1. Module_page_summary Module_page_summary_hover 07.03.11: Top Festival Picks this Spring
07.03.11: Top Festival Picks this Spring

With the year fully under way and as we say goodbye to this prolonged winter season, let’s take a look at the festivals we have to look forward to this spring..

The Birds Eye View Film Festival returns this year with its seventh offering. The launch, coinciding with International Women’s Day, the festival will run 8-17 March.

Celebrating and highlighting the role of women in the film industry in front of and behind the camera, BEV is a regular fixture on the London film festivals calendar. Spanning across three venues, the BFI Southbank, ICA and the South Bank Centre, this year’s festival looks set to continue the diverse themes taken on by women in the film industry. Live scores, events and training are intertwined amongst great programming.

South by Southwest has become a major stalwart on the independent film scene since its inception in 1994. Starting off as a music industry event, SXSW has evolved to cement its status in all aspects of media. Taking place 11-19 March this year, competition for screening time and categories are generally very tough. Those that do make it are granted exposure and brilliant networking and training opportunities – perfect for aspiring film-makers

Birds Eye View – Top Picks

Containing a BEV-y of strong contenders vying for your cinematic attention, we take a look at selected screenings which reflects the diversity of films on offer. In the Horror genre, contributions by women are celebrated with an exciting line-up with plenty of blood and gore. Part of Sound & Silents, Birds Eye View have commissioned live scores by female musicians to accompany groundbreaking work on such silent films, a true exploration of visual and aural perception.

Join FLAMIN-supported artist Gillian Wearing and some of the film’s participants for the Q&A following a screening of her innovative debut feature Self Made. Sourcing her cast from the general public, she explores the personal with often revealing and disturbing results.

The London premiere of Susanne Biere’s Oscar winning film, In a Better World has found other accolades amongst the Academy Award. A film about a family coming to terms with conflict and grief, In a Better World is a reminder of the success and high acclaim a film can reach even if shot on a low-budget. Another premiere finds itself in the form of Post 9/11 documentary, The Imperialists Are Still Alive, and a Q&A after with director Zeina Durra.

SXSW – Top Picks

Amongst the big hitters, there are names with small budgets. Super, starring the likes of Ellen Page and Liv Tyler makes its US premiere. This quirky take on the seemingly saturated super hero movie genre looks set to be well received, if accounts at the Toronto Film Festival are anything to go by. Finding critical success at Sundance Film Festival – Win Win is another which manages to find the balance between credibility on a modest budget with familiar faces (Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan). Playing with drama and comedy, it is an example of human emotion and relationships, a tried and tested matter in all forms.

In a crowd of US films in the Narrative Features Competition, an Irish gem finds itself embedded in the line-up. Independently financed by Writer/Director/Producer Terry McMahon, and conceived on Facebook, Charlie Casanova recounts the tale of a sociopath whose morality knows no bounds. Road movie Natural Selection charts the journey of a woman who goes in search for her dying husband’s illegitimate son. Her tenacity to fulfil his dying wish is a poignant story in which she no doubt faces her own past.

Training and Industry Events

Lucy Walker, Oscar nominee for low budget documentary Wasteland, is set to conduct a Masterclass at Birds Eye View, alongside an exclusive preview screening of her new film Count to Zero. Branchage are also offering drop in sessions, no appointment necessary. In the Open Surgery, film-makers are able to come by and share their ‘work-in-progress’ short film for advice or general feedback from experienced Surgeons including Philip Ilson (Director of the London Short Film Festival), Hannah Patterson (Film writer, Time Out, The Guardian, Sight & Sound) and Ben Blaine (short filmmaker, Charlie Productions).

If you were after something more laidback and the chance to mingle, Shooting People, with BEV, are offering an opportunity for you to Meet the Filmmakers. Here you have the opportunity to observe and network over a cup of tea and some cake.

Across the pond, It may be a bit daunting when faced with a list of countless industry events, but here we have picked a handful at SXSW that may prove to be indispensable, or informative at the very least.

DIY Distribution covers the realities of the ever changing world of distribution, with industry experts discussing different strategies. With the achievements of independent films in festivals, awards and in the mainstream, Indie Success looks at how this has developed, taking into account various films for case study. Money issues and alternative ways to raise the cash for your film, Crowd-sourcing Microgrants shows you how to take advantage of the web tools that allow you to engage with your funders and keep connected. DIY Production Contracts tackles the legalities and fundamental features of the contracts when producing your film. In continuing the theme of engaging with the internet, Online Marketing Makeovers discusses the approach and importance of having in place the correct strategies and marketing tools to fully realise its potential.

And so…

Whether you’re taking your film to festivals or are an enthusiastic film-goer, do keep these dates in your calendars. The Bird’s Eye View Film Festival programming can be found here, and you can also follow them on twitter. South by Southwest may be far away, and you may not be attending, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye on the films on offer and follow on twitter.

Still from Lucy Walker's Wasteland
Still from Lucy Walker's Wasteland (view full size)