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Winner of BMW Filmmaking Challenge in partnership with the BFI announced following Michaela Coel mentorship

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Nov 24, 2023 #BMW

“WE COLLIDE” has been named the winning film of the BMW Filmmaking Challenge in partnership with the BFI. Revealed at the Closing Night of the 67th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express it premiered alongside Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya’s, ‘The Kitchen’, ahead of its release into UK cinemas and on Netflix.

Praised by judges; Ncuti Gatwa, Terri White, and Asif Kapadia for its “genius use of the ultra-wide 31.3-inch aspect ratio inspired by the rear passenger screen of the new electric BMW i7.” The winning short, written and directed by Jason Bradbury and produced by Cheri Darbon, was described as “pushing creative boundaries, while highlighting stories and characters underserved on screen with heart and tenderness.”

The filmmakers were tasked with bringing their unique stories to life in just 90 seconds, through their own creative interpretation of the theme “Evolving Perspectives”. Five shortlisted teams received a £10,000 production budget, access to 8K camera technology, support from the BFI through Executive Producer Caragh Davison and mentorship from Michaela Coel.

Embodying the spirit of queercore the winner “WE COLLIDE” is a visceral, immersive exploration of the power of the mosh pit and finding romance in the most unlikely of places, a bold interpretation of “Evolving Perspective”. The remarkable film was the unanimous winner, selected by a judging panel, all revered as industry game changers in their respective fields.

In a collaborative statement, the judges lauded the filmmakers’ creativity, stating: “For us, it was unanimous: we were blown away by this film that illustrates the medium of short film, yet it could easily transition into a feature film. In just 90 seconds, this filmmaking team crafted a world filled with specificity, told a compelling story, and took us on an emotional character journey. It was brilliantly cast, confidently scripted, shot, and directed. The impactful ‘collision’ (enhanced by brilliant sound design) gave it both narrative function and cinematic intent.”

Amidst the backdrop of an evolving film industry navigating transformative challenges, Ncuti Gatwa, an actor known for his roles in Barbie and Sex Education, stated, “The film is an artistic force of nature. Every decision in the filmmaking process was filled with intent and served the narrative of the story. I knew watching the winning film that this was made by a filmmaking team that we will undoubtedly be seeing more of in the future.”

Known for his work on acclaimed documentaries, fiction films and immersive work, Asif Kapadia, Oscar® award-winning director and producer, shared his insights, “I was looking for a film that left me eager to watch it again, one that left me craving more. In ‘WE COLLIDE’, there is a standout moment when the two stories and characters seamlessly merge into one—a poignant and pioneering, visually striking cinematic moment that utilises the ultrawide format inspired by the BMW i7 rear theatre screen with perfect motive.”

Terri White, renowned film journalist turned screenwriter, emphasised the importance of creating equal opportunities in the film industry “Equity of opportunity, where talent is the defining factor, is about truly creating a level playing field where possible. This challenge provided the budget, equipment, and mentorship from one of the finest actors and writers working today, bringing fresh talent to the forefront. When judging or watching any film, it may start with the eyes and ears, but it always ends up, for me, in the belly. ‘WE COLLIDE’ made me feel an entire raft of emotions in just 90 seconds – it took me on an entire journey. The talent we’ve experienced is insane.”

‘BLADES,’ directed by Christopher Chuky and produced by Tony Longe,with a script by Eno Mfon, also received a special mention. The judges described it as “a stunning film that subverts stereotypes often seen on screen, showcasing the power of self-expression and the beauty and camaraderie in friendship.”

Michaela Coel, mentor to all the shortlisted filmmakers, expressed her pride in being part of the journey with exceptional talents, stating, “It’s been an honour – my role was to encourage and push them towards the brave act of trusting their instinct; it’s important for the industry to believe that any world or culture you don’t understand is by default incredibly interesting and worth investing in with development.

The jury had an impossible task on their hands. I was incredibly impressed by the calibre and originality of the shortlisted filmmakers. Their ability to adapt to the width of the screen, and to address any production problems they had was testimony to how much they’ve learned in their careers thus far. I have always championed raw talent, and platforms such as the BMW Filmmaking Challenge in partnership with the BFI are how we discover truly shining stars in the cinematic firmament.”

The challenge set out to recruit and support aspiring filmmakers providing them with the tools and an authoritative platform to develop their careers, exploring fresh perspectives in the film industry. All five shortlisted films ‘BLADES’, ‘DAYTIMERS’, ‘RICE BALL’, ‘HEN DO” and ‘WE COLLIDE’ are available for viewing on BFI Player (https://player.bfi.org.uk), providing audiences with the opportunity to experience these ground-breaking works of cinema.

The BMW Filmmaking Challenge provides a lifeline to new talent, recognised by the sheer volume of entries received in its debut year; sharing her excitement about the competition and its profound impact, Mia Bays, Director of the BFI Filmmaking Fund, states, “We have been delighted by how successful the collaboration with BMW and the inimitable Michaela Coel has been on this new Filmmaking Challenge, offering a unique opportunity to support emerging filmmakers and the development of their craft. The creativity and filmmaking skills displayed in the five final films, and the ultimate winner, is testament to the huge amount of talent present in the UK.”

The concept of pushing boundaries is not a new one for BMW. Aside from the automotive and technological world: the brand has an extensive history of supporting the arts and nurturing breakthrough talent through initiatives like BMW Play Next and its longstanding partnership with Frieze.

For more information about the BMW Filmmaking Challenge and the BFI London Film Festival, please visit www.bfi.org.uk/lff and www.bmw.co.uk/filmmakingchallenge.

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