindance will not accept submissions if customs and delivery fees have not been paid by the submitting party.

Submission packages from outside the UK must be labelled 'Trade Sample' on any customs label and, for customs purposes, must be given a value of no more than US$10.

What are Raindance policies regarding refunds?

Submission fees are non-refundable under any circumstances.

Can I submit more than one project?

Yes. You can submit more than one project. Just start a new film submission process each time.

Can I submit a rough cut?

Raindance accepts work-in-progress cuts. Please send your film in the most complete and finished form possible as we will only preview the first submitted cut.

If your film is selected for the festival, you will be required to supply an exhibition copy of the final cut of your film.

What is the Raindance policy for Features?

Feature Films must be at least UK Premieres: they must not have been released in the UK on any format, nor screened publicly online.

What is the Raindance policy for Shorts?

There is no Premiere policy for short films and music videos, they may have screened at other Festivals and/or online.

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