Raindance Industry Committee
What is Raindance?
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.
MA in Filmmaking with Raindance
Raindance also offers a Masters of Arts in Filmmaking which is unlike any other postgraduate filmmaking programme in the world. It offers a flexible learning environment that enables students to follow a bespoke curriculum tailored to the individual’s creative and professional aspirations. This innovative degree, that covers all types of visual storytelling, fictional and non-fictional, allows students to set their own goals and develop their own learning activities and to benefit from the support and expertise from an award-winning team of industry mentors.
Past students of the MA programme include Sadie Frost, actress and producer of Buttercup Bill and Set the Thames on Fire, Luc Chamberland, writer-director of Seth’s Dominion, Suzanne Gielgud, choreographer of Alexander and director of The Gospel of Ross McKim, and Louise Salter, star and producer of How to be Human.
Alumni and current students 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?,
- 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,
- Chris Mul, writer-director, winner of the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition, in the Feature Drama category for Faster Than Horses.
What is the Raindance Industry Committee?
The Raindance Industry Committee is a reflection of the broader group of Masters students and alumni. Committee members 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 MA in Filmmaking 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.
Raindance Committee Members
Co-chair, Raindance Industry Committee
James is an award-winning actor, theatre director and Harley Street therapist. A former business consultant, he has worked with many business leaders at boardroom level as well as international sports organisations and governing bodies. A graduate of The Oxford School of Drama, he initially graduated in Business Studies from the Robert Gordon University before completing his MSc Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London. James is following the MA in Filmmaking programme at Raindance, London.
Co-chair, Raindance Industry Committee
Lizzie is an award-winning actress with a degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Los Angeles. Lizzie worked in Hollywood and London for many years and has worked on a variety of short films as an actress. She recently made her producing debut on the short film Disarm starring Sophia Myles and is in pre-production on another female-led short The Carer. Lizzie is passionate about making female-centred work and representing a side of society that isn’t typically shown on screen.
Secretary, Raindance Industry Committee
Barbara completed her MA in Filmmaking with Raindance/De Montfort University in May 2020. Her interests are in TV comedy and comedy drama. She has written several shorts Still Here, Her Story and wrote and co-produced the comedy short The Text Kit, which screened at many festivals including at Raindance Film Festival 2020. In her day-job Barbara is a senior NHS doctor and specialises in Sexually Transmitted Diseases and contraception.
Secretary, Raindance Industry Committee
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 sci-fi short film NeoTouch was nominated for Best Upcoming Director at the 12th Gässli Film Festival and her latest project Saitenstich, thematising child work, received national funding in Switzerland. Raphaela joined the Raindance Masters programme in 2019 with the goal of writing the pilot episode of her historical fantasy TV series OnceOne.
Shamila has worked as a craft editor and director in news, an assistant producer on Match Of The Day and also worked on various short films, advertising and corporate campaigns. She is now in preproduction on her own film Not for Anyone that is due to go into shooting early in 2022. Shamila is passionate about the representation of Muslim women and is using her work to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes.
Georgia has been a writer for more than twenty years, having initially trained as an actress. She has written for the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company and her work has been produced internationally. She has been the writer in residence at BBC Radio and has written extensively for the medium. She obtained an MA in Screenwriting from Raindance in 2020 and has various projects in development, including an adaptation of her own stage play, Adrenalin Heart, first produced at The Bush Theatre.
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.
Dagmara has a background in journalism, working for a successful radio show in Melbourne, Australia, producing and presenting on shows about everything from popular culture to 9/11. She has worked on several technology start-ups, including Skype, and runs her own production company in London. She is currently finishing her first feature documentary, We Still Rise, about the women behind the Women’s March of 2017. Her passion for content production and belief that everyday women can really make a difference, all came together to create this important film.
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.
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.
Jacqueline Pietsch is a screenwriter, storyteller and journalist based in France and the United Kingdom. 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.
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.