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The UK’s biggest independent film festival, Raindance opens 27th October with a gala screening of top movies starring Aubrey Plaza and Michael Caine. Raindance runs until 6th November at cinemas across London and, for those who can’t make it to the cinema, festival films will have a digital repeat screening available to watch pay-per-view throughout the UK via Curzon Home Cinema.

As in previous years, there’s a range of brilliant LGBTQ+ features in the festival’s “Queer” strand, as well as several powerful little LGBTQ+ short films. In addition there’ll be a red carpet gala cinema presentation of the documentary Hating Peter Tatchell at The May Fair Hotel on 31st October with special guests, followed by a public screening on 1st November at Curzon Soho which includes a Q&A session with Peter Tatchell. 

We can’t possibly list the whole programme here, so visit Raindance here for a comprehensive look at what’s on. That said, we’d like to draw your attention to these totally fabulous titles:

Hating Peter Tatchell.

(dir: Christopher Amos, Australia/UK)

Executive produced by Elton John and David Furnish, and starring Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry, this evocative documentary from WildBear Entertainment will be making its UK theatrical premiere at Raindance. With his acts of civil disobedience, Peter Tatchell rocked the establishment, revolutionised attitudes to homosexuality and exposed tyrants in the fight for equality – earning him a place in queer history, and now a Raindance red carpet screening at The May Fair Hotel followed by a Q&A. 

Miguel’s War.

(dir: Eliane Raheb, Lebanon/Spain/Germany). 

UK Premiere. Winner of the Teddy Award at Berlin, the story of a gay man from Lebanon living in exile in Spain, who returns to his native country after 37 years to confront his traumatic past. 

The Pop Song.

(dir: Raúl Portero, Spain). 

World Premiere. Shot on a small budget in black and white, this classic arthouse indie explores the loss and grief of a past relationship as friends come together for a funeral. 

Girl Like You.

(dir: Frances Elliott & Samantha Marlowe, Australia). 

International Premiere. This touching and insightful documentary portrays a couple battling to stay together as one of them transitions genders. 

Against the Current.

(dir: Óskar Páll Sveinsson, Iceland). UK Premiere. 

Having spent a lifetime battling social expectations, a trans woman from Iceland attempts to become the first person to kayak against the current around the 2,000 km Icelandic coastline.

The Man with the Answers.

(dir: Stelios Kammitsis, Cyprus/Greece). 

A Greek former champion diver takes an adventurous road-trip of rediscovery with a handsome German student.

The festival is also running a crowdfunding campaign via Greenlit, the aim of which is to provide free tickets to Raindance films to people from a diverse range of marginalised communities including LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, refugees, and the socially isolated. 

As part of this initiative, the festival is hoping that, for example, young queer and trans activists might come and watch for free a relevant, powerful and inspiring Raindance film (such as HATING PETER TATCHELL or AGAINST THE CURRENT). Equally, a further aim is to help reduce loneliness and social isolation in communities including LGBTQ+ people, via the shared experience of watching a film at a cinema. 

Raindance is working on this initiative with the support of organisations and community groups including several  LGBTQ+ groups (Micro Rainbow, London Friend, Outcome – Islington Mind, Outing In Arts Plus with more to come).

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