Newly appointed as Creative Director of Birds Eye View, the UK organisation which celebrates and champions women filmmakers, Kate Gerova outlines the films that make her tick
New BEV Creative Director, Kate Gerova
Kate Gerova joined Birds Eye View in Spring 2013 after a stint at one of the UK's leading distribution companies, Soda Pictures, where she was Head of Distribution. Following her BA in Cultural Studies from the Norwich School of Art & Design, Kate worked in corporate PR before becoming involved in film marketing and distribution. She subsequently co-directed Short Circuit Films, where she specialised in the promotion of award winning shorts.
What’s your connection to the British Council?
The British Council is a key partner and collaborator in the upcoming Birds Eye View Festival with its specific focus on the MENA region. Working with British Council colleagues, we are the hosts for around 25 delegates from the region who will be coming to London in April for a series of events.
What’s your current project?
I am gearing up for the 2013 festival that takes place in April but am also starting to think about events and films leading up to the 2014 event which will be the return of the Birds Eye View International festival. I'm looking at activities that BEV will engage in over the coming months including training and development schemes.
What/who originally turned you onto film?
I didn't grow up solely in the UK and part of my childhood was spent in Bulgaria. As a Communist regime the film choices were pretty limited but I do recall seeing a lot of Indian films with my grandmother which must have been interesting (Indian with Bulgarian subtitles?) but they were happy occasions so I guess I must have associated film with celebrations and dancing. That's all you need in a film, a good dance routine.
What has been your career high so far?
Well, no doubt there are many yet to come! I still remember making my first sale (as a distributor) and getting a buzz from that. I like connections with audiences too, people not working in the film industry who approach the talent after a screening or event and tell them how touched they are, or feel their world has been expanded by viewing a film - that's the brilliant thing about a film festival, hearing that happen a lot. Having a conversation with the gracious Anouk Aimee, keeping my cool when she mentioned Albert Finney rather than squealing with delight.
What was your first job in the film industry?
Substitute 'job' with work experience and it was at Anglia Television and their short film scheme called first take films. I did get a job there eventually! I thought I wanted to be a producer so my then boss sent me on set and knocked it out of me at which point I knew that I wanted to develop a career in marketing, sales and distribution.
If I knew then what I know now…
I'd know to always remember where you've put your master.
What is your favourite British film?
A Matter of Life and Death. Why? David Niven, Powell & Pressburger, camp French angel - what more does one need? I also love Pitch Black Heist. And Shame, yes - I can see there is a theme there.
If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be?
I haven't seen it yet but I'd love to distribute something like The Great Gatsby. You could have so much fun working on the campaign for that film.
What’s the first film you remember seeing? What was so memorable about it?
Probably something Indian. I'm almost too embarrassed to admit that the first cinema visit I can remember in the UK was that terrible film about Abba (Abba the Movie). In fact I think my mum should be embarrassed as I was her companion. I saw Star Wars about 16 times - I loved that movie.
What’s your favourite line or scene from a film?
When Rita Hayworth sings 'Put the blame on Mame' in Gilda.
Favourite screen kiss?
Probably when Wall-E and Eve finally kiss.
Who’s your favourite screen hero and/or villain?
Willem Defoe as Bobby Peru is pretty entertaining. He falls into villain category (just to be clear). I guess Ellen Ripley would be my hero - where have all the kickass heroines gone by the way?
Who would play you in the film about your life?
Johnny Depp. Because once i had a sharp haircut, was wearing white sunglasses and my children mistook me for Willy Wonka...