by David Parkinson
Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience is the highest-profile picture on show at the 17th Raindance Film Festival. But big names are not necessarily what this exceptional event is about. Over the years, it has introduced British audiences to the talents who would come to dominate the US independent scene, while also showcasing newcomers from around the world. Over the years, it has developed a special affinity with Japan and this continues in 2009, with the focus falling on such women film-makers as Momoko Ando (A Piece of Our Life - Kakera), Sachi Hamano (Lily Festival), Naomi Kawase (Hotaru), Yuki Tanada (Ain't No Tomorrows) and Yukiko Sode (Mine-Mine).
Raindance also has a reputation for launching new British artists. But few have made such an impact on so small a budget as Marc Price, who who produced Colin for the princely sum of £45. It speaks volumes for the Welshman's acumen that he has since secured a theatrical release for a zombie flick that was cast through Facebook and MySpace. Yet for all the praise being rightly heaped upon Price for attempting to reverse torture porn's tendency towards excess, this is more an exercise in pragmatic avoidance than a revival of the lost art of supernatural suggestion.
Clutching a bloodied hammer, Alastair Kirton returns to his suburban home to cleanse a wound on his forearm. But though he is still initially able to kill in self-defence, he's soon powerless to fight his craving for human flesh and he ventures on to streets where lone motorists are crowbarring the skulls of feeding zombies, muggers are attacking them for their watches and trainers, perverts are keeping them tethered in basements and vigilante gangs are targeting them with a pitiless savagery that's extended to anyone within their own ranks who get bitten in the line of duty.