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Emmy-award winning writer, director, actress, Michaela Coel takes a lead role in the new BMW Filmmaking Challenge in partnership with the BFI

Industry game-changer and progressive thinker, Michaela Coel, is offering a mentoring role to five shortlisted filmmakers, drawing on her personal experience from both sides of the lens.

Encouraging filmmakers to dream big and push boundaries in film, the BMW Filmmaking Challenge, in partnership with the BFI, is inspired by the ground-breaking all-electric BMW i7 and its ultra-wide 31.3-inch rear-passenger theatre screen.

Creative experimentation is vital to the future of an innovative and successful UK film industry and this Filmmaking Challenge aims to nurture bold, forwardthinking storytellers. It will provide five shortlisted filmmakers with access to the latest technology and a £10,000 production budget, enabling them to explore new perspectives and experiment with an exciting format, unlocking the potential of 8K / 32:9 cinematography.

Michaela Coel introduces The BMW Filmmaking Challenge | BMW UK

From the five shorts, a winning film will be selected to premiere as part of the Closing Night of the BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express taking place in October 2023 and all five films will be available on BFI Player. The Challenge provides an exciting opportunity for talent to stretch their creativity and a unique platform to help springboard to the next step in their career.

BMW and the BFI are encouraging filmmakers and creative talent to challenge limitations and to harness the power of emerging technology. The BMW i7 offers a new technical palette which can be explored through innovative filmmaking, creating a new cinematic experience and giving a new meaning to the term motion picture.

In partnership with the BFI, the challenge will benefit from the reach and expertise of BFI NETWORK, the BFI’s UK-wide talent development programme for new and emerging filmmakers. Open to filmmaking teams with experience in creating short form works, the production budget, new 8K camera technology and a short running time presents a creative challenge that demands innovation and will stretch successful applicants, building their skills and capabilities.

All five filmmakers will benefit with support from an executive producer from the BFI to create their film, as well as mentoring from Michaela Coel. The writer, director, and actress, best known for creating and starring in her multi-awardwinning TV shows Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You, and most recently featuring in Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, will support the execution of the filmmakers’ visions, from discussing creative influences through to the production itself.

Michaela Coel says: “I hope this Filmmaking Challenge provides an opportunity for creatives to explore new and interesting perspectives, allowing us to discover the stories yet to be told. The BMW i7’s technology and theatre screen, which is much wider than we’d traditionally watch, will push creatives to think more expansively. I look forward to geeking out with the filmmakers about their ideas and providing a sounding board as a mentor throughout this process.”

Mia Bays, Director of the BFI Film Fund, comments “The film industry constantly experiments with form, content and technology to share inspiring, challenging, and entertaining stories on screen. We are committed to opening up more opportunities to emerging filmmakers from all backgrounds and all parts of the UK, to give them a chance to develop their craft and expand their repertoire. We’re therefore delighted with this new partnership with BMW and can think of no better and more inspiring icon than Michaela Coel to present this exciting new Filmmaking Challenge. When applications open, we can’t wait to see the ideas and teams who step up and look forward to presenting the results in the cinema, on BFI Player and in the back of the new BMW i7 in October, which is a first for us!” 

Michelle Roberts, Marketing Director at BMW UK, adds, “This challenge is designed to foster creative risk-taking, inspired by the ground-breaking all-electric BMW i7 and its uniquely advanced cinematic technology.

BMW has an extensive history of supporting the arts and nurturing breakthrough talent through initiatives like BMW Play Next and our long-standing partnership with Frieze. We are proud to extend this to film by working with prestigious partners who are pioneers in their respective industries and share our commitment to welcoming a diverse selection of filmmakers to this project.”

To launch the challenge, Coel stars in a 90-second promotional film featuring the BMW i7 as the brand’s flagship vehicle, written and directed by Aliyah Otchere.

Highlights inside the new i7 include the Executive Lounge Seating, rear doors integrated with individual touchscreens to operate the infotainment system intuitively and an ultra-wide 32:9, 8K rear-passenger theatre screen which can be paired with the 1,965 watts Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system to create a 4D audio experience.

The BMW Filmmaking Challenge in partnership with the BFI will officially open for entries in March 2023. Five winners will be shortlisted and given the budget to produce their films over the summer months with high-profile talent judges selecting the final winner in September, ahead of the 67th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express, taking place in mid-October.


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