‘It Came From Connemara!!’ Screens at Raindance

On set 'A Very Unlucky Leprechaun'

Following its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh, Dearg Films’ documentary on the Roger Corman Connemara studios has been selected to screen at the Raindance Film Festival in London.

Now in its 22nd year, Raindance is the largest independent film festival in Europe and has a strong legacy of showing alternative films and uncovering new filmmakers to hit the cinematic scene.

‘It Came From Connemara!!’ is the only Irish documentary feature to be selected for the festival.

Director Brian Reddin said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be selected as part of this prestigious festival and to be the only Irish feature documentary selected is a great honour. It’s particularly cool because our doc is in both Irish and English, which proves that a good story can travel in any language. We are equally delighted for both TG4 and the BAI who funded the documentary and have been incredibly supportive throughout the process.

It Came From Connemara!! also screens next Saturday Sept 6th at the inaugral Sky Road Film Festival in Clifden and is also screening as part of the IFI Stranger Than Fiction Festival on Saturday September 27th.

This feature documentary tells the unique story behind Roger Corman’s film studio in Connemara.

When Corman arrived in Ireland, he brought with him an unrivalled career, which guaranteed him a place in cinema history. This was the man who launched the cinematic careers of Coppola, Scorsese, Nicholson and De Niro. The name ‘Corman’ meant low budget, but it also meant cult, and crucially, it meant fun. He was never concerned with awards or creating anything of aesthetic value. Instead, he churned out cheap exploitation flicks in the 50’s, which quickly established Corman as a producer and director who gave the audience what they wanted. His Irish films were designed to do just that.

By the 90s, Corman had set his sights on Ireland. His time making movies in Connemara would be marred by controversy as he managed to upset the unions and the tastes of cinephiles. But, those who worked for him adored the experience. Corman gave them an opportunity to learn the film industry and a chance to progress through the filmmaking ranks. He helped to launch many production careers in Ireland and there are many who credit him with their success.

The Corman Connemara Studios employed hundreds of people throughout its few years in production and released almost 20 feature films, all shot in Connemara by Irish crews with Irish actors. Yet, the story of the studios and the movies Corman made there has never been told. With unique access to Corman and his archive of Irish films, along with behind the scenes footage and stills, as well as interviews with many of the cast and crew who worked at Concorde Anois, this documentary tells the whole story of what came from Connemara during those five gloriously gruesome years.

The documentary features exclusive interviews with Roger Corman, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, James Brolin and Corbin Bernsen as well as interviews with the Irish cast and crew, John Brady, Celine Curtin, Maeve Joyce and Evelyn O’Rourke. The documentary was produced and directed by Brian Reddin. The DOP was Gerry MacArthur and it was edited by Ultan Murphy in Windmill Lane. The documentary was funded by TG4 and the BAI.




Call For: Submissions for The Raindance Film Festival



The Raindance Film Festival is now accepting submissions for their 21st annual festival taking place from 25th September – 6th October 2013 in London.

They accept narrative and documentary features and shorts, as well as music videos and we’re very proud of our history as a launchpad for new and independent filmmakers.

You can submit through Withoutabox where you’ll also find their eligibility criteria. Any questions, please get in touch with the team throughfestival@raindance.co.uk.

– Early Deadline – 17th April
– Regular Deadline – 17th May
– Late Deadline – 1st June



Raindance Film Festival Announce Award Winners

(L to R – ‘Stranger Things’ actor Adeel Akhbar, co-directors Ron Eyal and Eleanor Burke with Elliot Grove, Raindance Festival Director)

British Indie Stranger Things (Best UK Feature), Croatian/Serbian/Slovenian co-production Just Between Us (Best International Feature), Bulgaria’s Tilt (Best Debut Feature) and Italian short Reset (Film of the Festival) were among the winners at this year’s Raindance Film Festival Awards.  The prestigious jury, which included actor Dexter Fletcher, director Gillies Mackinnon, and TV/radio presenter Alex Zane, selected winners in the eight awards categories.


“There were some outstanding films across the whole line-up so selecting winners was especially difficult this year,” said Elliot Grove, Festival Director. “This has been a really successful festival – from the heart of London’s West End we’ve screened over 200 features and shorts at the state-of-the art Apollo Cinema, Piccadilly.  Attendance was up by a staggering 62% on last year proving that the appetite for independent film is thriving.”


The winners were announced on Saturday night (8th October) at the festival venue, the Apollo Cinema, Piccadilly Circus.   The 19th Raindance Film Festival, which started on 28th September and wrapped on 9th October, brought 94 UK feature film premieres and 137 shorts to London, cementing Raindance’s position as Europe’s leading independent film festival.


The other winners were How To Start A Revolution (Best Documentary), the UK’s Monk3ys (Best Microbudget Feature), Denmark’s Words (Best International Short), and Love At First Sight (Best UK Short).  The winning team behind Reset (Film of the Festival) will be offered the chance to film next year’s Raindance Film Festival trailer, with the support of the Independent Film Trust.


Festival Jury

The jury comprised Sally Bibawy of photography company Lomography, actor Dexter Fletcher (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Director Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky), Julian Richards, filmmaker and co-founder of Jinga Films, Oli Harbottle from Dogwoof, Céline Masset, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Brussels Short Film Festival, actress Helen McCrory (The Queen, Harry Potter films), Wendy Mitchell, Head of News at Screen International, and radio/TV presenter and film critic Alex Zane.


Festival Awards – nominated films with winners indicated

Festival Awards – nominated films with winners indicated


Best International Feature

Just Between Us / Rajko Grlic – Croatia/Serbia/Slovenia    WINNER
No Return / Miguel Cohan – Spain / Argentina
After Fall, Winter/ Eric Schaeffer – USA
Youth H2 “Come As You Are” / Kota Yoshida – Japan
War Games / Cosimo Alemà – Italy



Best UK Feature

Stranger Things / Eleanor Burke/Ron Eyal – UK     WINNER
Acts Of Godfrey / Johnny Daukes – UK
A Thousand Kisses Deep / Dana Lustig – UK
Flutter / Giles Borg – UK
Hollow/ Michael Axelgaard – UK
Seamonsters / Julian Kerridge – UK


Best Debut

Tilt / Viktor Chouchkov Jr. – Bulgaria     WINNER
Synchronicity / Joe Tanaka – Japan
Exteriors / Marie Kristiansen – Norway
On The Way Home / Emiliano Corapi – Italy
Restive/ Jeremiah Jones – USA


Best Microbudget Feature

MONK3YS / Drew Cullingham – UK    WINNER
Julius Caesar / Adam Lee Hamilton & John Montegrande – UK
Uspomene 677 / Mirko Pincelli – Bosnia Herzegovina / UK
Meso Cafe / Ja’far ‘Abd al-Hamid – UK
Black Pond / Tom Kingsley & Will Sharpe – UK


Best Documentary

How to Start A Revolution / Ruaridh Arrow – UK     WINNER
White Button / Igor Stoimenov – Serbia
The Echo Of Astro Boy’s Footsteps / Masanori Tominaga – Japan
Where My Heart Beats / Khazar Fatemi – Sweden
Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis / Peter Sasowsky – USA


Best International Short

Words /  Sven Vinge – Denmark     WINNER
The Lady Paranorma / Vincent Marcone – Canada
Martyr Friday / Abu Bakr Shawky – Egypt
Zoltan- The Hungarian Gangster of Love / Justin Reardon – USA
Hemingway’s Pen / Renzo Carbonera – Italy


Best UK Short

Love At First Sight / Michael Davies – UK    WINNER
This Side of the Afterlife  / Adam Horton – England
God View /  Billy Lumby – UK
The Girl Is Mime / Tim Bunn – UK
Rough Skin / Cathy Brady – UK


Film of the Festival (Short)
The winner is offered the chance to film next year’s Raindance Film Festival trailer, with the support of the Independent Film Trust:


Reset / Nicolangelo Gelormini – Italy


Full line-up for Raindance Film Festival Announced

Jodie Whittaker, Emilia Fox, Dougray Scott, Simon Amstell, Simon Callow, John Hurt, David Warner, Billy Zane, Harry Enfield and up-and-coming US writer/actress Brit Marling are among those appearing in films screening at this year’s Raindance Film Festival in London, 28th Sept – 9th Oct. 

The full line-up of feature films boasts over 90 UK premieres from 36 countries, including more than 30 international premieres, and a further 137 shorts, cementing Raindance’s position as Europe’s leading independent film festival specialising in edgy and alternative films by first-time filmmakers.   

The festival will open with the UK premiere of Another Earth – the critically-acclaimed breakout hit at this year’s Sundance.  Directed by Mike Cahill, the haunting indie sci-fi drama, released by Fox Searchlight, was co-written and stars one-to-watch newcomer Brit Marling alongside William Mapother (Lost).  On the night that a duplicate planet Earth is discovered in the solar system, an ambitious young astrophysics student (Marling) and an accomplished composer (Mapother) cross paths in a tragic accident and the lives of these strangers become irrevocably intertwined.  Another Earth will screen on 28th Sept at Cineworld Haymarket, giving Raindance audiences a chance to see it ahead of its wider release in the UK in December.  Brooklyn-based band Fall On Your Sword, who composed the original score for Another Earth, will be performing at the Opening Night After-Party.

The closing film is ‘slacker romance’ Bonsai – the second film from cult Chilean director Christian Jimenez.  The movie adaptation of the much lauded Chilean novel of the same name and loosely structured around Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, the story centres on the ill-fated love affair between two college students.  Featuring pitch-perfect performances together with superb direction from one of Chile’s rising stars, this will be Bonsai’s UK premiere. 

Showcasing the best in Independent British Cinema, the Homegrown strand boasts 10 world premieres including mockumentary Black Pond from young filmmakers, Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley, and starring two-time BAFTA winner Chris Langham and award-winning stand-up Simon Amstell in his acting debut.  The black comedy sees an ordinary family accused of murder when a stranger dies at their dinner table.

Acts of Godfrey, written and directed by Johnny Daukes, starring Simon Callow, Harry Enfield and Iain Robertson, will also make its World premiere.  Written entirely in rhyming couplets, the black comedy follows Victor (Robertson) as he attends a weekend motivational sales course in a country hotel, an event also attended by gangsters, a pop star and a fraudster (Enfield).  Little does he know that the weekend will change his life forever, as omniscient narrator Godfrey (Simon Callow) meddles with the weekend’s proceedings.

Also receiving its world premiere is A Thousand Kisses Deep starring Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II), Jodie Whittaker (Venus), Emilia Fox (Silent Witness) and veteran actor David Warner and directed by Dana Lustig. Caught in a timeless world of passions and betrayals, Mia (Whittaker) searches for the truth behind a mysterious woman’s death.

Fresh from its World Premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, supernatural thriller, Hollow,
(dir. Michael Axelgaard) will receive its European premiere – the story of two young couples on holiday in the English countryside when they uncover an ancient evil.  Sea Monsters, directed by Julian Kerridge, will also make its world debut.  Sam and Kieran are two teenage best friends living in a dead-end seaside town, when they meet a bewitching traveller girl.  Soon these wild young lives are torn apart by tragedy.

In the North American Indies strand comes After Fall, Winter, the sequel to Eric Schaeffer’s 1997 hit Fall.  The film rejoins Michael Shiver 15 years later – now 40 and searching for meaning to his life on a trip to Paris where he meets a beautiful, but dangerous woman (Lizzie Brochere) in a dark and edgy love story told against a BD/SM backdrop.  Making its European premiere is Gabi on the Roof in July (directed by Lawrence Michael Levine) – a comedic portrait of young New Yorkers in a city that’s in constant flux.

This year sees an especially strong selection of films in the Balkan strand, as a new generation of Southeast European filmmakers bring their films to London.  Director Nikola Lezaic brings an excitingly fresh perspective on youth culture in Serbia with skater film Tilva Rosh.  A Serbian Jackass meets Stand by Me, the film follows the exploits of two young skaters who spend their days filming their daring stunts while battling for the attention of the same girl.  Serbia’s biggest-ever box office hit, Montevideo – Taste of  Dream (directed by Dragan Bjelogrlic) will also screen, giving UK audiences a chance to see Serbia’s Oscar submission for 2012. 

Croatian Rajko Grlic’s Just Between Us will make its UK premiere – a warm tale of infidelity charting the convoluted love lives of two brothers, their wives and their mistresses.  From Bosnia comes Sevdah for Karim (directed by Jasmin Durakovic) – a contemporary drama about three friends in post-war, transitional Sarajevo, torn between their friendships and their love of Sevdah – Bosnian folk music.

Punk is not Dead from Macedonian filmmaker Vladimir Blazevski tells the story of an old school junkie who reforms his old cult punk band to perform one last gig. The Enemy (dir. Dejan Zecevic) – a Serbia-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Croatia-Hungary co-production – is a paranormal thriller about a Bosnian commando unit which starts tearing itself apart just days after the end of the Balkan war.
Among the 15 films featured in the European Cinema strand is the UK premiere of Maya – a beautifully told tale of envy and gossip from director Pluton Vasi.  A man who has been living in the west returns to his village in Albania to bury his father.  Having met the beautiful Maya, he wants to stay on and make a life for himself there, but a vicious web of rumour and hearsay threatens his happiness. 

Leading the line-up of World Cinema in the Global Celluloid strand is the European premiere of Australian film X directed by Jon Hewitt.  A thriller set in the seedy underbelly of Sydney’s sex industry, X is the story of two prostitutes forced to go on the run after witnessing the brutal result of a drug-deal gone wrong.

As always, Way Out East will showcase the latest cult offerings from Japan, including Kaidan Horror Classics – two programmes of short films from leading Japanese directors Ochiai Masayuki, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Lee Sang-il, Tsukamoto Shinya.   Also screening as part of the strand are the international premieres of Synchronicity (dir. Joe Tanaka) and Youth 2 “Come As You Are (dir. Kota Yoshida).

This year’s Raindance boasts an especially strong raft of Documentaries including the European Premiere of How To Start A Revolution (directed by Ruaridh Arrow) about the world’s leading expert on nonviolent revolutions, Gene Sharp, whose publications have become the standard textbooks for revolutionaries around the world from Burma to Serbia, Egypt and Syria.  Two years in the making, this timely film reveals the remarkable story of the modern revolution, the power of people to change their world, and the man behind it all.  

The documentaries strand will include Uspomene 677 (directed by Mirko Pincelli) about the 677 concentration camps set up during the Bosnian war.  Making its world debut is Where My Heart Beats – a doc by Swedish journalist and former refugee, Khazar Fatemi, who returns to her childhood country of Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years. 

The strand also includes the European premiere of the docudrama Leaving Baghdad from Iraqi-born filmmaker  Koutaiba Al-Janabi – a road movie about Saddam Hussein’s personal cameraman as he tries to escape Iraq at the end of the nineties.  Winner of the Feature Films competition at the Gulf Film Festival, the drama is interwoven with real archive footage of shocking tortures and home video-style archive footage of Saddam Hussein.  

Holy Rollers (dir. Bryan Storkel) follows the rise of arguably the largest and most well-funded blackjack team in America – made up entirely of churchgoing Christians.

The documentaries’ strand also includes three films from youth media brand VICE, which showcases docs and films from across the globe.  The three documentaries include Roseboy – an eye-opening look at celebrity super-fans – from Sam who is so obsessed with La Roux that he’s changed his name to Sam La Roux, to British school boy Harvii who leapt to internet stardom after an image of him attempting to give Megan Fox a rose went viral.   The VICE programme also includes two offerings from their ‘VICE guide to…’ series, which look at ongoing tensions in Belfast and an investigation into the mining of ‘conflict mineral’ coltan in DR Congo.

In the Raindance Symphony Orchestra strand – showcasing LGBT, experimentia and music films – cult Canadian director Bruce McDonald brings Music from the Big House.  The documentary follows award-winning recording artist, Rita Chiarelli as she takes a pilgrimage to the American Deep South – the birthplace of the blues – to visit, perform and record with inmates of the Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary, aka Angola Prison – once the bloodiest prison in America. 

In addition to the 94 feature films, 137 shorts will also screen including Sailcloth, written and directed by Elfar Adalsteins and starring Oscar-nominated actor John Hurt.  Completely without dialogue, the 17-minute short tells the story of an elderly widower (Hurt) who disappears from a nursing home to embark on one final journey on his beloved sailboat.  It just won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, automatically qualifying it for Oscar consideration.