Bird’s Eye View on Arab female filmmakers

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This year’s Birds Eye View film festival is zooming in on Arab female filmmakers while also promoting all women in the industry, since they remain massively under-represented.

In 2002 women made up seven percent of directors in mainstream movies, which has since increased to ten percent of directors and fifteen percent of screenwriters. “It’s still very, very low indeed,” festival producer Ben Monks says.

This film festival, which started in 2002, celebrates the creative vision of females in the UK and globally, and this year’s is specifically focusing on the work of Arab filmmakers. “There are various Arab women currently making mainstream and independent awards all over the world; the filmmakers we’re profiling are very much at the top of the international filmmaking scene.”
Annmarie Jacir’s film When I saw You, which is holding its UK premiere at the BFI along with a Q&A with the director afterwards, has already won awards at festivals in Toronto and Berlin. Haifaa Al Mansour’s Wadjda is the first-ever film by a Saudi Arabian woman and the first film they’ve shot in the country in five years.

The Birds Eye View film festival is at the BFI, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT, from April 3-10. Phone: 020 7928 3232. http://www.bfi.org.uk

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