Organisation hit by 90% funding cut and doesn’t get BFI Transitional funding, but will continue to run events in 2012.
Birds Eye View (BEV), the UK festival dedicated to supporting women in film, will not run in 2012, a casualty of festival funding cuts after the UKFC-BFI merger.
The BEV suffered a 90% drop in public funding after the Film Festivals Fund and Diversity Grant in Aid were discontinued after the abolition of the UKFC and thus are unable to stage a 2012 festival.
12,000 people attended this year’s edition, which hosted the UK premieres of Susanne Bier’s In A Better World and Lucy Walker’s Countdown to Zero, among others. Festival guests included Rosamund Pike, Livia Firth and Zoe Wanamaker.
However, the organisation will maintain a busy slate of screenings and events through their membership scheme The Nest, the UK tour of Sound & Silents, which features new live scores for silent films by cutting edge female musicians and by holding their trademark Gala celebration of new talent on International Women’s Day at the BFI Southbank.
Speaking to Screen, BEV founder-director Rachel Millward said she is “genuinely confident that we will make the festival work going forward,” citing the results of the film policy review and Creative England as potential avenues for future investment. However, in the meantime, Millward recognised the need to find funds from other sources: “We will also start developing our partnerships with private backers, however we need more time to do that.”
Since its 2002 launch the event has become increasingly popular attracting large crowds and industry. Millward also cited the strong public and industry response to the festival’s latest edition as reasons for a rebound: “I am even more convinced of the value of BEV today than when I co-founded it in 2002. After a decade of hard work, with very little public investment, BEV has been built into something substantial, professional and effective. Over 400 industry professionals and audience took our recent consultation survey. 91% think the Festival worthy of public funding and 85% of those working in film think BEV contributes significantly to the industry, whilst 85% of those not in film feel that BEV makes a vital contribution to the cultural landscape of the UK. Similarly, 85% think BEV contributes significantly to gender equality.”
“It is thus my heartfelt plea that, in the building of the future film policy, sustainable funding for Film Festivals and organisations such as ours is properly considered and prioritised,” she reiterated.
Eddie Berg, BFI head of partnerships commented: “The BFI absolutely endorses initiatives that promote diversity within the film industry and BEV’s achievements towards this have been immensely valuable. Having enjoyed a close working relationship with BEV since it launched we hope to continue working with them again in the future.”