The 5th annual Birds Eye View Film Festival (BEV) launches 5 – 13 March 2009 with over 70 films and events, showcasing a selection of the best new work from international women film-makers with a special focus this year on sex on screen. Events will take place at the BFI Southbank, ICA, The Gate cinema (Notting Hill), and Picturehouse Cinemas across the UK on International Women’s Day (March 8th).

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The Opening Night Gala will showcase a selection of eclectic UK & international shorts, including Sam Taylor-Wood’s BAFTA nominated Love You More, Sundance winner August 15th by Jiang Xuan, plus a taste of the vampish delights to come with live music by the Elysian Quartet.

A vamped-up Closing Night Awards Party aptly wraps up the festival on Friday 13th with vixens, VJs and vodka in the presence of Gideon Reeling’s (Mask of the Red Death Lates) singing femme fatales and DJ Goldierocks, following a selection of UK shorts including Rebecca Johnson’s drama Top Girl about coming of age in Brixton; Pop Art an imaginative take on friendship starring an inflatable by Amanda Boyle and a taste of hell in Hattie Dalton’s One of Those Days.

Feature films: include two times Oscar®-nominated Frozen River, “gorgeous and heart-breaking” (New York magazine), Sugar from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, co-directors of Oscar®-nominated Half Nelson, the UK premiere of Bosnian Cannes Critics’ Prize winner Snow, the UK premiere of delightful French feature Grown Ups, German surrealist The Heart is a Dark Forest directed by award-winning actor Nicolette Krebitz and Argentinian masterpiece La Rabia.

BEV’s First Weekenders Club launches American Indie hit starring Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy, on national release from March 7th.

Documentaries: include break-out hit American Teen from Oscar®-nominated Nanette Burstein, The Art Star and The Sudanese Twins following internationally renowned conceptual artist Vanessa Beecroft, Franny Armstrong’s latest campaign flick The Age of The Stupid, a gorgeous portrait of the active elderly in The Time of Their Lives and an intimate portrait on failed women suicide bombers in Shahida – Brides Of Allah.

Screen Seductresses: Vamps, Vixens & Femmes Fatales: Sexy, iconic and controversial, BEV presents a retrospective season of femme fatales films in partnership with the BFI Southbank throughout March, alongside six rarely seen silent vamp films with live musical accompaniment from cutting-edge female artists.

Wonder at the devilishly sexy Louise Brooks in Pandora’s Box, Greta Garbo in The Temptress, and Alla Nazimova in forgotten gem Salome, whilst listening to specially commissioned live scores from critically acclaimed singer, multi-instrumentalist and DJ Bishi, Broken Hearts DJs, Classical Brit Award winner Natalie Clein, The Monroe Transfer and innovative violinist Alison Blunt.

Developing countries focus: involving politically focussed programmes of short films and director Q&As in Real World Films: Portraits from Brazil and Palestine, Risky Business: Afghan women filmmakers who will be attending with support from ActionAid, Peace Mission: Welcome to Nollywood exploring the world’s third largest film industry after Hollywood and Bollywood and Connecting Voices: Films from the Commonwealth, featuring women filmmakers from India, Kenya and Trinidad and Tobago (in partnership with the Commonwealth Foundation).

Innovation events: Programmes of Fashion Films, Gaming, Music Videos, Roaming Mediascapes offer a chance to learn from women on the cusp of new creations including a sneak preview of Katie Ellwood’s groundbreaking motion capture project with the English National Ballet, a Mediascape journey through London, fashion films from the likes of Sarah Chatfield (YSL), Toyin (Replay) and Jamie Isaia (Swarovski), Katerina Jebb (Givenchy) and music videos from Kinga Burza (Katy Perry, Kate Nash) and Ali Taylor (Emiliana Torrini, Shitdisco) hosted by journalist Miranda Sawyer.

Special event highlights:
Masterclasses: BEV celebrates the work of Director Mary Harron on International Women’s Day with a double bill of American Psycho and I Shot Andy Warhol, plus a screening of The Notorious Bettie Page after an in-depth masterclass at the ICA.

Birds Eye Review, Sex on Screen debate & erotic shorts: Join Coco de Mer Entrepreneur Sam Roddick, Director Mike Figgis (tbc), former Erotic Review Editor Rowan Pelling, Director Carine Adler, award-winning female-pleasure-centred porn Director Petra Joy and Professor Linda Williams in debating Sex on Screen, followed by a screening of high-class erotic shorts with Coco de Mer including Bum Drumming and Footsie directed by Eva Midgley.

BEV/Warp X Comedy Night: A fun-packed evening of comedy shorts, panel games, sketches and standup featuring some of the talent from BEV and Warp X’s latest initiative to unearth new female comedy film writing talent, including Sally Phillips, Francesca Martinez, Joanna Neary and Olivia Poulet.

UK Shorts Programmes 1 & 2: a selection of ten of the most promising new UK shorts including BAFTA nominated September from Esther May Campbell, the mesmeric Marker from Susanna Wallin, an intimate tale of storage warehouses from Eva Weber, and a hilarious artistic interpretation of Jackie Collins’ novel by Sarah Barker in Studs.

International Shorts: the top five include an Israeli drama about the struggle to keep up with the times in Vida, an American animation about a sinister bird who cannot fly in Birdy and German choreographed Tomorrow – Yeaaaah! in which basketball becomes dance.

Workshops: With Skillset support, BEV has teamed up with some of the UK’s most prestigious film training organisations to deliver another stellar line-up of workshops including a specially tailored Short Sighted from BAFTA and Shooting People, screenplay analysis with The Script Factory, shooting on HD with VET and top tips from NFTS.

Birds Eye View Film Festival is sponsored by the UK Film Council’s Festivals Fund and Diversity team this year. Support for the training strand is from Skillset and further support is provided by the National Lottery, Arts Council, Accenture, the Commonwealth Foundation and the PRS Foundation.

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