Raindance Jury Awards Ceremony live from Wonderville, Haymarket: to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the films screening in competition at the 31st Raindance Film Festival (25 Oct – 4 Nov 2023), the festival’s awards system honours feature films in eight categories: Discovery Award, Best UK Feature, Best International Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Performance. An Oscar® qualifying festival, Raindance further honours the work of short filmmakers with four awards.
A festival of discovery, over 75% of this year’s features are debuts. And debut features have swept the board at the jury awards: all 8 award-winning films are debuts.
Award-winning actor Michael Pitt has risen through the ranks of indie cinema and starred in acclaimed television productions. He now wins ‘Best Performance’ at Raindance for his powerhouse portrayal of a once-renowned boxer who takes a redemptive journey in DAY OF THE FIGHT, the directorial debut of his Boardwalk Empire co-star Jack Huston. Fisnik Maxville is named ‘Best Director’ for his debut feature THE LAND WITHIN – this powerful and important Kosovo-set film also won awards at Tallinn Black Nights, Galway Film Fleadh, and PriFest. Catalan directors Alejandro Rojas and Sebastián Vasquez win the ‘Discovery Award’ for their debut feature UPON ENTRY, focusing on the grueling interrogation faced by a young couple travelling from Spain when they enter New York airport’s immigration area.
British documentary filmmaker Kit Vincent wins ‘Best UK Feature’ for his debut feature RED HERRING, an intimate self-portrait following a diagnosis of terminal brain tumour. Self-taught Bangladeshi filmmaker Nuhash Humayun’s debut feature, the supernatural anthology film PETT KATA SHAW wins ‘Best International Feature’. A poignant portrayal of a group of native people who endeavour to save what is left of the Brazilian Amazon, WE ARE GUARDIANS wins ‘Best Documentary’. David Wyte wins ‘Best Cinematography’ for atmospherically setting the scene in understated Teddy Award-winning queer feature ALL THE COLOURS OF THE WORLD ARE BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE. Erika Calmeyer and Johan Fasting win ‘Best Screenplay’ for the emotional and elegant Norwegian drama STORM.
And following the success of their Oscar® winning short An Irish Goodbye, Tom Berkeley and Ross White win the Oscar®-qualifying ‘Best Short Of The Festival’ for THE GOLDEN WEST.
And the winners are:
BEST UK FEATURE: RED HERRING
Tackling themes of mental health, love and society, filmmaker Kit Vincent enlists his family on an intimate and darkly humorous journey to help them come to terms with his terminal illness. RED HERRING is also one of five nominees for the BIFA Raindance Maverick Award.
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: PETT KATA SHAW
Having directed the multi-Oscar® qualifying horror short Moshari (the first Bangladeshi film to ever qualify for Oscar consideration), in his feature debut PETT KATA SHAW self-taught filmmaker Nuhash Humayun brings more ancient South Asian folklores to life in this supernatural anthology film.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: WE ARE GUARDIANS
Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions, debut feature WE ARE GUARDIANS (dir: Chelsea Green, Rob Grobman, Edivan Guajajara, Brazil/USA) is a poignant portrayal of a group of native people who endeavour to save what is left of the Brazilian Amazon.
DISCOVERY AWARD / BEST DEBUT FEATURE: UPON ENTRY
Acclaimed at festivals including Málaga and Tallinn, debut feature UPON ENTRY (dir: Alejandro Rojas, Sebastián Vasquez, Spain/Catalonia) follows a young couple as they move from Spain to the United States, only to face an unpleasant inspection and gruelling interrogation when they enter New York airport’s immigration area.
BEST DIRECTOR: FISNIK MAXVILLE, THE LAND WITHIN
The ‘Best First Feature’ winner at Tallinn, Fisnik Maxville’s debut feature THE LAND WITHIN follows an adopted boy living in Switzerland who returns to his native Kosovo at the request of his cousin, to help identify the exhumed bodies from a mass grave in their childhood village. (NB. lead actress Luàna Bajrami won the Raindance 2021 ‘Best Director’ award for her directorial debut The Hill Where Lionesses Roar.)
BEST PERFORMANCE: MICHAEL PITT, DAY OF THE FIGHT
Anchored by a powerhouse lead performance by Michael Pitt, this formidable drama is the directorial debut of award-winning British actor Jack Huston. DAY OF THE FIGHT is the story of a once-renowned boxer who takes a redemptive journey through his past and present, on the day of his first fight since he left prison.
BEST SCREENPLAY: ERIKA CALMEYER and JOHAN FASTING, STORM
After her son drowns in an accident, a mother tries to restart her and her daughter’s life in tough and powerful drama STORM – only for rumours to surface that the daughter pushed her brother into the water.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: DAVID WYTE, ALL THE COLOURS OF THE WORLD ARE BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE
David Wyte’s beautiful and understated cinematography help set the scene for this Berlin ‘Best Feature’ Teddy winner, portraying two men who develop a deep affection for each other when they first meet in Lagos – but in a society which considers homosexuality taboo, they feel the pressure of social norms.
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 GOLDEN WEST
Dir: Tom Berkeley / Ross White (UK/Ireland). Following their Oscar® winning An Irish Goodbye, this follows two warring sisters in 1849, who’ve fled the Great Famine and go in search of gold.
BEST UK SHORT: WHITE ANT
Dir: Shalini Adnani (UK/India). A man is summoned from Mumbai to his ancestral village to deal with a termite infestation threatening to destroy his childhood home.
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: IT’S WHAT EACH PERSON NEEDS
Dir: Sophy Romvari (Canada). Intimate and visually striking portrait of a young woman providing companionship for juxtaposing demographics.
BEST ANIMATION SHORT: WILD SUMMON
Dir: Karni Arieli, Saul Freed (UK). A natural history fantasy film, following the dramatic life cycle of the wild salmon in a human form, with narration from Marianne Faithfull.
RAINDANCE 2023 JURY
This year’s jury: Celyn Jones (actor/director: Set Fire to the Stars, Manhunt, The Almond and the Seahorse), Duncan Jones (director: Moon, Source Code, Warcraft), Michael Socha (actor: The Gallows Pole, This Is England), Michael Winterbottom (director: 24 Hour Party People, In This World, Shoshana), Rory Kinnear (actor: Men, No Time To Die), Samuel Bottomley (actor: How To Have Sex, Somewhere Boy, Ladhood), Sope Dirisu (actor: Gangs of London, Mr. Malcolm’s List), Tara Fitzgerald (actor: The King, Brassed Off, Game of Thrones), Vinette Robinson (actor: Boiling Point, The Lazarus Project)
Film & TV Critic Ashanti Omkar, Director of Acquisitions at Hanway Genevieve Segall, MUBI’s Natalie Ralph, Director of MetFilm School Jonny Persey, UK Muslim Film’s Sajid Varda, Senior Global Publicity Manager at Universal Millen Lemma, Director of Public Programmes and Audiences at BFI Jason Wood, director of shorts at Raindance Charlotte Hamblin, Bertha Doc House’s Jenny Horwell, director Finn Bruce (Swede Caroline, Spirit of Raindance 2022 winner), producer Rob Watson, producer Nadira Murray, director/editor Claire Ferguson, founder and CEO of Together Films Sarah Mosses.
BEST UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY
Raindance’s script competition 2023 supported by Celtx
WINNER: WHAT LITTLE GIRLS ARE MADE OF by Cathriona Slammon
Raindance promotes and supports independent filmmaking and filmmakers.
From new and emerging to industry pros, Raindance connects, trains, supports, and promotes visual storytellers through every step of their career.
The Raindance Film Festival runs each Autumn in London’s Leicester Square.
Raindance has been delivering film training since 1992. A wide range of Open Classes to a 2 year HND Level 5 BTEC in Moving Images to a Postgraduate Film Degree are delivered to students on five continents, both in person and online.