“I Am Slave” director Gabriel Range’s “Stardust,” that chronicles the young David Bowie’s first visit to the U.S. in 1971, a trip that inspired the invention of his iconic alter ego Ziggy Stardust, will open the 28th Raindance Film Festival.

Like several other festivals this year, Raindance will be a hybrid version comprised of a strong online presence with some physical events and screenings. The festival’s 50-strong film program will be available online across the U.K. while live events will be confined to London. The films will be free, though financial contributions will be encouraged, 28% of which will be donated to charitable causes.

Range will participate in a physical red carpet event for “Stardust” in London, and in-person activity will also include an out-of-competition gala screening of Akabane Hiroshi’s Japanese film “Twiceborn,” with both events taking place at London’s The May Fair hotel.

A part of the festival’s ‘Sonica’ music strand, “Jimmy is Punk,” will premiere at the 100 Club, including a live Q&A with director Duco Donk alongside members of punk band Panic. Robert Carr’s “Different Johns,” about folk musician and photographer John Cohen, will also have an in-person premiere along with an exhibition of original photographs by Cohen from the 1950’s Beat Generation era at a yet to be confirmed venue.

Jurors this year include Jeremy Irons, Aki Omoshaybi (“Real”), Pippa Bennett-Warner (“Gangs of London”), Kris Hitchen (“Sorry We Missed You”), Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty”), Elizabeth Henstridge (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”), Esme Creed-Miles (“Hanna”), Jessica Brown Findlay (“Harlots”), Ray Panthaki (“Colette”), drag royalty and TV personality Baga Chipz, and model and actor Lily Cole.

“Storytelling brings us together,” said Raindance founder Elliot Grove. “This year more than ever, we need the medium of film to unite us, inspire us, and help us to feel empowered and not isolated. No matter where you are in the U.K., as long as you have a screen you can be a part of the Raindance Film Festival. There’s no stopping us.”

The festival runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 7.


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