Birds Eye View’s International Delegate Programme, run with the British Council, welcomes 21 emerging and established filmmakers from across the globe – Cuba to Pakistan, Sudan to Iran, Italy to Argentina – for four days of training, networking and events.
Iram Parveen Bilal reviews her experience of the programme
Sitting in London, at the crossroads of culture, politics, race and demographic, it was only fitting that Bird’s Eye View, an organization 10 year’s old that was formed in a response to the lack of women filmmakers in the industry, held it’s second annual international delegates program in collaboration with the British Council.
Delegations spanned from Cuba to Haiti, Argentina to Pakistan. Women who had made an impact in their local industries and who were at the forefront of cinema, fictional or documentary, were nominated to represent their countries by their local British Council offices.
From access to key distributors, sales agents and acquisition executives in both fiction and documentary, to confidential “Filmonomics” sessions where industry players and filmmakers revealed the secrets to collaboration and pr/marketing strategies, to work in progress sessions with key upcoming features that showed case studies from pre-production, production and post-production, the forum was very raw and bare. The focus was honest feedback, advice and expression. A session with co-production veteran Julie Baines shed light upon the possibilities of leveraging international resources and cleverly positioning films for better access of distribution and profile.
Some grim observations also surfaced during these frank discussions with respect to subjects such as the controversial Bechdel test and the lack of access of funding for female filmmakers, which seemed to be sadly and shockingly a global phenomenon. The fact that women were succeeding in documentaries also was highlighted as not a coincidence but the fact that documentary filmmaking was more content and less money driven. Women were just not getting the funding and distribution they needed and we decided, need to form conscious networks to help and reinforce one another.
Programmes such as these are essential to create a sense of community for female filmmakers who are often alone and marginalized in some of the world’s still very patriarchal systems of film funding and distribution. Having the sense of not being alone, is key to moving forward and carefully building one’s confidence especially in a business where lack of success can wrongly be pinned on a discussion of personal abilities where the facts might just be prejudice.
Thanks British Council and Birds Eye View for helping us see the bigger picture and reinforce ideas we independently have encountered and intrinsically have experienced. Here’s to a lifetime of connections and collaboration.