The birth of Raindance and the British Independent Film Awards


April 4, 1972.

This date was one of the most important dates of my life – and still is today. It was the launch of the very first Raindance training event. And it was the 2 day film school presented by the legendary Dov SS Simens.

And that was the birth of Raindance.

Over the next 9 months I ran training events and in May 1993 I remember I had £100 left over from a film course. I got a copy of Variety’s May 1993 list of all the films at the Cannes Film Festival that year, and circled 68 that I thought were appropriate. I sent a one page fax to everyone on this list for £1 per fax while the money ran out. And 38 of them showed up at the first Raindance Film Festival in October 1993.

I remember thinking. “This is it! It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. No more waiting around for someone else to decide which movies get seen. Whether Raindance should succeed or fail, Raindance will do it on our own terms with our own ideas and our own brand.

And just like that, Raindance was born.

Five years later, one of our amazing volunteers, Fred Hogge, suggested we throw a party. So in October 1998 we did it, and the British Independent Film Award was born. Remarkably, this first year’s event only cost Raindance £150. And something creatives have in abundance – a thousand hours of time. But we had a dream, our love for filmmaking, a ton of ambition, shelves full of scripts and VHS tapes, and a capital “R” on all of them. The rest is history. Our history.

That day, when we started, we were three people around a table. Looking back, we were far from the dream team we have today. But we are visionaries, creators and filmmakers. And we do what visionaries, creators and filmmakers do best. We have improved.

Every day, every festival and every BIFA, we have improved. With every new idea, we improve. With every mistake, we improve. And thanks to this, every filmmaker and everyone who takes our courses has improved.

From day one, everything we have done – and continue to do – has been to unleash the potential of every visual content creator in the world. To make you stronger, more exciting and more entertaining. And to help you reach new audiences. To help you do things you never knew you could do. And it’s because of you that we are what we are today.

Yours in the cinema,

Elliot Grove

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