Simon Channing Williams at Raindance

Our History

"The indie-est film festival this side of the Atlantic."
The Guardian

Since 1993 the Raindance Film Festival has annually uncovered the hottest new filmmakers to hit the cinematic scene. Some Raindance-premiered hits are Pulp Fiction, Memento, the Blair Witch Project, Ghost World and Love Exposure.

In 1998 Raindance launched the British Independent Film Awards – a yearly industry event attended by the upper ranks of the UK moviemaking establishment. The BIFAs are now regarded as one of the penultimate awards in the world film calendar. Honours have included Ben Kingsley, Harvey Weinstein, Richard Curtis, and helped launch countless films including 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire.

Until 2001 Raindance Film Festival was sometimes referred to as the ‘London’ or ‘pre-MIFED’ Screenings (MIFED collapsed post 9/11), essentially filling the film market position for the UK and which saw approximately 63% of films picked up by UK distributors. A similar London UK Film Focus (LUFF) was set up in 2004 by Film London, followed by the Production Finance Market in 2007.

Similarly “Raindance Kids: London’s Children Film Festival” which had been set up by Raindance and ran successfully for a number of years post 9/11 when sponsorship collapsed, hitting all arts organizations. The model was reproduced two years later by the London Barbican who now run the “London Children’s Film Festival”.

Raindance consulted on the creation of the Berlin Talent Campus and created Raindance East (now the independently run East End Film Festival).

The rest of the year at Raindance is spent training thousands of new and established filmmakers in all aspects of film. Among high profile alumni are Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins), David Yates (Harry Potter), Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn – who actually met at a Raindance course. Raindance training is one of the world’s largest catering for over 3000 students per year.

Raindance set up the Independent Film Trust in 2006, a charity to help support the film festival, the BIFA awards as well as film training for disadvantaged kids. In 2007 Raindance.TV was launched, an online IPTV channel which has supported the online distribution of hundreds of features and shorts, with views topping 1 million in its first 6 months.

2010 saw the launch of a limited theatrical distribution of Raindance hits through Apollo Cinemas.

Our filmmaking publications are published internationally, translated into French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Portugese and Italian and are an essential on most university reading lists.

Key Milestones

1992:  Raindance founded by filmmakers, for filmmakers
Year round training courses (2,800 attended in 2006) attended by Guy Ritchie, Mathew Vaughn, Christopher Nolan, Paul Brooks (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and many others attend industry standard courses.

1993:  Festival founded. Read the complete history.
UK Premieres include Blair Witch, Memento, Ghost World
The 15th anniversary festival in 2007 will feature over 300 shorts, features, special events and parties.

1997 - present: Raindance has produced 3 features, including The Living And The Dead (2006) which has won 11 international awards

1998:  British Independent Film Awards founded.
Now considered by the British film industry to be the most important film event in the country. (“Time Out, Screen International and Variety”)
Supported by the whole independent industry from established filmmakers like Ken Loach, Ewan Macgregor and Michael Winterbottom to debutante filmmakers.
10th anniversary at the Roundhouse

- Weekly newsletter launched, now reaches 26,000 and growing: half UK, 1/3 Europe, balance USA.
You can subscribe here

2003:  Nokia Shorts launched
Set a benchmark for user generated content with this innovative short film competition.

2005: Raindance Canada launched with offices in Toronto

2007: founded
Set to become the premiere IPTV channel and community for Independent Film.

2010: Raindance opens offices in New York, Budapest, Berlin and Brussels