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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Independent film festival kicks off
Pumpkin
Christina Ricci (3rd right) stars in closing night film Pumpkin
The 10th annual Raindance Film Festival, which focuses on independent cinema, opens in London on Wednesday.

More than 70 features and 200 shorts from 22 countries will be screened during the 10-day festival, while special events, workshops and seminars will also be taking place.

This year's opening night film is Tadpole, starring Sigourney Weaver.

The film, which won the Directors Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is a quirky comedy about a 15-year-old boy who develops a crush on his stepmother.

It will receive a special gala premiere in association with Amnesty International, to celebrate the festival's 10th anniversary.

The festival will end on 1 November with Pumpkin, starring Christina Ricci and Brenda Blethyn. Ricci plays a wealthy student who strikes up a romance with a handicapped young man.
Tadpole
Tadpole was a hit at the Sundance Festival

Other highlights of the festival will include Britney Baby One More Time, a documentary about a Britney Spears impersonator, and the British comedy Baby Juice Express, which stars Nick Moran.

Underground

Moran is also on the festival jury, along with actress Tara Fitzgerald and director Kristian Levring.

They will be giving out awards for the best feature and short film and the best debut feature, among others.

The festival will play host to a number of special events, including a talk by British film-maker Tony Kaye, who has been chosen as this year's director in residence.

Members of the public will also have the chance to pitch their ideas for films to a panel of experts.

"Raindance is a contemporary independent film festival for emerging talent - a place for groundbreaking filmmakers to exhibit their work," explains festival director Elliot Grove.

"We present films from all over the world, which range from the edgy underground films to British breakthrough films."

The Blair Witch Project, Pulp Fiction and Memento are among those high-profile films which have been screened at the festival in previous years.

See also:

13 Oct 00 | Entertainment
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