Raindance Industry Committee

What is the Raindance Industry Committee?

The Raindance Industry Committee is a reflection of the broader group of Raindance Higher Education students and alumni. They have a wide range of backgrounds and interests, bringing knowledge and expertise from all walks of life. They hail from countries all over the world and contribute to making the Raindance higher education programme a cultural and societal melting pot. They are united by a passion for visual storytelling and their differences serve to build a creative hub that is brimming with ideas.

Committee members act as a bridge between Raindance’s students and alumni and the wider industry, forging solid, long-term links with producers, distributors, directors, agents and creatives from film, television, video-games and all other story-telling mediums. 

Past Alumni and current students who have won or been nominated for a host of awards including:

– Barry Clark-Ewers, producer, BAFTA long-listed in the Best Documentary category for Billie
– Vanda Ladeira, director, winner of 45+ awards including Best Indie film at the Chicago Indie Film Awards, and Best Indie Short & Best Director at the Vegas Movie Awards
– Viktoria Szemeredy, writer-director, winner of the Best Director award at the Monochrome Film Festival for Metaphorms, and winner of Best LGBTQ+ film at the Rome Movie Awards and the Paris Play Film Festival for U Up?.
– Chris Mul, writer-director, winner of the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition, in the Feature Drama category for Faster Than Horses.
– Oyvind Aamli, director, winner of the Best Documentary Short Film award at the Children’s Film Festival in Seattle.
– Louise Salter, actor and producer, winner of Best Actress and Best Short Film awards at the Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival for How to Be Human.
– Michelle Morris, producer, winner of the Most Popular Canadian Feature at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and of the Canadian Feature Award at the Edmonton International Film Festival for Red Snow.

    COMING SOON!

    Summer Party – a Raindance Student, Alumni & Mentors Mixer
    Date: June TBC

    Industry Committee Events

    The committee formed in 2020 and has since hosted a number of events including Roundtables, Networking and Panels with topics such as Diversity, Mental Health, Director’s Voice and Development Processes across Film & TV.

    We’ve been honoured to welcome guests such as:

      • Austin & Meredith Bragg Writers & Directors of the 2022 Raindance Closing Gala Film “Pinball: The Man Who Saved The Game”
      • Rhian Griffiths Vice President – TV Production at Working Title Films
      • Fraser MacDonald Director, credits include Secret Diary of a Call Girl, The Royal Mob
      • William McGregor Writer/Director, credits including Gwen, His Dark Materials, Lockwood & Co.
      • Lorenza Tuan – Acquisitions Executive at ShortsTV International
      • Jamael Westman Actor, credits include the lead role in the original cast of “Hamilton”

    If you are a current student or an alumni of the Raindance Film School and would like to get involved with the Industry Committee, we would be delighted to have you join our team! Get in touch with us: 

    industrycommittee@raindance.ac.uk

    What is Raindance as a whole?

    Raindance is dedicated to fostering and promoting independent film around the world. 

    The organisation was founded in central London in 1992 by Elliot Grove as a thought experiment: can you make a film with no money, no training and no experience? The first Raindance event was a masterclass with legendary film instructor Dov Simens in April 1992.

    In October the following year, the Raindance Film Festival was born with What’s Eating Gilbert Grape as its UK premiere. In 1998 Raindance created the British Independent Film Awards, an annual celebration of the best of UK independent filmmaking. 

    Operating for more than 25 years, Raindance offers a wide range of evening and weekend film training courses in 10 cities around the world, including London, Toronto, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris and Dubai, as well as online — all taught by experienced film professionals. They cover a range of crafts such as screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, special effects, editing, lighting and sound to name just a few.

    Raphaela Wagner
    Co-chair

    Bio

    Raphaela is an ever curious writer-director with a strong interest in exploring the boundary between realism and fantasy and using it to spotlight important themes. Her latest project Saitenstich premiered at the oscar-qualifying Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and was aired on Swiss Television SRF1 in 2022. Raphaela finished the Raindance Masters programme in 2023, writing the pilot episode of her historical fantasy TV series OnceOne as part of her final thesis.


    Jacqueline Pietsch
    Co-chair

    Bio

    Jacqueline Pietsch is a screenwriter, storyteller and journalist based in France. She draws inspiration from the huge diversity of people and situations she has encountered on her global travels for AFP news agency. She is currently developing several projects during her Masters, including a television series about the black market trade in kidneys.

    Lizzie Worsdell

    Communications Liason

    Bio

    Lizzie is an award-winning actress with a degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Los Angeles and a MA in Filmmaking (distinction) from Raindance Film School. Lizzie worked in Hollywood and London for many years and has worked on a variety of short films as an actress before moving into the world of producing. Her producing debut was the short film Disarm starring Sophia Myles and her female-led short The Carer recently made its UK premiere at the BAFTA qualifying Underwire festival. Lizzie is passionate about making female-centred work and representing a side of society that isn’t typically shown on screen.

     
                     Jennifer Hawkins               Secretary

    Bio

    Jenna studied Modern Drama and Film at Brunel University. Whilst following a career in financial services, Jenna has continued with her creative pursuits, including filmmaking, musical theatre and writing. She joined the Raindance MA programme in order to develop her screenwriting skills. She is excited about psychological dramas with a twist of Folk Horror, and is currently working on a feature script entitled The Devil.

    James Rose

    Bio

    James is a Scottish producer, screenwriter and director (MA Filmmaking, Raindance) based in the USA. A graduate of The Oxford School of Drama, with an acting resume spanning 15 years, he initially graduated in Business Studies from the Robert Gordon University before completing his MSc Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London. James has worked with many business leaders at boardroom level, as well as international sports and entertainment organisations, on organisational psychology, corporate well-being and employee mental health. 


    Molly Rose Foxe

    Bio

    Molly has a keen background in film events, from film fundraising to documentary film nights and short film festivals. She was able to share her passion across the world whilst living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, hosting a successful documentary night which she has then brought back to London while she studies with Raindance. She is excited to make films that tackle prevalent social issues in British society particularly focusing on women.


    Nanni Mann
    Marketing Head

    Bio

    Nanni joined the MA in Filmmaking at Raindance after attaining a BA (Hons) in Media & English Literature focused on screen studies and adaptation. Following the Writer-Director pathway, Nanni is currently completing her first short film: a thriller that acts as a feminist critique of the existing systems to protect women from sexual harassment. She is further working on her first feature-length screenplay and collaborating with Raindance MA alumna and writer Jenna Hawkins on bringing her short script to life.

    Isaac Odeniran

    Bio

    Isaac is a business person, author, broadcaster, producer, storyteller, musical artist and actor. He has been involved in filmmaking since 2013 and has made six feature films and co-written several scripts. He is the founder and Director of Zoe Records UK, the premier British Gospel record label which he established in 1999. He started the film imprint Zoe Films UK in 2013. Isaac is also studying for the Masters in Filmmaking at Raindance.


    Gareth Sibson
    Events Host

    Bio

    Gareth was the first indie published bestseller and a former lawyer who is the founder of the UK’s leading indie publishing house. He has spent a decade disrupting the publishing industry driven by a passion to help new talent tell their stories. He is a public speaker and guest lecturer at various universities including NFTS. Following the writer-director pathway at Raindance, he is delivering a Proof of Concept for his first feature, Lola. He is interested in the stories of powerful individuals that challenge accepted narratives.

    Meliz Houssein

    Bio

    Meliz is a writer/director who strives for authenticity within her work, being a female British Turkish-Cypriot, she aims to visually tell stories through her unique perspective, with the aim to impart meaning, connection and intrigue into the worlds and characters she portrays. Her films appropriate her own lived experiences to enhance their realistic nature, addressing these common experiences she draws into question the deeper psychological backlash generated outwardly and subconsciously on a given topic. Her debut short film Traces demonstrates her directorial style, having made its film festival debut at the 2022 Raindance Film Festival, it has since screened at the Peckham Filmmakers Autumn Showcase, London Director Awards Festival, & NRFF Love Story Festival. It received its first nomination for Best UK Short at NRFF Love Story Festival. Meliz’s ongoing aim is to portray thought provoking life experiences through female perspective, and is supported as an emerging film writer and director.


    Vanda Ladeira
    Events Host

    Bio

    Vanda works for the UK Parliament as a film producer specializing in concepts, production management, shooting and editing of short documentaries. She is also building her body of work as a film director. Her work has won awards around the world and has been shown at prestigious festivals in the USA, Europe and Asia. Her film Alder is a selection at the Canadian Screen Award-qualifying Thomas Edison Black Maria festival – 40th year. Vanda is a Directors UK associate member.

    Eleanor Jackson – Smith

    Bio

    Eleanor is a London-based screenwriter, actor and photographer. Her focus is on writing stories about women finding themselves in a changing world, often exploring the tensions between liberal and conservative cultures. She is inspired by her time spent in Germany as a child and aims to create bi-lingual works that unite creatives across cultures.Currently studying for a screenwriting MA at Raindance Film School, Eleanor has workshopped her pilots with Sundance Collab courses and filmed a proof of concept for her bi-lingual hour-long drama series, The Champagne Socialist. She is an established screen and stage actor, her most notable role being Princess Irene in Sky History’s recent drama The Royal Mob. She also works extensively as a Voice Over artist, recording narration for audiobooks and characters for video games.