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Bird’s Eye View Film Festival 2009

The week long celebration of women filmmakers closes tonight and we interview a selection of three directors about their shorts; Debora Diniz, Pietra Brettkelly and Amanda Boyle.

If your idea of a ‘chic flick’ is dire romantic comedy, musicals and costume dramas, think again. This month, London’s Birds Eye View celebrated international female filmmakers from around the globe at their fifth annual festival. A staple of startling new director talent, features and dazzling documentaries have been showcased. Not to mention a master class with American Psycho Director Marry Hannon and a series of one off events, including a celebration of the often forgotten screen seductresses of the silent film era. Here is a selection of three world class directors, who will be causing a stir with their short films.

DEBORAH DINIZ  (Soliterio Anonimo)

The Brazilian film makers give us a scalpel and cathode eye view with 18 minutes of gritty, hospital bound realism.

What is the short about?
The film is about an old man who wants to decide his own end of life. His desire is to die alone and anonymous. In his pocket, a note announces that he is from a distant land. This is a film about freedom, life and death.

Is euthanasia something that you are incredible passionate about?
Our wish is that the film inspires people to think about the right to die such as this story touched us. The plans are to increase the number of international festivals in which the film will be exhibited.

How have you found your experience as a female film maker?
The film enterprise is still a man´s field. I did not experience any kind of discrimination in any part of the film production, but we do not have a female community of film makers in Latin America .

What new film talent would you recommend from your home country right now and what is the film talent like there at the moment?
On the documentary field, there is a new generation of filmmakers that decided to show our own social reality and social problems. To some extend it is a revival of political films that marked the Brazilian cinema on the 1960s and 1970s during the dictatorship period. I would point the work of Maria Augusta Ramos on justice, youth and social exclusion.
PIETRA BRETTKELLY (The Art Stars and Sudanese Twins)

Photo Matthu

This award winning short is possibly not at the top of Madonna’s rental list. Influenced by Pietra’s extensive travels in developing countries the film is a provocative examination of the business of adoption from war town countries and whether it can be seen as a form of new colonialism

You seem to pick up a different award at each festival. It must be a busy time at the moment?
Yep, since its world premier at Sundance film festival 2008 and winning an award (Best Editing, World Documentary),we has been traveling to film festivals and markets, already screening in some networks internationally. It is being released theatrically in Cananda on March 20, as well.

Do you feel a  special affinity with other female directors?
Well coming from a progressive country which was first to give woman the vote, recently had for nine years a woman prime minister, and the fact the six of the seven key creatives on this film are women (not selected for this fact but purely because for me I think they're the best), being a woman has never been a restriction. Generally, there is exciting talent everywhere.


Britain’s own Amanda Boyle is an exciting new director, set to (hut hum) blow up with her surreal short story adaptation.

What is the feature about?
My short is about an inflatable boy.It's based on the brilliant short story by Joe Hill. I read it, loved it's unusual tone - 'mundane fantasy' I call it and adapted it for the UK .

How did you get involved with the festival?
I got involved with Birds Eye View four years ago as my first short film Hotel Infinity screened at the festival. It was a terrific experience and it introduced me to lots of inspiring film makers. Since then I've always kept an eye on the line up each year. I'm delighted Pop Art is screening there this year.

What are the plans for the film after this?
It's (the film, not necessarily Amanda) is traveling all over the world to all sorts of festivals. I'm rather envious of it!

It is notoriously hard to fund any sort of film. Did you have to sell your family to make this?
Shorts are always a bit of a bugger to fund as - to put it bluntly - no one makes any money on them. So they're always acts of faith testing the power of your persistence. Mind you, all film making seems to need that steadfastness, so it's rather useful to acquire...

As Britain's showcased film ambassador, what new talent would you recommend from the UK right now?
Bill Milner in Pop Art is already a British film star who has an exciting career ahead of him. I'm also currently directing a new drama series with Miranda Bowen for Channel called Cast Offs. It's written by the ridiculously talented Jack Thorne (Skins), Alex Bulmer (playwright) and Tony Roche (In the Thick of it) and has a stupendous cast - some well know, others unknowns. They're all definitely destined for great things.