The Raindance Film Festival announced its award winners Friday Sep. 29 at The Mayfair Hotel in London.

Hosted by Raindance Founder, Elliot Grove, jury member Treva Etienne (Terminator: Salvation) was also in attendance to present an award to the winners as was Johanna von Fischer (director of British Independent Film Awards 2006 – 2015) and Rosa Bosch (producer at B&W Films).  Similarly for the VRX Awards a who's who of VR visionaries presented awards including Reshu Sidhu of Framestore, as well as Sol RogersBAFTA VR executive.

The winning films were selected from 14 categories by the Festival's jury members, which also included Christopher Ecclestone, Sean Bean, Jack O'Connell, Celia Imrie and Ewen Bremner, among many others.

The Festival received a record-breaking number of submissions from over 200 countries, the highest it has received to date, including features, shorts, webfest, VR and music videos.

Urban Post, sponsor of Raindance Film Festival, is donating in-kind prizes to the winners of the Best Film, Best Discovery and Best UK Film categories – each winner will receive $10,000 CDN in-kind in audio/video post production services.

This year saw the introduction of the Raindance VRX Awards, VRX Summit, VRX Market in the newly established VR strand which also includes the VR Arcade which debuted last year, alongside established strands including LGBT and China Day, the Festival also showcased its fifth annual Web Series, third annual Co-production Forum, a Music strand and also hosted an array of creative industry panels, including the ever popular Live! Ammunition! event, which provides filmmakers with the opportunity to pitch ideas for their films to a panel of industry executives.

Iconic British Filmmaker Guy Ritchie received the Festival's second Raindance Auteur Award recognizing his achievements in filmmaking and ongoing contribution to the film industry.  

The Constitution was the biggest winner of the Festival, receiving three awards: Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Performance for Nebojša Glogovac. A film about loss of community, The Constitution follows four people who live in the same building, but avoid each other because of the differences in their assets, sexual habits, nationality and religion.

Best Director was awarded to Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak for Maya Dardel, a film about a famous writer who claims on NPR that she intends to end her life and offers the opportunity for male writers to compete to become executor of her estate.

Jason Wingard's In Another Life was awarded Best UK Feature. Set against the backdrop of the Calais jungle camp, the film follows Syrian refugee Adnan as he battles to be reunited with his wife in the UK.

Best Documentary went to RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save The Planet, which follows internationally celebrated river conservationist Mark Angelo on an around-the-world journey by river that uncovers the dark side of the fashion industry. Raindance has also added a Special Jury Mention for Best Documentary award for The Family I Had, which was narrowly pipped to the post, about a mother recalling how her brilliant teenage son came to shatter their idyllic family through one horribly violent and shocking act.

Rayhana’s I Still Hide To Smoke received the Discovery Award for Best Debut Feature. The film set during the 1995, Algerian Civil War, follows Fatima, a middle-aged masseuse who runs a hammam where all local women meet to cleanse their bodies and spirits. Some do it for the men and the Koran, and some come just to hide from them, washing away the pain caused by the patriarchal society they live in.

The Film of the Festival Award went to Héctor Valdez's Peaches. The film, set somewhere in the Carribean, in a future that never was, follows a man who will find any means necessary to fix what happened when his girlfriend decides to leave him after a disastrous anniversary getaway.

The film generated a lot of buzz during the Festival, particularly from Raindance Founder Elliot Grove who stated that, “We chose Peaches as Film of the Festival because of the spirit in which it was made. A retro-futuristic voyage, this film interweaves time travel, whilst firmly rooted on 70's Hollywood's vision of the future. The film cleverly interweaves style and synthesised music rooted firmly in the 1970s to create a relentlessly upbeat movie with characters that are hilariously oblivious to the complexities of basic morality.”

As a result of this win and as per Raindance tradition, Héctor Valdez will be asked to direct next year's Official Festival Trailer.

Jeannie Donohoe (Game), Marta Savina (Viola, Franca) and Nathaniel Martello-White (Cla’am) were the big winners in the Shorts Programme, with Game receiving the award for Best Short, Viola, Franca receiving the Special Jury Mention for Best Short and Cla'am winning Best UK Short.

Game, produced by Lexus and The Weinstein Company in the third annual Lexus Short Films series, follows a new kid in town who tests the limits at the high school basketball tryouts and Viola, Franca is set in 1965 Sicily where a 17 year-old girl single handily alters the course of Italian history with an unexpected act of defiance, whilst Cla'am is a dark, surreal comedy about a local man who becomes convinced that a vast conspiracy is behind the impossibly rapid gentrification in his London area.

We also saw Riders of the Well of Death win the coveted Best Documentary Short about a group of daredevil Indian drivers who play with gravity, speed and chance as they race their motorbikes around the ‘well of death’, as well as Vladimir Todorov's Flutter take the prize for Best Animated Short which is set in a world where everyone can defy gravity.

The Best Music Video Award went to Terror – with music by indie-pop sol act Steady Holiday, the video the story of a woman, who whilst cleaning her house, finds a creature living in her couch that will not die.

This is the first year Raindance has announced the 10 winners of its inaugural VRX Awards, showing the expansion of the VR strand since its initial conception last year, this would not have been impossible without our VR partners Facebook 360 and Blend Media. Eugene Chung won The Special Prize for Best Storytelling in Virtual Reality for Arden’s Wake about a young woman who lives with her father in a lighthouse perched atop the endless sea. The winners of the ten categories including Best Interactive Narrative VR Experience and Best Cinematic Narrative VR Experience can be found in the full list below.

Michael Berry's Stuck closed the Festival on Sunday, October 1st at Vue West End in London.

Main partners of the 25th Raindance Film Festival include Lexus, Century Club, and Vue Cinemas.

FULL LIST OF WINNERS

Best Film - The Constitution

Best Director – Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak (Maya Dardel)

Best Performance – Nebojša Glogovac (The Constitution)

Best ScreenplayRajko Grlc and Ante Tomic (The Constitution)

Best UK FeatureIn Another Life

Best Documentary FeatureRiverBlue: Can Fashion Save The Planet?

Special Jury Mention For Best Documentary FeatureThe Family I Had

Discovery Award I Still Hide To Smoke

Film of the Festival AwardPeaches

Best Short of the FestivalGame

Special Jury Mention For Best Short of the FestivalViola, Franca

Best UK ShortCla’am

Best Documentary ShortRiders of the Well of Death

Best Animation Short - Flutter

Best Music VideoTerror

RAINDANCE VRX AWARDS

Best Interactive Narrative VR Experience - Manifest 99

Best Mobile Interactive VR Experience - Virtual Virtual Reality

Best Cinematic Narrative VR Experience - Alteration

Best Documentary VR Experience - First Impressions

Best Animation VR Experience - Dear Angelica

Best Music VR Experience - Beethoven's Fifth

Best Branded VR Experience - The Chainsmokers: Paris

Best Sensual VR Experience - Through You

Best Social Impact VR Experience - Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon,

Best Sound Design VR Experience - Reeps One: Does Not Exist

Special Prize: Best Storytelling in Virtual Reality - Arden's Wake