FESTIVALS: The Road to MIFED; 8th Raindance Storms Forwards

by Claude Lequereux

(indieWIRE/11.6.00) --"Raindance is the top independent film festival in Europe," proclaims a jubilant Elliot Grove, Raindance's Festival Director. "There's Slamdance and LAIFF, but these are all in the States, we are the only one over here." Grove has a lot to be proud about with his 8th Raindance Film Festival, held in London's Metro Cinema, in the heart of Soho. "Attendance this year is up 28%, that means some 9,000 people have walked through the doors," he continues, "we have broken our own record."

1400 features and 400 shorts were submitted. "We watch every film. If I watch it and it is a no, then it is passed on and on 'til a yes comes back," says Grove. "We've ended up with about 80 features and 10 documentaries from 32 different countries and 68 filmmakers attending at their own expense. We have no hospitality budget."

True to Raindance's 'lo-budget' remit, this year's festival opener was Miguel Arteta's "Chuck and Buck." The film's UK distributor, Metrodome, reported Ewan McGregor was in the audience and rumoured Mena Suvari was also turning up. Supporting "Chuck and Buck" was British comedian Paul Merton's debut short film, "The Suicidal Dog," a comedy following the breakdown of an ordinary couple's marriage