For aspiring filmmakers in Canada, the process of making a movie can seem overwhelming. It’s not always as simple as grabbing your camera and shooting your film — but that’s where Raindance Canada comes in.
Whether you’re just thinking of starting a career in film, or have been doing it for years, Raindance Canada offers something for everybody. In fact, there’s so many things for filmmakers to learn, or take part in through Raindance Canada, that even explaining it can be a bit of a challenge. We spoke with Mik Adrik, head of Community Engagement at Raindance Canada, to get a better understanding of the services that the organization offers and the community it creates for everybody.
With offices in Montreal and Vancouver, as well as the headquarters in Toronto, Raindance Canada has an impressive position in the country, but the organization is worldwide. Cities like Paris, Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, and London are just a few of the places with a Raindance presence, but it’s Toronto that TFS is most interested in. Headed by creative director Tiska Wiedermann, and executive director Jaimy Warner, Raindance Canada boasts an impressive set of options for individuals considering filmmaking as a profession.
“We’re primarily a hub for independent filmmakers that are transitioning from either school… or a boring job that they want to get out of,” Adrik jokingly adds.
Filmmakers have the opportunity to meet Raindance in the office to assess their process. The organization also offers networking events, screenings, and classes for filmmakers. As for the seasoned pros, Raindance also offers a resource centre.
“We have connections all around the world, so that if you’re a member, you can call and say look, I’ve got this script, I’m missing some crew, and I need a little bit of a gameplan, can I come and have a meeting with you; the answer is always yes. We work with filmmakers on various levels,” Adrik says.
The idea of a membership may strike terror into the hearts of some filmmakers, but Raindance Canada runs as a not for profit organization. The astounding amount of services they offer comes at a small price: a fee of $10 a month, or $100 a year. They also offer free information and it costs nothing to join the Raindance Canada team at one of their many events or screenings. Of course, there are advantages to becoming a member, including discounted prices for courses, screenings, and admission fees to a variety of film festivals.
Raindance Canada isn’t just for aspiring filmmakers though, and film fans will also find plenty to enjoy through Raindance Canada. A monthly “Boozin’ and Schmoozin'” event can bring fans and filmmakers together, allowing everybody access to the Raindance Canada team, members of the media and up and coming filmmakers. They also hold a “Live! Ammunition! Pitching Contest,” which is billed as a Dragon’s Den for filmmakers. Participants are given two minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of Canadian industry insiders, with the top three pitches awarded prizes. Finally, combining public and membership privileges are the “Indie Spotlight” events.
This is a rather new creation at Raindance Canada, but the intention is to have the event be quarterly, and offers a filmmaker that is a member of Raindance Canada a chance to screen their film for an audience. It takes place at the Carlton Cinema, and is very much like their other events. There’s a chance to network with guests before a few short films are played, which can be submitted by Raindance Canada members, followed by a feature film screening.
As you can tell, there’s very little that Raindance Canada doesn’t offer for film fans, and filmmakers. There’s a wealth of information available on their website for free, and their courses are taught by individuals within the industry who have hands on experience.
But the most important aspect is the community they’re building. If you’re a filmmaker who needs help, there will be somebody at Raindance Canada who will take the time to help you, and be sure to connect you with all the right people. Anybody interested in seeing what Raindance Canada has to offer can head to their website. Be warned: you may find yourself spending an entire afternoon reading one of the numerous articles they have covering everything from screenwriting tips, all the way to promotion, marketing, and distribution. They’re truly an organization that can help you from start to finish.