The second annual BFI and Chanel Filmmaker Awards celebrated creative audacity at the tony Claridges Hotel in London on Thursday afternoon.
Emerging filmmakers writer/director Ella Glendining, writer/director Savanah Leaf and producer Nadira Murray were the recipients of this year’s award, selected by a jury panel comprised of BFI CEO Ben Roberts, actor Tilda Swinton, British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and Marie-Louise Khondji, the producer and founder of Le Cinéma Club.
Glendining is the talent behind feature doc “Is There Anybody Out There?” about her global search for someone with a body that looks like hers. Leaf wrote and directed “Earth Mama,” which focuses on a pregnant woman fighting to get custody of her two children while Murray produced “Winners,” about a nine-year-old Iranian boy seeking to reunite a lost statue with its owner.
“I truly, truly had this longing to meet other people with a body like mine so [the film] came to me in a ‘this needs to happen’ sort of way,” said Glendining of the genesis of her project.
Leaf, a former Team GB Olympic volleyball player, said her athletic experience had factored into her filmmaking. “One of the biggest things is being part of a team and looking around you and seeing all these people with different skill sets and things that they struggle with and trying to get the most out of each other as people.”
Murray said she focuses her work on giving a voice to people from under-represented backgrounds. “Being a producer is about bringing creativity to the role and identifying and nurturing talent,” she said. “Bringing filmmakers’ vision and voices onto the screen and creating an art-driven, commercial project with internal resonance.”
Each of the winners will receive £20,000 ($24,500) to put towards their practice, enabling them to explore new ideas and widen representation in the industry.
“We were presented with an incredibly strong and diverse shortlist, indicative of the exceptional quality of work being produced by early career U.K. filmmakers at the moment,” the jury said. “It was a very difficult decision, but ultimately we were unanimous in selecting these three talented filmmakers whose early work shows enormous potential. We were also thrilled to have selected three women, each bringing a different perspective to their work.”
Other guests to attend the event included “Speechless” star Minnie Driver, “To Leslie” actor Andrea Riseborough and director Ol Parker.
Pictured above: The winners and jury of the BFI x Chanel Filmmaker Awards (L-R: Marie-Louise Khondji, Tilda Swinton, Savanah Leaf, Ella Glendining, Nadira Murray, Ben Roberts, Edward Enninful)