Breaking into the film industry has always been a dream for many creative minds. However, the path to success is often riddled with challenges, particularly for emerging talent facing hurdles like funding, mentorship, and diversity bias. In a recent survey conducted by M&M’S, findings revealed that these obstacles remain significant barriers for aspiring filmmakers.
The survey highlighted that a staggering 29% of individuals working in film perceive funding as the major obstacle, closely followed by the lack of mentorship, cited by 22% of respondents. This concern amplifies among the Gen Z demographic, where 50% encounter these hurdles when trying to produce, release, and screen their movies in the UK. Moreover, an overwhelming 93% expressed surprise at the hurdles faced in their careers, while 27% highlighted the persistent challenge of lack of diversity and bias in the industry.
Paving the way forward
In response to these challenges, M&M’S is proud to announce The M&M’S Short Film Festival, a ground-breaking competition aimed at supporting up-and-coming filmmakers. This initiative provides a platform offering mentorship and funding to aspiring creators, enabling them to navigate the industry challenges and realize their cinematic aspirations.
Applications are now open for The M&M’S Short Film Festival and can be submitted via the dedicated website until November 26th, 2023. Participants are encouraged to share a bit about themselves, their background, aspirations, and submit a short concept for a film trailer inspired by the theme of belonging, community, and acceptance.
The journey ahead
An independent panel of judges will review applications and select three filmmakers to advance to the hackathon stage. This 72-hour competition, slated for January 2024, will witness young filmmakers crafting trailer-style short films with the guidance of industry experts, addressing the noted challenge of limited mentorship in their careers.
The final trailers will be showcased on the M&M’S website providing participants with a global platform. The public will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite trailers online. The winning entry with the most public votes will secure a £25,000 cash prize and further mentorship to create their short film.
Empowering diversity and representation
This initiative aligns with M&M’S commitment to provide a global platform for emerging talent, irrespective of background. A notable 67% of filmmakers believe the industry still lacks adequate representation, with 18% citing the persistent challenge of diversity bias.
Leah Dykes, Bitesize Brand Director UK at M&M’S, expressed excitement about the festival, emphasizing the brand’s commitment to fostering a sense of belonging and breaking barriers for aspiring filmmakers.
“The M&M’S Short Film Festival is a really exciting project for everyone at M&M’S. As a treat synonymous with movie culture, we feel it is our duty to use our global platform to give aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to amplify their voices.”
A partnership for progress
Jason Sondhi from Short of the Week highlighted their commitment to giving exposure and guidance to young filmmakers. The partnership with M&M’S aims to offer passionate individuals in the film industry access to a vast audience, opening doors to future opportunities.
Continuing the mission
The Short Film Festival follows the success of last year’s Films You Want to See initiative, where films desired by younger generations were brought to life as trailers by emerging directors. The campaign contributed to the M&M’S FUNd, providing resources, mentorship, and financial support, aligning with the brand’s vision to create a world where everyone feels they belong.
Monique Needham, last year’s Films You Want to See winner, joins the festival as a mentor. Reflecting on her experience, she expressed excitement about supporting the next generation of filmmakers and breaking stereotypes through storytelling.
“I’m so excited to be teaming up with M&M’S to support the next generation of filmmakers, helping tell rich stories that deserve to be seen on screen rather than outdated stereotypes. Through the funding of my film Sunday Dinner, I was able to finally tell a story that brings to life characters that exist in my world, showcasing British-Caribbean culture rounded way that I don’t often get to see in Britain.”
Research conducted by Censuswide between 19.09.2023 – 26.09.2023, of 200 UK aspiring filmmakers and people working in the film industry