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The 24th annual Raindance Film Festival concluded at London’s Vue Piccadilly on 2 October. The festival celebrated some of the finest independent films, shorts, music videos, virtual reality films, web series and documentaries from around the globe, over 11 days.

Listed by Variety as one of the world’s top 50 “unmissable film festivals”, Raindance received a record-breaking number of submissions from 98 countries – the highest it has received to date ­– and screened 108 feature films and 85 short films.

This year’s stand-out film was The Shepherd, a Spanish tale of a shepherd who refuses to sell his home to a construction company. In addition to receiving the Best Film at the festival’s award ceremony, Jonathan Cenzual Burley won the Best Director award and Miguel Martin picked up the best actor accolade.

The Best Documentary Feature went to Growing Up Coy, which charts a Colorado family as they fight for the their six-year-old transgender daughter’s right to use the girls’ toilet at school. The Best UK Feature was won by Gozo, a UK-Maltese co-production, where a couple emigrate to the Mediterranean island only to find that the past still haunts them.

Perhaps the highlight of the festival was a discussion with legendary British filmmaker Ken Loach who received the Festival’s first Raindance Auteur Award from the jury which included Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Imelda Staunton, Olivia Colman, Matthew Lewis, Nicholas Pinnock and conceptual artist David Datuna.

The Film of the Festival Award went to Rick Darge’s Zen Dog. The US film follows a man whose daily routine and comfortable life is altered when he takes up lucid dreaming and discovers more than he bargained for.

“We chose Zen Dog as Film of the Festival because of the spirit in which it was made,” explained Raindance Founder Elliot Grove. “It takes on a meditative magic carpet ride of the Dreamworld and looks at how we can influence both our dreams and waking life. The film cleverly weaves in the spiritual with the philosophical.”

Full list of winners:

Best Film - The Shepherd

Best Director – Jonathan Cenzual Burley (The Shepherd)

Best Actor – Miguel Martin (The Shepherd)

Best Actress – Camila Romagnolo (Hortensia)

Best Screenplay – Joaquin del Paso and Lucy Pawlak (Panamerican Machinery)

Best UK Feature – Gozo

Best Documentary Feature – Growing Up Coy

Discovery Award/Best Debut Feature – Kamper

Indie AwardSelling Isobel

Film of the Festival AwardZen Dog

Raindance Co-Produciton Best Potential for Brand Partnership Award, Supported by Imaginative Exposure The Bicycle

Best Short Film - A l’Arraché (Snatched)

Best UK Short FilmHealey’s House

Best Music Video - Joy


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Raindance film festival winners
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