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Since its inception, the Raindance Film Festival has remained something of a force, pushing back against the established movie industry with an expertly curated lineup of vibrant, original, and daring film. It’s founder, Elliot Grove, maintains a fierce independence at the festival’s core and has managed to keep its programming three steps ahead for two and a half decades. Here, he chats about how Brexit might affect the U.K.’s indie film industry, the possibilities of VR in the storytelling space, and what he hopes Raindance will continue to do for filmmakers and actors alike.
What’s allowed you to keep going for 25 years?
The reason for our success is threefold: the films have been remarkable, the brilliant audiences support us—and there were very few in the early years—and the team who really get the festival and who work for blood, sweat, and beers to make it happen. Raindance showcases the films that Hollywood won’t touch, those that challenge the image of Hollywood and wouldn’t otherwise be made or shown without big corporate sponsors, which is effect a form of censorship.
What was the festival set up to do?
There are two ways to make a film: from within the industry where you’ll be subjected to the mores and values of sponsors or by doing it yourself, with your own money. The industry creates a mystique around itself, they don’t want newcomers. Some people who have come through Raindance, people like my first ever intern Edgar Wright, are those who have achieved artistic and commercial success. Many more filmmakers have yet to find that and the point of the festival is to highlight and showcase those people.
What was the reason for setting up the Raindance workshops and film school?
I am completely untrained. My parents were Amish, y’know the horse and…