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Guest of the Month May 2010: Birds Eye View

Birds Eye View launched a major UK women’s film festival in 2005. They believe that it is vital to the health and diversity of UK film that we raise role models, offer support and provide a forum for women in the industry, whilst encouraging the next generation to break new ground.

Only 7% of directors and 12% of screenwriters are female. Gender imbalance also exists amongst women taking the creative lead in the music industry. Already the leading organisation to celebrate women’s achievements in film, Birds Eye View is committed to developing and supporting women across the arts.

Here’s what the Birds Eye View team have been listening to:

Anna Calvi
We saw her live at the ICA on the 11th March at the Birds Eye View 2010 Festival Party and she absolutely blew us away with the power and drama of her performance. Incredible guitar solos with shades of blues and flamenco coupled with a powerful voice which had a Chrissy Hynde style quality about it captivated the audience. Dazed and Confused have likened her to Lift To Experience, Jeff Buckley and PJ Harvey. Her sound is hard to place, overwhelming in a good way and she has recently been signed to Domino Records. Definitely worth a listen.

The Raincoats at ATP
A couple of us checked out the legendary British punk band this weekend at All Tomorrow’s Parties. Formed in the late 70’s fronted by Ana da Silva and Gina Birch the gig was a rare chance to see this groundbreaking group – one of the first all-female punk bands. The set culminated in a riotus cover of The Kinks Lola that we never forget.

Laura Marling – ‘I Speak Because I Can’
We’ve been playing this on loop in the BEV office having been huge fans of her 2008 debut album Alas I Cannot Swim which she was really young when she wrote. We were all wondering about whether the next album would be similar or show progression – and it does! Its opening track Devils Spoke is our favorite.

Mira Calix’s Live Score – ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed
And not just because it was part of the festival this year. Lotte Reiniger’s pioneering film, the first ever feature length animation, uses shadow puppet imagery to magical effect and Mira Calix’s textured electronic soundscapes with a resounding transfixing bassline came together to create an incredible blend of old and new.

Patti Plinko and Her Boy’s Live Leicester Square Theatre show
We were lucky enough to get tickets for the closing of this run. Patti Plinko is our underrated gem in our opinion. She is greatly influenced by European cinema, and the satirical underworld of Berlin performance art. In this intimate space she hollered, whispered and wooed the audience taking us into a dark seductive world of art, sex and death. And we loved it.

British Sea power’s live score of ‘The Man of Aran’ at the Union Chapel
This unique event in the church-come-music-venue in Islington coupled the 1934 epic cinematic depiction of the struggle to stay alive of the people of the Isle of Aran with the legendary British Sea Power. The event was presented by Branchage Festival.