Furiously devoted to finding the best new independent filmmakers, Grove has seen some of the biggest names in the business pass through his doors and we were lucky enough to get his take on his work in film.
If you want to know more you can click here for the Raindance festival homepage, or check out Raindance.tv for a look at some of the best work coming out of Raindance.
Raindance is at the forefront of developing new and exciting films, how does it feel to constantly be involved with a wealth of upcoming talent?
I have the best job anyone could possibly want – I get to meet the most talented and interesting people imaginable. I also get to watch filmmakers and their careers take off. Watching new talent find its voice is what it is all about. I am constantly on the lookout for new ways of bringing new filmmakers to the attention of the film industry. Just this month we are launching an exciting new competition “Welcome To The Extraordinary” which enables new filmmakers to try their hands at a short 40 second piece.
What inspired you to start Raindance?
I am a Canadian. In 1992 I was at loose ends, and the country was suffering from a terrible recession. Rather than getting depressed about the then-sad state of the British film industry, I decided to try and bring British films and filmmakers to the attention of the public. Looking back, I can now see why everyone thought I was mad and would fail.
Success, I have discovered, is about passion, perseverance and vision. These are the qualities I look for when I am on the hunt for new talent.
The 90s seemed to bring the notion of guerilla filmmaking to a wider audience, how do you think this spirit has evolved over the last twenty years?
No longer is it necessary to have tons of money to rent equipment to make a film. The advances in digital technology has brought quality filmmaking production techniques to everyone. The trick remains, however, to find something that is worth making. Something that takes the ordinary, and makes it extraordinary – the challenge of any artist.
Given the economic climate and the critical failing of some of the more expensive studio films, do you think the time is right for distributors to start looking for films with a lower budget?
Eleven years ago, Raindance Film Festival premiered the Blair Witch Project – a hugely successful micro budget film. Last year saw the triumph of Paranormal Activity. Both of these films succeeded because of three things: The films were made for next to nothing (so they could go into profit sooner); the filmmakers had something original to say (as above, by taking something ordinary and twisting it) and because the filmmakers and distribution companies used terrific online marketing and publicity campaigns.
Distribution companies have finally realised that they can make money with micro budget films, and there has never been a better time for filmmakers to tell their bold, fresh and original stories than right now.
Duncan Jones and his debut film Moon triumphed at BIFA at the end of last year, would you consider that film an example of the best of independent film?
Duncan Jones created the script of MOON to utilise the elements of a low budget film: One location and one actor. He then raised his budget from friends and family and shot the film. When it was finished, the film triumphed commercially and artistically because he had something extraordinarily exciting to say.
How important do you see the internet becoming in the nurturing of new, talented filmmakers?
The internet has become the new golden goose for filmmakers seeking an audience outside of the traditional distribution channels. I meet 2 types of filmmakers: Those who loathe and fear the internet, and those who embrace it.
Understanding social media and how it is relevant to building an audience for your film and for your career is the keystone on which new careers are made in 2010.
What independent films have impressed you most recently – who are the names to watch?
This will sound like a cop-out – but I hate singling out films or filmmakers. It goes with my position of running Britain’s largest independent film festival. There are so many new voices creating films in so many different styles, I feel it would be unfair to single out individuals.
Except to say that I don’t think that the internet and it’s storytelling possibilities have been exploited at all yet. By using the advantages of the internet, combined with the possibilities offered by the gaming industry, I think someone, very soon, will create a film that melds these two platforms and makes a film that will astound and delight. And the person who does this first will become the next George Lucas or Stephen Spielberg.
HeyUGuys would like to thank Elliot Grove for his time.
Elliot Grove will be a judge on the InterCasino Welcome to the Extraordinary film competition, running until 25th July. For more information visit www.welcometotheextraordinary.com